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D'Jeet (Middletown / Red Bank)

I lunched twice at D'Jeet.

Happy about:

- Good quality ingredients and the flavors are really nice! The pickled vegetables on my salad were delicious with a hint of anise, maybe 5-spice powder. A butternut squash soup with apple and sage was *perfect*! Another salad was a bold combination that worked nicely: wasabi-coated seared tuna, roasted beets, olives. A very good mix of olives, pitted to make it easier to enjoy the salad.

- The place is charming. It's in a little old house. Clean, simple decor. There is a small dining room with cute mismatched tables. They provide magazines - a considerate touch for single diners. You can see the bright clean kitchen behind the take-out counter.

- If you eat in, they serve on nice casual tableware. No disposables.

- Soup portion is generous for the price. Salads are average size, but I think are a good value considering the high-quality ingredients.

Quibbles:

- A salad with topped with under-cooked chick peas. I mentioned it to the woman behind the counter. She told me the chick peas were "al dente" and cooked in-house. IMO beans should be cooked until soft. Undercooked beans are a bad habit of many upscale chefs. I'd rather have my beans mushy than indigestible.

- Cheese sanfu. I specifically requested "no cheese" on my salad. I told them twice. Yet, there were several dots of goat cheese mixed in. I suspect the cheese was on a utensil used to dip the dressing or mix the salad. I believe this kitchen may be more meticulous than most and this was a rare mistake. But I was annoyed because I had to scrutinize my salad as I ate it.

- House-baked cookies are not to the standard of the other cooking. I had a chocolate chip cookie and a macaroon cookie. Nothing special. Honestly I prefer the tasty house-baked cookies at the nearby Whole Foods.

Overall I really like D'jeet and plan to return regularly.

Thanks to the chowhound who originally posted about this place...
Here's another chowhound thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567071

http://www.djeetcatering.com/home.htm

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djeet
212 Highway 35 South, Middletown, NJ

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  1. Glad to hear you had a positive experience at Djeet val ann.I must side with the folks at Djeet about how they cook the pulses however - IMO ,the only thing I like mushy is peas when served as a side to Fish & Chips !To each thier own as they say.I've never tried any of the Cookies and to be honest my tastes tend to go towards classic French pattiserie.I know i'll ruffle some feathers here,but I find the whole American presentation of pastry / confectionary to be generally abysmal, amateur-ish and un-apetising.I have to hold back the tears everytime i drive down Bleeker st and see a line out of the door at that Cup Cake place?
    I just don't get it? Mind you,I even complain about the much lauded Italian pasty shops in Manhattan which everyone except me seems to love,so maybe i'm talking out of my @ss?

    9 Replies
    1. re: xny556cip

      @xny556cip: I don't like mushy beans. I was exaggerating to make a point. But I would rather have them mushy than "al dente". A skilled chef will cook them to the point where they are barely intact.
      If you like classic French pastry, I wonder if you have been to the Flaky Tart in Atlantic Highlands.

      1. re: val ann c

        Yes and it is great that a place like that is supported and seems to thrive,however i don't think it would stand out in a major city as anything mor than good.Some of the superlatives heaped upon it are rediculous IMO.Go to Ceci-Cela in Manhattan and try the Poire William gateau or any of the pastry goods and you'll see what i mean.

        1. re: xny556cip

          The thing about the Flaky tart is it blows away almost any place within 30 miles of it. I travel around NJ pretty extensively and there's no place that I've been to that matches the quality and consistency Flaky Tart provides. I think much of the praise is because allmost everyone is NJ has been to terrible bakeries. There are places that do brisk business and are awful. I'd be happy if NJ had 10 more places just as good as Flaky Tart but scattered around and doing different things. Quality pastries are severely lacking in NJ.

          Are there any places in NJ you prefer to the Flaky Tart?

          1. re: jrd303

            Altho not a preference over Flakey Tart, this bakery in Shrewsbury has a lot of heart and soul and makes delicious pastries.

            http://www.ecannoli.com/index.html

            Stopping at D'Jeet was my son's first request while home on college break. He loves the burgers!

            1. re: HillJ

              HillJ
              I like La Rosa's too. Nice Italian cookies.

              1. re: val ann c

                val ann c.....and the cannoli cream and ice cream cannoli to die for!

                1. re: HillJ

                  thanks for the recommendation! I've never been there before. Is there one thing you woulld recommend on a first visit?

                  1. re: jrd303

                    the cannoli cream and ice cream cannoli
                    treat yourself!
                    the owners gladly offer samples if the choices overwhelm :)

            2. re: jrd303

              "Are there any places in NJ you prefer to the Flaky Tart?"

              It's been quite a while since i've ventured to Princeton,but IMO they have two of the best (read "probably the best ")places i've found in this State:

              The Little Chef Pastry Shop
              8 S Tulane St
              Princeton, NJ 08542
              (609) 924-5335

              Witherspoon Bread Company
              74 Witherspoon St
              Princeton, NJ 08542
              (609) 688-0188

              The first is a classic small french Pattiserie,the likes of which I would use as a benchmark for comparrison.The second is part of the MOMO Restaurant group.Primarily a bread bakery,but with some fine danish and limited pastries as I recall.IMO all the Italian places may hold a dear place in the hearts of the thousands of decendents of American- Italians,but they can not compete with the quality and class of the French/Swiss/Austrians when it comes to pastry and confectionary.Even the beloved Baba came to them from Poland via France!That's not to say i've controlled my Panettone addiction however.........
              Sorry to hijack the Djeet? thread BTW Val ann c.

      2. I've been meaning to try it, and finally got there today. I had the Kobe meatloaf sandwich, which was outstanding. I also sampled the turkey chowder and butternut squash soups. Excellent both. So many things look and sound great, it's hard to choose.

        It reminds me of Mumford's, just a lot smaller and a little better.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cantkick

          I also had the Kobe meatloaf on my last visit and it was delicious.I didn't want to say it was "outstanding" as that's how I described the burgers,if my memory serves me right !Glad to see Djeet? getting the patronage it deserves.

        2. After reading about D'jeet here on Chowhound, I had to try the 'Ham & Jam'. I was only going to have one bite in the car on the way to work, and wound up finishing it before I even drove 2 miles!.My only regret was that I didn't buy two of them, so I returned later in the week. One my second visit the Ham & Jam was available in slider form, again they only lasted a couple of miles on the ride to work. (lucky for me I also picked up a Joey - chicken sandwich!) Next up, definately the Kobe Meatloaf.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DrewBB

            I tried D'jeet for lunch today and must join the chorus of praise for this establishment. This is the type of place I like to support as the young owners' pride and determination is evident in the quality of food and service offered. The room was warm, cozy and inviting as if you were eating in your aunt's home. I ordered and truly enjoyed the Roasted Beet Salad with Ricotta Salada, Egg, Onion, and Baby Lettuce expertly dressed with a Roasted Garlic and Peppercorn vinaigrette. The flavors of each of these components harmonized perfectly and I'm happy to report that nary a lettuce leaf showed any sign of wilting. I had also ordered a small bowl of soup which regrettably was not available. Instead, without asking, I was offered a taste of different soup ( turkey with vegetables) which I immediately ordered.The soup was delivered in a nice size bowl with two pieces of freshly warmed whole wheat bread. The soup was nice and fresh and served at the proper temperature (a pet peeve of mine - not too hot but just right). Although I found the meal to be a tad expensive, I was glad to pay for such quality ingredients. I intend to return again shortly and recommend that others do as well.
            Drew - I had intended to order the Ham and Jam (due mostly in part to your rave) but regrettably it was not on the special list today. There is always a next time.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Their New Year's specials look great. I was craving their chowder and maybe the crab hush puppies. But THEY'RE CLOSED TODAY!!! Aaagghh