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Dec 3, 2012 10:53 AM

Moose's Tavern Tinton Falls (Old Charlie Browns)

Friday night was a toss up between old Charlie Brown locations……it was either The Mediterannian Café in Matawan or Mooses Tavern on Sycamore in Tinton Falls. Mooses Tavern won the toss up…….so that’s where we went. It was actually their opening night of the full kitchen/restaurant so knowing this in advance I went into it expecting there to be some “hiccups” in the evening.

They had about a 20 minute wait when we arrived at about 7:00pm……which was fine. There were plenty of tables open but I assume they wanted to control the seating to not overwhelm the kitchen or didn’t have enough servers for full capacity. Whatever the reason I didn’t mind I would prefer to wait than be neglected at a table.

As I looked around besides an update to the bar…..they really only painted and took down some of the Charlie Brown crap on the walls…..not a lot of work went into the place. (not that it needed it). We were seated and greeted by our service we ordered a few cocktails and took a look at the menu. (I cheated and had looked at the menu online before going so I knew what I wanted). The menu is very similar to Charlie Browns and actually they have the same cuts of prime rib etc……in all honesty this place is nothing more than a Charlie Browns knock off…..not that it’s a bad thing. Even the salad bar is identical….it looks like they use the same supplier of salads like cole slaw etc. even the bread at the salad bar looked the same as what Charlie Browns offered.

For entrée’s I ordered the double cut prime rib medium, wife had the “slamin salmon” sandwich and my son ordered the buffalo chicken sandwich. Hiccup # 1 the salmon was brought out by the food runner a good 10 minutes before our other entrée’s came to the table. When I asked a manager about the other entrée’s I was told they were “cooking the steak” and I would be a few more minutes……he apologized and gave me a drink on the house. I found it a bit disingenuous that the manager would just say the steak is cooking when in all truthfulness a prime rib is already cooked. Most of the time to medium… his “excuse” for the delay didn’t sit very well with me. If he said the chicken sandwich was still cooking that is more believable than a medium order of prime rib.

Hiccup #2……the prime rib came out over well done. Thankfully there were NOT grill marks indicating they threw it on a grill to cook as I was worried was going to happen but the rib came out well done and with actual dried up a’jus on the plate indicating it had been sitting plated for awhile. I wasn’t going to complain about it simply because I was hungry and wanted to eat. I can say this……although over cooked it was still a dam good piece of beef. I asked for a side of a’jus to dip it in as it was a little dry….but overall when they get their act together it is an excellent piece of meat.

Hiccup #3……the buffalo chicken sandwich was actually boneless chicken fingers not a whole breast….which made it very awkward to eat as a sandwich. They should indicate it’s individual strips and not whole piece. Not a big deal….it was good.

Hiccup # 4 (actually a good hiccup) The slamin salmon while not exactly as described on the menu came out I was shocked at the size/cut of the fish. It was HUGE…..they are charging $9.99 for this sandwich (It was served with a roll) but honestly if it was plated by itself as just grilled salmon entrée they could charge $25. for it and you would think it was appropriately priced. If you are a grilled salmon lover…..go here TODAY and order this sandwich the portion is ridiculous for the price.

No desert…..just the check and we left. As I said I went into this with my expectations set appropriately and the night went exactly as I anticipated so no harm no foul. I will definitely be back for more prime rib and maybe some of their other offerings. If you are/were a Charlie Browns fan…..this will be the place for you.

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  1. Nice write up...

    So does the moose have anything to do with the decor inside or is that some random name?

    Jr have you been to maloneys by chance? That is on my radar and so is LaMarina. I am going to costa Verde tonight so maybe I can convince my party to changes venues LOL

    PS, Thursday I am heading back to La cipollina to tackle that enormous rib eye. If it is as good as last time, you will undoubtedly have to try this place!

    1 Reply
    1. re: corvette johnny

      There is some slight Moose decor but nothing overly obnoxious. The owners name or nick name is Moose so that is the reason for the name.

      That's a negative on Maloney's. La Marina is on my radar as well although I would probably be trying the Mediterannian Cafe first. I remember you mentioning La Cipollina in the past.....I haven't been there in years but report back about the Rib Eye that would prompt me to give it another try.

      Costa Verde has been a reliable source for good Portuguese food for years, enjoy!!

    2. If you are/were a Charlie Browns fan…..this will be the place for you.

      Not since the 70's Jr. Not since the 70's...... ;-)

      11 Replies
      1. re: JustJake

        I've got to tell you JJ every so often I just need a nice hunk of slow roasted beef and before their recent financial and legal problems Charlie Browns was a good local stand bye to feed that need. Out of all the chain restaurants them and Houlihans are the only two that I could really stand. The remaining Charlie Browns are making a good effort at turning themselves around and this Mooses place for it's close proximity to my home will give me another resource for some "comfort food".

        I actually got take out from them last night.....this time I got the horse radish crusted double cut prime rib medium and it was done perfectly. (although they do not have to-go containers yet so everything was wrapped in tin foil. **Hiccup**)

        There was an order of shrimp skewers which were good.....a pork slider which was good....corn nuggets as an app and fried pickles (Just had to try them for my first and now only time). The place is what it is...........

        1. re: jrvedivici

          Duly noted Jvedi. I know that my wife would like the place as she loves 'prime rib' - and maybe one nite when it's just the two of us, I'll surprise her with this place and hopefully find something on the menu for myself (and I'm sure that I will be able to).


          1. re: JustJake

            Moose's (still unfinished) website:

            I do have to give them credit for not actually offering a "MooseBurger."

            1. re: equal_Mark

              Do you think you'll venture there, =Mark?

              1. re: fershore

                Eventually, probably, as they are like a 10 minute walk from my house. Will likely want to see what they can do burger wise. Probably will give them a month or three to work out the kinks...

                1. re: equal_Mark

                  if you recall, we live in basically the same 'hood. I'm tempted to give the prime rib a try. Wouldn't it be great to have a reliable neighborhood bar/restaurant? Maybe not gourmet, but easy and comfortable for those nights when you're too tired to cook...I miss Gertrude Brown's.

                  1. re: fershore

                    It seems there is a strong membership from our neighborhood here on chow! I can't say this is going to be a Gertrude Browns replacement, oh what I would do for one of their pies, however it has potential.

                    On the burger note the table next to us got burgers and all I can say is they didn't look very impressive.

                    1. re: fershore

                      Do you remember when in it's final year or so Gertrude Browns was bought by a Hungarian guy named Tomas? He vainly tried to up the quality of the offerings and sponsored wine tastings and stuff while still trying to cater to the salad bar and nacho crowd? Another example of the futility of trying to please everybody.

                      On the other hand, I've always felt the location at the Old Mill across the road could seriously lend itself to a destination type establishment. Unfortunately, starting such an endeavor while trying to keep a 300+ year old building next to a waterfall up to local codes would seem a daunting task for anyone.

                      1. re: equal_Mark

                        I honestly do not recall the phase which you mention with Gertrude Browns.

                        Regarding across the street I think that was the intention when the Grist Mill first sold and it operated at "The Falls" for a short period of time. (I might have the sequence of operations wrong because wasn't it 2 or 3 things between The Grist Mill and MJ's?) They tried to make it more fine dining came out with a higher priced menu updated the interior and served sub-par food. Didn't last long. I for one am a one man protest against MJ'S and their seeming success. How they draw people to 3 locations is beyond me.

                        1. re: equal_Mark

                          No, I don't remember Tomas. Glad I missed that phase. I agree with you about the Grist Mill. Such potential and such expense.

                          It frustrates me that within spitting distance, we have easily 10 restaurants that are just okay. Is it too much to ask to have a reliable local pub?

                          Back to topic: The DH and I went to Moose's on Tuesday night after a long day and a nasty commute. The staff's focus was definitely on friendly. I didn't know who it was at the time, but the owner (or one of them...?), Moose, ran to open the door for me upon our arrival. I ordered the king cut prime rib medium rare with steak fries. The DH ordered a burger with Moose chips (homemade potato chips). My entree came with the salad bar and DH added it for $3.99. The salad bar was good and solid but nothing that stood out. My steak was cooked correctly and flavorful but really, really tough. The fries were good, especially soaked in au jus. The DH found the burger to be gristly. He didn't care for the brioche bun at all. It was out of place to him. Service was very attentive and prompt. No hick-ups. I was disappointed by the wine list. A steak house should have some killer reds. We drank a perfectly fine malbec. As I reread the above, I realize it sounds like a bummer but to be honest, we had a great night. It was so nice to be amongst friendly welcoming people and comfort food and wine. We saw some old friends at the bar and also recognized one of the bartenders from Sallee Tee's. We were introduced to Moose who was enthusiastic and eager to please. I asked if he could sell pies in the entry way. Fingers crossed...

                          1. re: fershore

                            Too funny I was there Tuesday night as well! I stopped at CJ Mcloones had a soup and decided to come here to eat. I probably arrived around 7:30 the dining room seemed pretty empty but the bar where I was standing room only upon my arrival. You are 100% correct my prime rib was tough as tougher than the previous two I've had there thus far.

                            To call this a "steakhouse" I think is a little too ambitious........and to set expectations as such with the wine list I think is a bit unfair. But not bring a wine drinker myself I really shouldn't be commenting on this I guess.

                            The place is new still under a month old but I'm holding out hope that the place will become a good reliable local spot for us because as you pointed out we certainly lack that. The Pour House has become mine out of default. ( and don't ever get me started on The Lincroft Inn, how they stay open is a mystery to me. One of the worst restaurant in Monmouth County in my opinion).

          2. Had lunch with the wife today there. Staff was friendly. After looking through the menu - which is not organized in the burger section, (had to look close to find the salad bar) Ordered a simple turkey burger. It turned out to be a not good tasting patty with cold fries! I will go across the street to MJ's next time..

            1 Reply
            1. I was a busboy for a few years at Gertrude Browns, from 1991 to 1993. They had the best homemade pies, cornbread and mashed potatoes. Their prime rib was really popular, combined with the salad bar. I sure wish they were still around, just all-around awesome homestyle food.

              In all my time, Thomas was the owner (Hungarian). He would wear many hats, helping the cooks and seating the patrons. Then, end of night he would be sitting in the bar sipping his San Pellegrino.

              This was one of my favorite jobs, started out riding my bike when I was 16 (from Lincroft) to the restaurant, then graduating to my '84 Nissan Sentra :)

              Anyone know what year it closed down? I know the place next door is where all the Asian workers lived (19 Old Mill Road), which sold in 2003, so perhaps Gertrude Browns shut down around then.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rehr22

                I'm going to take a guess it closed down around 2001. I know for sure it was closed by the summer of 2002, so I'm guessing around 2001.

                I also agree Gertrude Browns pies were awesome and the place was great for what it was. Both Charlie Browns and now Mooses are a far, far cry.

                1. re: jrvedivici

                  OMG my mouth is watering with the memories. My husband (then boyfriend) used to coach a Pop Warner team in Tinton Falls and on Sundays, after a day out in the cold, we'd inevitably end up at Gertrude Brown's for chicken pot pie or their out-of-this-world cream of turkey soup. Loved that place - peanut shells on the floor, cold beer, life was good...

                  1. re: newfie29

                    Wow, how could I have forgotten that from my opening post! .. the homemade chicken pot pies and soups (my favorite was french onion).

                    I wish I could stir up a reunion!

                    I know Gigi the bartender went to Murphy's in Red Bank, which is also closed now :( As for the others (Thomas, Anne, etc...) where are you...

              2. CLOSED! Drove by and it looked suspiciously dark, I got out to investigate and the front door had 4 pieces of tape on the exterior, but no message attached to it. (I guess it didnt occur to them to tape the notice inside the glass door) I looked through the windows and it was obvious its not just closed for the night. I took a quick look at their Facebook page and it confirmed Nov. 24 was their last night. Just shy of their 2 year anniversary according to my original review/thread.

                7 Replies
                1. re: jrvedivici

                  Its going to reopen as a woodys, it will be thier second location the first is in seabright

                  1. re: fatboy2014

                    Really? it's a complete change of ownership. Good luck to them that will be a welcome addition to the area.

                    1. re: fatboy2014

                      Any relation in ownership to Woody's in Farmingdale NJ (which used to be The Farmingdale House before that) ?

                      1. re: fatboy2014

                        I suppose it would be too much to hope that they would spice up the Cal/Mex selections a bit. The ones at the Sea Bright location got pretty bland after chef Ed left...

                        1. re: equal_Mark

                          bland is an understatement. any of the "hole in the wall" mexican places in red bank blow this place away. I will say I do like the actual building with its exposed beams....pretty cool venue.

                          1. re: corvette johnny

                            Anyone know what the delay is in getting the new place opened? It's just sitting with NO activity what so ever.