HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >


Fernandes 3- Highly Overrated!

Went last night. The stuff clam appy was good. Wife ordered stuffed FEMALE lobster. It came out with no roe. When we asked the waiter, he said all female lobsters had no roe, and because he worked in a restaurant for 20 years, he knew and we didn't apparently. Called over the manager after the waiter talked to him. He said the same thing. When we Googled it to show them that indeed female lobsters DO have roe, they both, literally at the same time, shrugged their shoulders and walked away. How friggin rude!

The riodizio either was super well done and dry, or rare (ordered it med rare). Every single morsel was over salted and not wonderful.

Based on this experience, we would never come back here. Overrated restaurant for sure!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've got to tell you this much, to the best of my knowledge the only female lobsters that come with roe are in fact pregnant ones. (not all female) They carry the roe on the exterior of their tail, those are the only female lobsters that have roe.

    Speaking from first hand experience anytime I have received a delivery we would return the lobsters with the roe. I have never seen them served to the public like that.

    As far as the meat goes all riodizio's is salty its the way they prepare the meat. The meat on the skewer went brought to the table is NEVER cooked to any particular temp. If you want well done they generally give you an external slice since it's the most cooked. If you want medium they give you the next slice or two, if you want rare they cut from closest to the skewer.

    Have you been to many other riodizio's? Again, personally speaking I have and I have found Fernendes to be above average of most. I've been to this location a few times and have never had a problem. I've also been to the one in Newark and never had a bad meal. I'm truly surprised.

    1. I have heard nothing but TREMENDOUS things about number 3....all good from friends and family. And if JR gives it a thumbs up, that man knows his way around some steak ; )

      I just haven't been there yet but I have been supporting the originals for a long time. I have been there countless times and never had a bad meal. This review is just making me want to go there ASAP. I am salivating thinking about the smoky greatness. LOL

      Sorry you didn't like it but you are definitely the minority.

      This place has a cult-like following so for anyone planning on trying it out, it gets busy. I've driven by a few weekend nights and its stacked up with cars.

      No hard feelings but LONG LIVE FERNANDES! I am really glad to see their new location doing great business.

      PS, aren't they saying now that the lobster roe has high levels of paralytic shellfish toxin?

      1 Reply
      1. re: corvette johnny

        Thanks CJ for the kind words and vote of confidence for my steak recommendations. Now you've made me a little paranoid so I feel the need to clarify.

        Rodizio is a "specialty or unique" experience. More a novelty than a gourmet experience. If I'm looking for a true quality steak, I'm not going to rodizio. I've I'm looking to strap the feedbag on and just want a little of this and a little of that (which is really more like, a lot of this, a lot of that) then there is no beating a rodizio.

        I don't want you going there with the impression of getting a strip the quality of Copper Canyon, it's not that kind of place.

        With that said, I'm still a big fan.

      2. Female Lobster will not always have a significant amount of roe on the inside, or if any....and it's impossible to tell if there will be any before cutting the lobster open. To expect any restaurant to do so is unrealistic. I cannot tell you if it's the season where the female lobsters are fertile and carrying the eggs. You may very well have gotten the females as you asked, just without any egg sac...it's quite easy to distinguish a female from male....just look at the feelers and tail shell.

        As for the Rodizio, you really do not mention the specific items served. My experience is that the Sirloin is always Medium-Rare to Medium. If I wanted more of any specific meat available for that evening, I requested it and it came out shortly after. I have never had any Rodizio restaurant deny any such request....While the meat could be salty...I've never found it to be dry....but even so, all you needed to do was leave it on your plate, speak up and wait for the next pass.

        I've never been to Fernandes 3...but I have been to F2 and have enjoyed it.

            1. re: jrvedivici

              I try to take on "Devils Advocate" in situations like this, and have issues with any post that does not identify the location of an establishment being discussed. In this case I actually had no clue...

          1. I have been to Fernandes 3 four times so far and have always found the rodizio to be very good with a very wide range of different selections brought to the table. The service has always been fine. I have never ordered anything off the menu so I can't comment on those dishes. The only negative is that the salad bar for the rodizio is not as good as some other places but if I choose t go there it's for the meat not the salad.

            1. Went to Fernandes3 in Sayreville in June with a group of 12 for Grandma's Bday and all in the group seemed satisfied and happy with their meals. Appitizers were oysters, calamari, and garlic shrimp. Various entrees were tried including steak, paella, grilled salmon, grilled scallops, stuffed shrimp. No rodizio was ordered, but one entree was ordered that had several different varieties of meat on a gigantic plate that was enough for three. Several pitchers of sangria were enjoyed. No dessert because we had bday cake waiting at home. No complaints about the service. It was as good as I remember at the Newark location. I notice the parking lot is always full when I drive by. Overall, this would be a keeper on my list.

              5 Replies
              1. re: cke25

                I've never been to any of the Fernadeseseses, but I feel the need to chime in here. Cke, don't take this personally--but since you were the last one to say "I notice the parking lot is always full when I drive by" I'm replying to you. Folks, the parking lot is always full at a lot of places that aren't good. See: Olive Garden, Applebee's, McDonald's, etc. A full parking lot is *not* an indicator of a good restaurant.

                1. re: Curlz

                  I agree with you regarding the parking lot isn't the best indication of a "good" restaurant. However a positive review from me IS! Lol

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    We went there once & had a great dinner. Only reason we haven't gone back is because boyfriend likes draft beer & Fernandes doesn't have any. However, if he's in the mood for seafood, we'll probably go there again. And the parking lot is usually full because it's not that big. I think it may be about 20 spaces, if that. The night we went, most people had to park on the street behind there.

                  2. re: Curlz

                    cke25 does post an actual experience.....

                    Curlz....just curious... could we assume the restaurants you recommend with full parking lots....are also not a good indicator of being any good?


                    the same could be said for full dining rooms as well.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      Totally agree--a full place is NOT an indicator--but consistently good reviews and experiences ARE.

                      You'll note I started out by saying that it wasn't personal to cke-I just can't stand the mentality of "the parking lot is full/they've been open for decades/there's always a wait" as a reason why a place MUST be good.

                2. I had dinner there on Saturday night 8/10. We got a table for 4 at 8:30 pm, with no prior reservation. I am a big fan of Fernandes in Newark. This place doesn't have the same vibe as the one in Newark, but we still had a good meal. I thought the service was above average. I had a steamed 2 lb lobster for $29.95, which must have been bigger than 2 lbs, as I couldn't even finish it. One of my dining companions had the whole branzini, which he thoroughly enjoyed. It came with a side of broccoli rabe, which I don't think is in season, but he asked them to switch it out for string beans, and they were more than happy to do. Dinner after a beautiful August day at the beach calls for seafood, so no one had the rodizio. We had one order of Mariscada à Fernandes, and an order of Camarão Grelhado à “Matozinhos”. The shrimp was a lot of work, as they were in the shell, but tasty nonetheless. The portions are huge, the prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is pleasant. I would give it another try.

                  1. I've had the rodizio twice during the first month they opened when the second dining room was still almost bare and loved it. I go there for lunch every other week and usually end up with the steak medallions which have to be the one most tender cuts of steak I've ever had and quite a good portion.

                    I do have a negative though. All of the desserts I've had there are terrible. The flan is horrible and I've had it twice just to be sure. The custard itself tastes like it was made using a Jello mix and the first time I had it the caramelized sugar had to have been colored corn syrup. The second time was a bit more authentic but the flavor was watered down.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Timbert

                      Wow, dessert after rodizio is impressive! They normally have to me out I am so full LOL

                      NYCPA, I kind of figured the decor wouldn't compare to number 2. That upstairs room they have is really quite a nice room.

                      Has anyone tried that steak when they serve it on a tile? I think you have to ask for it. My sister usually gets it.

                      1. re: corvette johnny

                        Not often, but it happens. They also carry the desserts at lunch so I've ordered more often during that time even though their portions are pretty filling at that time as well.

                        1. re: Timbert

                          HAHA, yeah I am just busting your chops. I have never been one to save much room for dessert...especially when giant skewers of juicy meat are being waived in front of me nonstop.

                          1. re: corvette johnny

                            I have never had the steak on a tile, however I have seen it served several times. From my observation it's the tip or end of a Filet Mignon. Most commonly this is used in "filet tips" kind of dishes, because of the cut I'm sure it's very tender and as tasty as a filet mignon gets. It's just a novelty way of serving a difficult cut to serve.

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              My son actually loves this dish. The two times he's had it, it was skirt steak.

                    2. Its unfortunate you had a bad experience at F3. I never been. I only know of F1 (formula 1) lol...
                      As far as lobsters, you can tell between M&F, even without the Roe, eggs, coral, whatever you choose to call it present on the outside of the tail. It's not easy but you can tell. Females have a broader tail and have feathery hairs on their 'swimmerets', the small flippers on the underside of the tail. These are used to hold eggs. Now the eggs are only present on the outside when she has already mated. Believe it or not the eggs present on the outside are fertile and growing for about 9-11 months. when ready she will swift them off.
                      Fun fact, after a female has mated she can store the male sperm in a special sac inside of her for up to three or four years and use it when she pleases.
                      Hope this helps, about lobster that is. As far as steak being too salty, well maybe it was a bad day for them. Temperature? That's definitely the house's fault!

                      1. This has nothing to do with F3 or female lobsters, but we ate at Solmar on Ferry Street last night and we thought that the food was the best we've had of the Ironbound Portuguese genre.

                        I had a whole sea bass (Euro, not Chilean).I enjoy "operating" on whole fish and it was fresh and moist. My wife had a very good steak espeto, which was a rodizio-type preparation. She also got rice, beans, kale, potato chips in superhuman quantities. Great sangria, attentive service, a rousing crowd of mostly locals, really nice experience.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: scarlet knight

                          If you look at this posthttp://chowhound.chow.com/topics/918511, I said the same thing...great food, great service, amazing sangria!!

                          1. re: scarlet knight

                            My comment also is not about F3 or female lobsters (I am not an expert on that, LOL), but regarding Solmar and the Ironboun section of Newark. On Solmar...Ditto...only been there a couple of times, but each time -- very good! I've had numerous friends, a few Spanish/Portuguese, and a few in the restaurant business -- and they've all said the same thing...very good! While some people say "all" the places in the Ironbound section are "quantity over quality" or "impress you with huge portions, but not good food" or something of the like -- that's just opinion. Many people like many restaurants in the Ironbound.

                            I spend a lot of time in Newark. I "made my bones" in my industry in Newark and "worked" there. I still spend a lot of time there -- and I eat there (in Newark) every single time. For my tastes, likes, dislikes, etc. -- there are several restaurants I like.

                          2. went there friday,actually,they have in my opinion the largest variety of choices in their rodizio I've ever seen and I have been at Plataforma in NYC and Fogo De Chao in DC(considered the best at their kind).
                            you don't see fish,shrimp among their choices anywhere else.
                            the salad bar isn't all that I agree and the parking and tables and very crowded but the rodizio servers were actually very friendly and compared to the Newark location I could actually understand them well.
                            As far as lobsters go,I usually order steamed and since only the tails and claws are good to eat,I wouldn't be able to tell the taste of their gender.
                            I never order them stuffed because sometimes restaurants in rush hours mix that stuffing over their poop and it looks gross with that green stuff on the bottom...lol

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: yourdudeness

                              I believe the green stuff is tomally (spelling?) which has something to do with reproduction. I don't think it's poop. Would not be an appealing way to serve a dish.

                                1. re: scarlet knight

                                  Tomalley is generally consider to be liver, but it's actually the liver and pancreas. Roe, in raw state is black, but when cooked turns reddish-orange.

                                  Poop is black like...same as in a shrimp which rests in the intestine before exit.