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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. Their New Year's specials look great. I was craving their chowder and maybe the crab hush puppies. But THEY'RE CLOSED TODAY!!! Aaagghh

            1. Gave D'jeet a call this morning to check before heading out that way and caught them in the midst of moving. Guy who answered said they were headed to the Grove in Shrewsbury, which I have to think will be a better location and where they can hopefully prosper.

              - Koof

              7 Replies
              1. re: Koofka

                I agree that the move will help give them more exposure. Selfishly, I'm happy that they are moving a little closer to me. :)

                1. re: bgut1

                  I had often wondered about that location on 35. Their actual hours didn't really match their published hours at one time. I'd drive by every day at about 5:05 and they would be closed even though the website said open until 6pm, which has since changed. I wondered if they'd close early if it was slow.

                  I look forward to their new location and hope it means: dinner will be served!??
                  Their food is excellent. As a transplant from Portland Oregon, I'm always on the lookout for good, quality, affordable food and you folks on this board steered me to D'Jeet and I love them. Thanks.

                2. re: Koofka

                  Swung by there today. It wasn't yet open, but it looks like it might be soon. I hope so.

                  BTW, it's in the space formerly occupied by Pasta Fresca.

                  1. re: cantkick

                    Djeet opens on Monday, July 20, in the Grove location.

                    1. re: fershore

                      I'll be there for lunch! Anyone else?

                      1. re: cantkick

                        I've learned it's often not a good idea to try a place on opening day. I like to give a new establishment a chance to work the kinks out.

                        1. re: equal_Mark

                          Agreed, but it's a move, not a new place. And how do you screw up a sandwich? (Yes, I've heard horror stories.)

                          I can't imagine they will have any problems continuing their high standards.

                3. Been meaning to try the Watermelon Jicama Salad from this place.
                  IMO the move should be a good business decision.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: shabbystorm

                    Is the menu as limited as it seems on the website? Lunch choices in particular seem somewhat sparse. I recall a larger sandwich selection including Cubanos & pulled pork some months back...

                    1. re: equal_Mark

                      2 cents - Whenever I have been to the Rt 35 location, They do have blackboard specials posted.

                      1. re: shabbystorm

                        If I recall they don't have a very large menu but change it frequently.

                  2. Just grabbed a sandwich there. (I'm eating as I'm typing.) Great move for them. Nice little restaurant. I did take out, but dining room looks nice. Open kitchen. A few outdoor tables among the flowers. The menu has been expanded, but still has all the old standbys. I'm eating the chicken salad wrap, excellent as always. The size is a little small for the price, but the quality is high, so no complaint.

                    The dining room was packed, so I think they'll do well in the new location.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cantkick

                      I stopped in yesterday, after birthday present shopping at the Grove. I had the heirloom tomato grilled cheese, which was really tasty. It came with a side salad of nicely dressed baby greens, which impressed me, because I often avoid salads for fear that the dressing will be overpowering. I'll definitely return, because I'm interested in almost everything on the menu. I'd mostly go for lunch, but dinner looks great.

                    2. The website says they'll be moving to their new location soon. Maybe after they move they'll update the site to include the Summer menu...

                      1. I was prompted to try D'jeet's new location by a fellow chowhounder in my other post(Cantkick mentioned that D'jeet had moved to The Grove). I gave it a try this afternoon. The place looked nice outside, clean and simple with a few tables outside. I was there at around 12:00pm, despite there was the sign that “Hostess will seat you”, nobody attended me. A staff acknowledged me but it was obvious that he was not the hostess, he had to go and find the hostess for me. I guess that did not give me a great initial impression. The seats were quite closely set and as I was dining by myself, I was placed at the very corner. My server appeared immediately after I was seated and advised me the soup of the day, she also asked me if I wanted something to drink. I ordered an unsweetened ice tea and she brought me a glass of ice water while I was waiting. It took her sometime(about 10 mintues) to get back to me and I ordered the Watermelon Salad(organic greens, feta, sunflower seeds, navel orange, red onion with herb vinaigrette) and I added grilled shrimps to the salad. At the same time, I asked her about my ice tea and she seemed to forget that I even ordered and asked me if I wanted the ice tea….Perhaps it was lunch time and she was busy and I basically let it slipped since she was very cheerful. Two ladies next to my table ordered ice tea after me but another server brought one ice tea and gave it to one of the ladies, and when he was told that they both ordered ice tea, he realized that he might have messed up the order. I got my ice tea finally. The salad arrived shortly and it looked fresh but I was quite disappointed to see only three little shrimps added to it, though they were artfully arranged. I would have expected at least 4 shrimps for the additional five dollars, especially when they were quite petite. The salad was well seasoned and not drowned with the dressing, the ingredients were fresh. The ingredients blended well, there were plenty of feta and the watermelon plus the orange was very refreshing. On the other hand, I wonder if they were running out of sunflower seeds because there were not many(less than 10 in my serving) in the salad. It would be nice if there were a few more to add some crunch to the salad! I noticed that by the time was finishing off with my salad, the ladies next to me were not served with their orders yet! As mentioned before that I was sitting at the corner and it was a bit difficult to be reached after the neighboring seats were filled up, my server actually had to hand me the check over the table, which it did not seem to nice to me when you were in a decent seat down place. The bill came to around $18 excluding the tip. For the kind of service that I was getting, it was “overpriced”, perhaps the place is still new and these are the teething problems. The dining experience was just not worth it in this place and I think that a smarter way to go is to just order take out!

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: HelenB

                          This is why when a place is newly opened, moves or opens "under new management" I always give them time, depending on the circumstances, to get their act together. New customers, new kitchen and dining room layout, new storage facilities, new employees. Any one of these can disrupt what had been a seamless routine. Combine them all and some confusion is all but guaranteed. I'll give 'em 3 or 4 weeks...

                          1. re: equal_Mark

                            Mark,

                            I agree. One of the reasons I just did take out. The dining doom/service might take a while to sort out as it's a new business model for them. But based on my wrap, the food hasn't suffered.

                            Helen, you mentioned the soup. It was too warm today for it, but if you go on a cooler day, get today's special. The sweet potato corn chowder at the old location was one of the best soups I've ever had.

                            1. re: cantkick

                              Cantkick,

                              I did not mention the soup in my post but I was tempted to get it when I was there(you must have read my mind), I did not go for it due to the reason you said, the weather was quite hot yesterday! As I said in my earlier post, the food is of quality but I just think that it may be smarter to do the take out! I will surely try the sweet potato corn chower in the Fall!

                              1. re: cantkick

                                Cantkick,

                                I tried the butternut squash soup just now! I ordered the chicken pasta salad with pepper and onion plue thus the butternut squash soup. The line for take out was long and they have to run back to the kitchen to get the soup everytime....I have to say that the both the soup and the chicken pasta salad are great! The soup is especially welcome due to the chilly weather outside!

                                1. re: HelenB

                                  I like that they change thier menu seasonally. Why can't more do that??

                                  1. re: Angelina

                                    Angelina,

                                    You are absolutely right! It is nice to have a seasonally menu, taking advantage of the different food that nature offers in various time of the year! Perhaps, you should open a restuarant and I will be the first there! Anyway, enjoy the fall weather and the food in d'geet. Oh...I forgot to mention in my last post, I got some brownies too, they were very yummy, moist but nice!!! Try them if you like a little treat(actually it is quite large, I bought one home and share it with my husband!)

                              2. re: equal_Mark

                                Mark,

                                Good piece of advice! I should have waited. I have to say that the food was good but if you have athe chance to be inside, you will realize that the seats are quite closely packed and quite difficult for the servers to go between.

                                1. re: HelenB

                                  I enjoyed them at their original location, but the new place is just a couple miles from where I live and work, so I figure it will be a regular haunt.