Veal Parm – Jefferson Diner, Bowling Green Parkway Lake Hopatcong, NJ

Jefferson Diner is something like famous, having been profiled on at least two basic cable channels and three different shows. It comes off almost like a parody of a diner, the neon and chrome exterior festooned with the kind of giant clock diners have, only it’s even bigger. The menu is where this really gets taken to heart. It’s a small novel, laminated and spiral bound, boasting everything from a 3 egg omelette to Mexican pizza. There are at least 61 sandwiches listed, not including hamburgers. There’s everything from a humble tuna melt to a harrowing so-called club sandwich involving mango, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise. Offering a range of five dozen sandwiches seems like a great idea, but cold reality of things is that you can’t offer 61 quality sandwiches. It just can’t be done.

Some of the sandwiches at the Jefferson Diner are probably good. Some are probably very good. Just by virtue of volume, there has to be a winner somewhere between the Pastrami Sloppy Joe and the Here’s The Beef Club. Unable to sample the menu’s range, I ordered a simple classic. If you can’t handle the hopscotch that is an honest parm sandwich, I have little hope for your high-wire act.

You can see the results for yourself. Uneven distribution of sauce, a sandwich thrown together that I had to assemble on my own, and so much cheese you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d dropped my napkin in the photo. The veal was a bit dry, dashing any hope of a saving grace. Many of you are no doubt familiar with the platitude “Do one thing well.” I don’t think that’s gospel, but it’s a respectable idea well worth considering. The Jefferson Diner does one thing well, but unfortunately the thing they’ve chosen to do well is “Have a lot of things on the menu.”

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