Thursday, February 4, 2010

Charlie Brown's Steakhouse - Clifton, NJ

This is a relatively backdated post. I'm still really busy, trying to settle things before our trip to Malaysia (yes, we leave tomorrow!) but as promised, I'm trying to update this blog as much as I can. A couple of weeks ago, we had dinner at Charlie Brown's Steakhouse. It's the largest steakhouse chain in NJ, with it's first branch opening it's doors in 1966. We've heard quite a lot of good things about it, so we decided to go check it out ourselves.

The moment we pulled into the parking lot, we knew that we had to wait for a table. The huge parking lot of filled with cars! We had to circle a few times and ended up parking way across the other end of the lot. I guess dinner time on a Saturday is peak hours for them :P True enough, when we walked into the restaurant, there were just people standing everywhere, waiting for their table. We had to wait for almost 25 minutes before we got a table.

For our appetizer, we ordered the Three Cheese Crab Dip ($8.99). Jumbo lump crab meat, seasoned with Old Bay seasoning and then baked with three different types of cheese was just amazing! It is served with crispy frybread chips. Just look at how much crab meat there is in the dip. So creamy and yummy!
We had a choice of the salad bar or soup with our mains. We both went with the soup. Kevin ordered the Lobster Bisque and again, it was gooood. I tasted a little of it and boy, it was thick, creamy and really good. There were also quite a few pieces of lobster in the soup.
I had the French Onion Soup. Now, this must be the best French Onion Soup I have had in a very long time. It was so flavourful and hearty. So, up til now...Charlie Brown's Steakhouse has been living up to it's name, really good food.
For our mains, I ordered the Chopped Steak ($13.99). It's about 16 oz. of chopped USDA Certified Angus Beef steak, served with a side of frizzled onions, rice pilaf and mushroom sauce. I ordered the steak medium well but when it arrived, it was way past well done. The outside was pretty charred and the inside was dry. The frizzled onions were also soggy and oily. Overall, it was quite a disappointment really.

Kevin ordered the Fish & Chips ($13.99). Four pieces of tempura battered cod fillet, served with fries and coleslaw. Yes, the portion was relatively huge but taste wise, it really didn't hit the spot. The fish was just alright, nothing much to shout about. We have definitely tasted better. Overall, it was just an alright dinner experience. The starters were totally amazing but the mains really didn't impress us at all. The service wasn't all that great too (we had to actually ask the server to refill our drinks, even though she walked by many times and saw our empty glasses). So, would we return? Well, having to wait 25 minute just for a table, coupled with mediocre service and a total bill of $47.24, I would say that the chances are pretty slim. However, I am so in love with the Three Cheese Crab Dip, so I don't know. It's a tough call on this one.

Charlie Brown's Steakhouse - Clifton, NJ
1296 Van Houten Avenue
Clifton, NJ 07013-1632
Tel: (973) 471-1400

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