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NJ Food Guide

NJ Food Guide - January, 2009

Inside This Edition: New Jersey Food Reviews By The Jersey Shadow: Pompton Queen Diner & Restaurant in Pompton Plains, NJ and Gencarelli's Cucina & Dessert Lounge in Montclair, NJ 

 

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Feedback is always welcome on all of my reviews.  Drop me an email if you like! - Jersey Shadow - 

 

Pompton Queen Diner & Restaurant - Route 23 in New Jersey is a pretty vital roadway in the State, located amidst some large car dealers, stores and I-287.  The Pompton Queen Diner on Route 23, has been serving  customers since 1969 and from the activity this day, business is booming.  One bite of the food will tell you why.
 
The voluminous menu is packed with all the usual items and then some, plus pictures.  The pictures are okay with me for a diner, but totally unnecessary and a red flag "no" at regular restaurants.  I like a nice big glass of soda with my meal and this diner was generous with their drink portions and menu portions as well.  Getting up from the table full but not stuffed is the right goal for an eating establishment.  There is definitely a too much food turnoff for me as well as too little.

 

I went with a classic hot pastrami sandwich on rye with mustard and Russian dressing.  I was delighted to see some high quality pastrami arrive which could never be confused with some corned beef-like imitations.  The meal was very tasty and the fries were especially good and perfectly cooked.  Okay the little mustard packets this day are always irksome and make me feel like I'm at a sports arena not a restaurant.  The Russian dressing arrived in a plastic cup on the side and if the mustard arrived that way it would have been preferable.
 
Going out of my way to return here is likely as the food and service are excellent and the place is warm and comfortable with modern flat screen TVs and computer ordering system.  A computer printed check arrived on this day with amount of $19.15 for my sandwich, fries, 3 sodas and a very tasty ham and cheese melt praised by my guest.  This was quite a reasonable lunch.
 
Chances are that if you are from North Jersey you could well find yourself along this stretch of Route 23 and stopping by the Pompton Queen Diner might provide just the kind of Jersey comfort food you are looking for. - Jersey Shadow -
 
Pompton Queen Diner & Restaurant
710 Route 23
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
Phone: 973-835-2086

 

Gencarelli's Cucina & Dessert Lounge - Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, and enclaves to either side have long been busy areas full of dining opportunity.  No question about it, diners have much to select from around here in this part of Essex County.  Gencarelli's, a local area name  known for baked goods has its moniker on more than one building in these parts.  Today, I was focused on finding Gencarelli's Cucina along the Avenue and easily found a place to park less than a block away.
 
The inside of Gencarelli's on this winter day was warm despite cold temperatures outside, in fact, there was a space heater positioned near the front window eliminating any possibility of drafts for window-side diners.  The tables were all nicely set with interesting albeit unusual leather table covers.  This day was not very busy, but there were a few small groups dining.  The menu looked interesting, but by no means overly so.
 
Bottled water was offered which doesn't do much for me as I'm way more interested in the food than paying for overpriced water.  I don't much care if someone sees me ordering water from the faucet, but I know some of you like your sparkling water.  The complimentary hot bread and red sauce was off the charts in freshness and quality.  Today for my lunch I ordered the breaded chicken with melted cheese in a pita which came with a very fresh tasty salad on the side.  The sandwich was unfortunately way too much on the bland side for me but some salt did help it along.
My guest enjoyed a pita filled with salami, tomato and cheese, which was said to be good, but not worthy of a rave.

 

I would love to see things really pumped up in the kitchen to match the warm decor and first rate service so they don't fall prey to an ever demanding customer with so many dining options to choose from.  If they focus on the food by designing and preparing memorable meals then they should do very well here.  Every dish offered on the menu needs to be off the charts for a small place like this to succeed and I for one hope they do. - Jersey Shadow -
 
Gencarelli's Cucina & Dessert Lounge
381 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone: 973-744-8881

 


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