CJ Montan............what? Wait......CJ McLoones!?!?! Tinton Falls
So it seems that the old CJ Montana's on Shewsbury Ave in Tinton Falls has changed hands and is now the latest in the ever expanding McLoones brand of restaurants. (Is it just me who reflect back happily to a time when there was just McLoone's Rum Runner and that was it...??? Now there is a McLoones at the OTB in Woodbridge NJ, really?).
So anyway I couldn't help but notice how they just changed the Montana's to McLoones in the same font and colors as the Montana's was.....no new ownership or management...just seems like the snuck in one night changed the locks hung the new sign and boom, new McLoones.
I had to stop in and see what was up........I hadn't been in CJ Montana's since they first opened......I gave up on the place for 2 reasons.......1.) The food sucked.......2.) The owners attitude was worse than the food. But assuming the old ownership was out I decided to stop in and see what was up.
I only had a couple cocktails and I took a look at the menu.....and tried the lobster bisque. The menu has everything from Prime Rib Spring Roll app's to wings to Jumbo Shrimp Cockail. Variety of soups with Lobster Bisque obviously being one.....and entree's from salads, burgers to Prime Rib, NY Strip, Salmon etc. etc. Everything including the entree's is ala carte...with average entree's being in the mid $20. range and a house salad being $4.95.....that's putting you close to $30. for dinner and a salad. Even their burgers were upwards of $15.
Anyway my bisque was good.....a little too salty for my taste but that's to be expected with a bisque so I'm not going to say it was bad.....our tastes may vary. They really did nothing to the interior of the place it's exactly as I remember it being when CJ Montana's first opened up 5 years ago.
In my humble opinion I don't really see this place as a McLoones type property.......nor do I really get a good feel of what target they are trying to hit with the menu. I know CJ Montana's was hurting so I assume McLoones stepped in took over the lease and is seeing where things take them.
Stop in for yourselves if you care to check it out.....that's my report for now. Peace!
Just me and the kids tonight so we decided to give this place a try. Pulling into the parking lot was full we got the last spot but I had my daughter run in to see how long the wait was. She came out and waived us to come in so we did.......once we got inside I was surprised to see the place was only half full if that. (Old restaurant trick have your employees all park in the lot to give a fuller appearance)
We sat in the bar area at a high top half booth half table. We were greeted and our drink order was taken. No specials offered and I didn't really care to ask. After a few minutes of deliberation our decisions were made 1.) Pork Osso Bucco for son $24.95 1.) turkey burger for daughter $15.95 1.) Chicken Pot Pie for me $14.95 1.) Chicken pecan salad to go for mom later $15.95. I added a "Betty Salad" to my meal for an extra $5.00
The salad came it was mixed greens, crumbled blue cheese, sliced apples and cranberries. It was served on a bread plate and literally finished in 5-7 bites. I could understand the size if it was included with the meal but not when paying the up charge for a salad. It was tasty though no complaints about that.
Osso Bucco a nice size/cut of shank. Prepared properly with the meat delicately falling off the bone. It was good but the sauce it was served with seemed like plain tomato paste dried on the meat. It did nothing to compliment the dish.
My chicken pot pie was served in a soup bowl brought to the table empty besides a square flakey pastry square in the middle. The "guts" of the pot pie were served in a separate pitcher and poured over the flakey pastry. Interesting twist on serving the dish but the main reason I like a pot pie is for a nice flakey crust. Pouring it this way immediately made the crust soggy. The taste while not bad brought my taste buds back 30+ years to the last time I had a cambells cream of chicken soup. Nothing bad about the dish but nothing outstanding about it either.
Turkey burger served on a nice soft bun with tomato and lettuce with thin skin on French fries. The burger was terribly dry and was WAY over seasoned the taste of oregano or basil was overwhelming. You needed a full glass of water to help you swallow each bite.
Equally bad was the chicken pecan salad once we got home. Small over fried chicken balls with about a soup spoons worth of pecans. Truly not worth the $16.00 they are charging.
Service was good and attentive but I don't see the menu items and prices they are charging for the product they are delivering. The have a traditional wedge salad on the menu for $12.95! Bowl of chili $13.95, all burgers are $15.00 +.
Well I experienced enough to check this one off my list. You can go judge for yourself but I would encourage you to just take my word for it! Go two blocks past it to The Pour House have a burger twice the size grilled at the bar for $10. And enjoy every bite!!
If the food was good at the McLoone's restaurants, I wouldn't care how many of 'em existed. Since it's not, who cares? Hell, can there even be a view as a selling point in Tinton Falls? I guess they figured that since Charlie Brown's has lost its place there was an opening in the marketplace for poorly prepared family dining. Perhaps add a salad bar in the future? Maybe even rebrand: "Charlie McLoone's Family Funhouses - Prime Rib specials every Wednesday Afternoon."