A couple of days before Christmas, Yvo invited me to go shopping at the Tanger Outlets way out on Long Island. For some odd reason, I said yes. I had the day off from work, so I was up for an adventure. I was also consoled by the fact that Yvo’s brother went shopping here a day or two before and said it wasn’t busy. I am not a huge fan of shopping to begin with, so going three days before Christmas was a risk. Yvo also said there were some good restaurants nearby that were especially CHEAP!
Yvo says: I’ve actually been going to this steakhouse since way back in the day. I had friends who went to SUNY Stony Brook. J&R boasts a location rather close to the campus; when I’d visit, we’d occasionally go eat dinner there. Cheap, but still table service, which rocks for a college student.
After meeting up with Yvo in Queens, we drove about an hour out on the island. I don’t think I have ever been out that far. We arrived at J&R Steakhouse towards the end of the lunch rush. Although it was more a slow crawl, since the average age of the customers was 75. The primary reason for the older clientele? A huge lunch menu with everything under $10 which includes soup or salad, “Today’s Veggie,” and choice of side.
Yvo says: Whoops, forgot to mention – that far out in LI, you’re not going to find many people our age hanging around. But it means people eat earlier, so our arrival around 1pm was ‘late’ or ‘the end of lunch service’ which is fine by me!
Yvo mentioned that she hadn’t been to J&R in a while, so she was really looking forward to the pasta salad that they serve to everyone. She was a big fan of the dressing. We were both pretty hungry at that point so we gobbled it up quickly. I thought it was good, but not as remarkable as she made it out to be. I liked the half-sour pickles that came on top a lot more. My favorite kind of pickle. Salty, garlicky, but still has the cucumber crunch.
Yvo says: Haha, another whoops – I knew it wasn’t a life changer, but I do like that pasta salad. Maybe because it’s simple but tasty, and I always arrive hungry after an hour drive… but also because I didn’t eat much vinaigrette-based pasta salads growing up, they were all mayo (which I like), so this one was an eye opener for me. 11 years ago.
They also gave a small loaf of hot pumpernickel bread. It was quite useful in sopping up some of that dressing from the pasta salad.
Yvo went with the 14oz. Prime Rib ($9.99) with salad and mac & cheese.
The salad was pretty standard.
Yvo says: Yup. I wasn’t a fan of how huge the croutons were, but found it funny that it was not made from the bread they gave us on the table. Wonder what they do with the leftover pumpernickel loaves then?
The meat was HUGE! (TWSS) I am not a fan of prime rib, too chewy and fatty for me, so I’ll let Yvo chime in. She liked the mac & cheese eventhough the pasta was overcooked.
Yvo says: Yup. The mac & cheese was super soft, but I liked the creamy, mild cheese flavor to it, and found it a nice foil to the prime rib, which was OK – it needed a little kick from something. I added a bit of steaksauce and found it fine. I think they might underseason their steaks to prevent complaints from the older patrons? Or maybe they just do it as a pre-emptive measure aginst people asking them to leave out the salt? I don’t know.
Since it was pretty cold out, I decided to start with the soup. One of the options was lobster bisque. I found this a bit strange because most restaurants I know would charge extra for lobster bisque, but this was not the case. I took a chance and ordered it. I am glad I did. It was very flavorful. Although there was very little lobster meat in it, just a few strands, it was good soup.
I ordered the Lunch Skirt Steak with onion straws($9.99). I chose the J&R Fries as my side. The menu listed them as skin-on natural fries, so that piqued my interest. Unfortunately, they were just a quartered potato with no seasoning. The skirt steak was much better. The waiter asked if I wanted the marinated or plain steak, obviously I went marinated. This cut of meat can get tough if not cooked or cut properly, but fortunately it wasn’t the case here. Was it the best steak I ever had? Of course not. The onion straws were a little thicker than I would have preferred, but tasted good when eaten with the steak.
Here is a bottle of their house brand bbq sauce. It was ok, but a tad way too much on the sweet side for me. It was needed to try and salvage the J&R Fries.
Yvo says: Yeah, really sweet.
The portions were pretty large, so we skipped dessert in order to head out to the outlet. I think the menu said we could add dessert and coffee for $2. Crazy!
Yvo says: Haha, I even took some steak home.
All in all, it was a pretty good lunch and super cheap. Check out that bill! It was much better than going to some crappy chain restaurant like Applebees. (J&R does have 6 locations all on Long Island.) We had plenty of sustenance to give up the energy to get through outlet shopping three days before Christmas. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you happen to be near one when you are hungry.
Yvo says: Honestly, I think this place is awesome for the price. It’s not dry aged (perhaps not even aged?) steak, but it’s almost an entire pound of prime rib for $10 with sides and a salad. That’s hard to beat, and given that the steak is more than edible – it’s quite tasty – I don’t see any reason to be mad about that. It gets crowded sometimes with local families eating dinner or lunch, but service has always been pleasant and casual. Oh, and if challenges are your kind of thing – they do a 76 ounce steak challenge. I had a few friends in college who tried it, but couldn’t do it, because the meat they got was really tough cuts and not tasty like the other steaks. Maybe trimmings? Don’t know. And if you don’t finish it, you pay, something like $40? Not worth it back then. Maybe if you’re crazy…