After being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the craze hit Carmel for some cheese steaks. And not just any cheese steaks, but from Jersey’s Cafe. I personally was surprised hubs and I hadn’t dined there before – after all, we live 5 minutes from the place. It is tucked back in a strip mall which may be how we missed it for so long. After attempting to grab lunch there a week or so ago (they are closed on Sunday), we tried again on this past Monday afternoon.
Signs posted everywhere warn patrons that they may encounter a long wait, but we figured at 2:30 on a Monday this wouldn’t be the case. Well, we still had to wait about 10 minutes, but this is because they were short staffed and only seating half the restaurant. But those 10 minutes allowed us to review the menus, so I was okay with the short wait. Yes, menus…for there are two of them. One is the ‘standard’ menu consisting of deli sandwiches, salads, stuffed potatoes, sides and beverages. The next listed what they are known for: steaks, hoagies and rippers (hot dogs that are fried until breaking open).
While we waited, I also had time to look around a bit. The restaurant is themed for New Jersey love, which of course include New York due to proximity. Yankee lamps, Garden State posters and other miscellaneous items adorned the walls and also were incorporated into sandwich names. One random thing – teddy bears. Lots of them stuffed in the corner. I’m not sure if these are solely on display or up for sale, but either way, they left me utterly confused in decor terms.
Since there are so many options, I had a very difficult time narrowing down my order. I ended up with the New York cheese steak. Italian seasoned steak was mixed with sauteed onions and mushrooms before being smothered in melted provolone cheese. I loved the oregano sprinkled all over and how cheesy the sandwich was. I eagerly ate my way through the stuffed baked good. The bread was great – it soaked up all the juices of the meat while still remaining crunchy on the outside. It was a very large portion and I easily packaged up one half for lunch the next day. I also had some potato chips on the side – basic bagged chips, not made in house.
Hubs decided to go classic on our first visit by ordering a cheese steak. He added grilled mushrooms to his sandwich, which complimented the sliced steak. I loved that the steak wasn’t too thin or thick, but perfectly sliced. Covered in American cheese, it was creamy and never dry. Piping hot, you had to watch to ensure that you didn’t burn your mouth. I enjoyed his a bit more than mine – it was all about the cheese I guess.
Overall, I loved the sandwich. I didn’t love the time it took for us to receive our sandwich. Despite being short staffed, I feel the wait is standard and something you should anticipate. Each table has a deck of cards which I’m sure is due to the wait time. I assume they are well aware that it takes a while to prepare the food which is why they provide the entertainment. The service was good, attentive to soda refills and quick with other service requests. Despite being a Red Sox fan and not a lover of New York sports teams in general, I’ll still return. But I would lean more towards carry out so I didn’t have to a) wait for a table and b) wait for my food. I wish I had known about Jersey’s prior to this year, that’s for sure.
Jersey’s Cafe * 13710 N. Meridian Street, Carmel * 317.846.7760