What is the Wandering Sister Rating?

1 Wandering Sister = Enter at your own risk, you've been warned.
2 Wandering Sisters = How hungry are you? This place has it's down side.
3 Wandering Sisters = Pretty good place to go, but not for everyone.
4 Wandering Sisters =  Good food. Good service. You won't go wrong.
5 Wandering Sisters = Considering there's only 4 of us... This rating will speak for itself!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hollywood Cafe and Sports Bar

Located at Rt 45 and Elm Ave in Woodbury Heights, NJ, this vintage diner SCREAMS "SEE ME!"
There is no way to not see this place, but if you're heading West on Rt 45, you may never get back to it. Apparently New Jersey is adamantly again turns. Every intersection we came to had big signs stating "No Turns". Six miles down the road we decided we would be rebels and do an illegal turn so that we could get back to this brightly lit, red, Hollywood Diner. 
There are 2 areas to this diner. One being your typical 60's diner setting, the other being a very charming vintage, eclectic sports bar. We chose to sit in the high ceilinged, flat screen filled sports bar area. 
Feeling festive sitting there, I decided to order a draft beer. I asked the waitress if there were any specials going on. She said, "No, not tonight." I thought that was odd since upon entering, you're swarmed by signs everywhere stating all kinds of specials on every night you could imagine. But apparently we had bad timing. I decided to just go with a Samuel Adams Summer ale. Of course, as we were leaving, I saw a hard to miss sign, (from that angle anyways) stating that every Wednesday is $1 Bud and Bud Light Drafts.  Gee, that seems like that would have qualified as a special that night. Not that I was feenin' for a Bud light... but hey, for $1, would have gone in that direction.
I took a few extra minutes to look over the menu, there were quite a few things that appealed to me. When a menu uses such words as "fresh zucchini, asparagus, artichokes and spinach" my taste buds start watering. My eyes wandered over several appealing little entrees, most costing $12-$16, however, prices did range from $6-$25. My husband suggested a wrap that was right up my alley, for around $8, it had chicken and asparagus and all kinds of yummy in it. I almost did it, but I said, "no, I want 'Dinner'." So, I settled on a Fresh Breast of Chicken Balsamico...  Yes, chicken breast, fresh mixed vegetables and a Balsamic red wine sauce. mmmm! My meal came with a side salad and a vegitable (which includes rice and pasta at this establishment... not the vegi's I'm used to, but hey, what the hell?) I went with the Greek salad, which was quite impressive looking. 
The flavor was a little bland and after almost breaking my teeth on the seeded olive, there were a few foul words... Why on earth do restaurants put seeded olives on your salad? Is it really too much to ask for your food to be edible from the get go? This goes for all you restaurant owner out there... just a thought... they do sell pitted kalamata's.
Within minutes, my dinner arrived. Now, I'm not one to complain about fresh vegi's... but why specify "mixed vegi's" and then only throw a few tomato's and LOTS of spinach into the pan, especially when you clearly have all those other vegetables at your disposal? Hey, I'm a fan of almost ALL vegi's, but I was expecting more than this. To ad to my disappointment, it was also a very bland sauce. The only way to get bland out of a balsamic and red wine combo.... wait, how do you make that bland? Clearly they worked very hard at down playing the flavor of this dish.

The atmosphere in this diner is great, I give it a definite A+ for that. Also, if you're suffering from a cold and you're having trouble tasting, you'll never know the difference in good food and this food.
I was a little confused by the Foot Locker uniforms though. I get that it's a sports bar and all, but it is mostly a retro diner, so the uniforms were just off.

Depending on why you're going, and how well your sinuses are working, I give it a 2-3 Wandering Sisters. The atmosphere definitely boosts this reviewers opinion of this one, but the food makes it hard to recommend.

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