It's tradition in my family that whoever's birthday it is gets to pick the place we eat. Well, i was growing VERY tired of the same old places and was looking for a change, so i did a little exploring on the internet (including this board) and came up with the Sagebrush Steak Cantina in Cedar Knolls, NJ. My expectations based upon what i read were: low key, casual, steak place with a mexican flare.
This place hit the mark! Being used to a city atmosphere and being able to walk most places we want to go, we felt like Cedar Knolls was the "country" (which was a good thing!) It was a little loud upon entering as they have a large bar area (and the Yankee baseball game was on) and the dining area is not separated too well, but we persevered. Just the "feel" of the place made me comfortable, and was exactly what i was looking for... a real "locals" place. There is a salad bar which is adequate although unimpressive, and you can also order steaks by the ounce (10oz minimum). The menu is steak and Mexican oriented, with a variety of cuts of meat, as well as fajitas, burritos, and BBQ items. Entrees ordered were Mexican filet mignon (topped with chipolte and cheese), NY Strip, BBQ ribs, and a BBQ chicken/rib combo. The black beans seemed to be sitting around for awhile, but rice was good... next time i'll see about substituting the mashed potatoes instead. Service was a little weak, but fine, as the staff seems to be "local kids." The frozen margaritas were great, as was the apple pie for dessert. Everyone agreed that the meal was "tasty"... even my dad, who is very difficult to please.
Overall the place was exactly what i was looking for. Nothing fancy here, but overall good food, in a laid back atmosphere. It's very family oriented, as there was more than one table with (noisy) young children. I don't think this place will become a "staple" for us as it is about 35-40 minutes away, but i see us returning a few times a year when we're looking for a break from the "same-old same-old." If you're in the area (near Short Hills mall) or live closer than we do, i think it's very good place that represents an even better value.
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