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May 18, 2010 05:40 PM

Shout out to Tolima, Chatham

Just came back from having dinner at Tolima, in Chatham. I want to really praise them for what they are doing. 75% of the time, I am a solo diner and when I eat out, I genreally just order an entree, because an appetizer and entree would be too much food for one person. So, my dining experience is dictated by the restaurant. Hats off to Tolima that has given choice back to the diner! Tues- Thursday they offer a tapas menu that allows one to have more than one plate - each is maybe a little larger than your usual app, but certainly smaller than your usual entree. At $8.50 a plate, it's extremely reasonable and the food is very good. There is a nice variety of offerings -e ven for a vegetarian. In addition to the tapas, they offer their entrees in full and mid-size portions! wirth the appropriate reduction in price! The mid-size portions are what I would normally eat at home. IMHO,this is dining that makes sense and empowers the diner to eat the way he or she chooses. Would that more places did this.
I don't want to overstate the case, though. It's a storefront in a strip mall. It's a BYOB ( a plus in my opinion). the service is young and sometimes a little off. The kitchen is a one man operation, so if the place is busy, you might wait a while, but the food is cooked to order. They also only take cash - no credit cards - a couple of ATMs close by. They are right next door to Robert's theater in Chatham, which shows foreign films. That's why I enjoy the convenience. I applaud them for what they are doing.

641 Shunpike Rd, Chatham, NJ 07928

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  1. I've never been, but they do a reservation only early bird-three courses AND a movie ticket for $30, which might be better value for someone with a larger appetite.

    1. Based on your comments, and others from different sites, plus the menu looked interesting, we went to Tolima's for dinner. Not a good decision. Certainly the place has no ambiance, though there is an eclectic collection of artwork. The ceiling tiles are in bad shape, and the lighting is poor. But on to the food.

      We ordered the crustini sampler (my name not there's) which offers four tastings on tiny slivers of (not great) bread. The toppings were good enough; fried mushrooms, brie with jam, chorizo and (mushy) tomatoes with gorgonzola. Tasty, but far from well-prepared.

      There were four of us. I ordered two starters, as the sweet, but unsophisticated waitress told me one or two was as big as a meal. And she was right. I had shrimp with polenta in a sauce with too much cream, and too little taste. My second dish was overcooked beef with ((surprise!) polenta. Both came with spinach, which was fine. The real problem was a complete lack of subtlety.

      My dining partners had tialpia with chorizo (tasteless), lamb ribs (too salty) and trout (tasteless).

      This place really has nothing going for it, I'm sorry to say.

      641 Shunpike Rd, Chatham, NJ 07928