I decided to dine there for the first time this past Saturday Aug. 18th. with my wife. Although I have heard good things about this place in the past it was actually a thread on here regarding the best Rib Eye steak in Monmouth County in which corvette Johnny kept posting about how good the steak was here that motivated me to give this place a try.
While this was my first time eating here I have been here once before but just for cocktails. The bar and restaurant made a favorable impression with me on my first visit so with corvette Johnny recommendation ringing in my head I decided to go back and try it for dinner. We arrived at about 6:45 without a reservation and the hostess told us we could have a table as long as we understood they had a reservation for it at 8:15pm….that seemed like sufficient time so we agreed and were immediately seated. Although the hostess made this comment throughout the night the restaurant always seemed to have 1 or 2 tables vacant so I’m not sure what the sense of urgency was unless this specific table was requested.
Although I knew it was a tex-mex theme I didn’t realize it really is a more Mexican restaurant than I anticipated. Even though I was set on having steak the rest of the menu was rather unappealing to me as Mexican is about the only ethnic food that does NOTHING to excite me. We ordered a couple of cocktails (they don’t carry Stoli vodka so I had to settle for Kettle One they do however have an extensive tequila list) we ordered the chips and salsa and also the guacamole as starters. The chips were nice, fresh, crisp with a nice seasoning on them…the guacamole was delicious although I was hoping they made it table side as I have seen done a few times in NY……the salsa I was not a big fan of. Upon looking back at the menu it does describe it as being made from “Charred” tomatoes and that char flavor carries through and didn’t appeal to me. But it was accurately described on the menu so I can’t blame them for it not being prepared correctly.
Although I went there with the steak as my entrée after listening to the specials they had braised short ribs as a special and I couldn’t pass it up. My wife ordered the Mahi Mahi off the menu. When the entrée’s arrived the Mahi Mahi was a very large portion…they sure didn’t skimp on that serving size. The fish was fresh and very tasty. My braised short rib while tender and prepared excellent….it came with a heavy bbq-esq type sauce on it which really didn’t do the meat much justice. I prefer my shortribs with a port wine reduction or something along those lines…..not a heavy thick sauce….which is how these were served. The sauce’s flavor didn’t seem to compliment the very tasty and well prepared short ribs……the dish wasn’t bad…but just didn’t compliment each other in my opinion. It was served with a jalapeño mashed potato which was delicious.
The Giants pre-season game against the Jets was being recorded at home thus we skipped desert and just headed home well before our 8:15pm eviction notice. The service/waitress was very good…..the bus people and runners were excellent water glass always refilled etc. Overall if you are into Mexican food I would strongly recommend this place. I myself might go back to try that steak….but other than for that reason I’m doubtful I would return strictly because I’m not a huge fan of Mexican cuisine…but that is no fault of Copper Canyon.