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Jan 12, 2008 08:23 AM

Bensi~Old Bridge

Has anyone tried this place yet? It is located in that new strip mall on Rt. 9.

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  1. Ive been to the one up in North Jersey, nothing special. A step above Olive Garden, but a small step moreso because of the selection.

    The menu was actually a bit different but everything I tasted was either over sugared or over oiled with bland flavor. Id say give it a try if your curious but otherwise, stick to the locals.

    6 Replies
    1. re: yankeefan

      Bensi Restaurants are privately owned. Each restaurant is managed by a Chef/Owner and a Manager/Owner. Most dishes are cooked fresh to the customer's order. All pasta is cooked to order (never cooked in advance).
      Each restaurant makes pizza dough, fresh mozzarella, fresh soups, uses nature veal, 100% olive oil, fresh vegetables-----quality, quality, quality. It's good wholesome food, as close to home cooking as you can get.

      1. re: brook2334

        if so, why is the menu so weak??? It is the SAME as everywhere else.....chicken parm, veal, spaghetti with vodka sauce....crazy...I culd do up and down Rt. 9 and be blindfolded and not know which rest. is which because the menus are all the same.

        I never beleiev pasta is cooked to order, because everyone seems to look for a shortcut. Now...if the pasta was homemade, like Daniel Boulud makes, THEN I would definately try the place.

        1. re: Angelina

          Even if the pasta is cooked to order, a true chef-owned restaurant might offer the possibility of his or her own creative menu. But the menu at all the Bensi locations is the same and, as Angelina points out, it's just the same old, same old. So, afaic, it's still a chain.

          1. re: RGR

            Lets all agree to disagree on what it really means about the menu.. the fact is, the food is delplorable. Hate to sum it up that way, but had to do it.

        2. re: brook2334

          "Each restaurant makes pizza dough, fresh mozzarella, fresh soups, uses nature veal, 100% olive oil, fresh vegetables"

          Not that I'm saying this place is bad, but based on that statement, doesn't automatically make it good, I can list 100 places in the are that I can say the same thing about and they still serve dogpoop on a plate (but it's "fresh".

          1. re: RPMcMurphy

            Hysterical!!!! How right you are, RPMCMURPHY!!!!

      2. Hey, Angelina,

        I had to laugh when I saw the ad for Bensi in one of the many ad-filled booklets that populate our mailboxes. Another Italian restaurant? Really? What can I say? We need another Italian restaurant like we need "a luch in kup"!! (Translation from the Yiddish: a hole in the head) And a chain, no less! Acc. to the ad, 16 locations in NJ and PA. Frankly, I'd never heard of Bensi before, and I'm going to make believe it doesn't exist.

        4 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          RGR and all,

          Bensi is not a chain in the true sense. As I understand it, they are all owned and operated by a family with extended members.......who own two of the more popular Pizzeria and Italian Family Restaurants in Bergen County, with well respected quality and value for food, that do not go by the Bensi Label. The two locations are Rudy's in Closter and Tenafly Pizza Kitchen. Bensi is based on a combination of these two places. Family Italian Restaurants located in Strip Malls offering pizza and fresh cooked meals on premise, hopefully better than your favorite local pizzeria, and not as expensive as full service restaurants. Originally, The Family's plan was to open up to 40 locations throughout New Jersey and then sell the entire company.

          I believe the concept now is to open the new locations using the Family's recipes and bring in working partners who have interest in each individual store, to insure the standards are held in place.

          1. re: fourunder

            Thanks for that explanation, fourunder. Family-owned it may be, but to me, it's still a chain. If I want Italian in the area, I'd rather stick with SamVera.

            1. re: fourunder

              Appreciate the description, but I still have to offer my opinion that the food there is absolutely not worth it. Olive Garden with larger portions.

              1. re: yankeefan

                You're not hurting my feelings........I do not go to the location in my I cannot attest to the food there.,,,,,,

                However, if you are ever in Bergen County and in the towns specified.....their original locations are local favorites.

          2. Tried it the week it opened and have crossed it off my list. I didnt realize it was a chain. I usually steer clear of those. Don't bother...the food was mediocre at best, the wait staff a bunch of inexperienced kids who are not familiar with any italian food and the atmosphere is horrific...flourescent lighting, bright, stark....felt like I was eating in a school cafeteria. We were 3 couples and all voted NAY!

            1. On a somewaht related and positive note. Salasalito's....or something like that located in the same shopping plaza is pretty good in a pinch. Not talking gourmet scale fine dining but when your on the go and need a quick lunch it's good and better than traditonal fast food alternatives. A healthy alternative if you are careful with what you order. Burrito and taco type stuff. Though they have nothing on surf taco!

              1 Reply
              1. re: angelo04


                You were pretty close with the name. It's Salsarita's, and there's a previous thread about it. Angelina's experience there was also fairly positive. Despite that, I avoid chains whenever possible.


              2. Was talking to my neighbor and he mentioned this place so I thought I would ressurect the thread. I am torn. I am with most of you and try to avoid chains. However, my neighbor goes here once a week. He has a very fine palate and knows good food. Regualrly eats in the city and the better places in NJ. He says while it's not a gourmet level outstanding NYC place, it executes solid well prepared basic Italian dishes. If he twists my arm and gets me here, I will be sure to report back.