Jan
04

Char Steakhouse, Raritan, NJ

Char is a new steakhouse that replaced Acqua, an Italian restaurant. It has the same ownership. I never ventured into Acqua – way too many Italian restaurants in NJ and it really didn’t stand out. But Char is a different story. Just starting with the name – Char. I love that name, what a great name for a steakhouse. It immediately conjures up images of a great steak. Perfect!

The decor continues the theme with lots of browns and dark colors. It’s just right for a steakhouse. There is a pretty large bar area which is pretty nice, has some flat screen tv’s which had the Jets game on when I last went (which was a few weeks ago and the Jets actually looked good. Sucks being a Jets fan but that’s for another blog.).

The restaurant had only been open a few weeks when I went and things seemed to be running smoothly, though they were out of the wine I wanted. Instead they recommended another comparable wine which was pretty good. The wine list is decent and reasonably priced. Way too many restaurants overcharge for wine and it’s nice to see restaurants not rip off their customers.

I’d gone for dinner with Johan and 3 of his Belgian colleagues. All of whom were pretty jetlagged having just arrived that afternoon from Belgium. While there are non steak items on the menu, we all chose steak. I went for the ribeye which is what I always do. While it’s the fattiest piece of meat, it’s the tastiest so you might as well go all the way and enjoy yourself. It came perfectly cooked. I also had fries with the steak, again these were great too. We did share calamari to start which was good, not great. The waiter also brought over a bunch of sauces for the steak. I’m a purist when it comes to steak. I prefer enjoying the true essence of the steak with nothing added. A good cut of meat should not be burdened by anything but salt!

Service was good and prompt. We were in an out in less than 90 minutes which was great for the others since they had probably already started dreaming of bed.

Overall, a much needed addition to the restaurant scene in the area.

UPDATE:

I went back to Char last week. Was in the mood for a good steak after I had a relatively mediocre one at Keen’s in NY the prior week. I also wanted to check if the steak was as good as I remembered. Went mid week for a boy’s night out. The first thing that struck me was that the parking lot was packed. There was no where to park in their lot. Recession? What recession? The lot next door had a signed warning that unauthorized cars will be towed. I was driving the Porsche so wasn’t really keen on that. I ended up parking right off Rt 202. Not ideal but safe.

The bar and restaurant were packed. The place was buzzing. We all ended up eating ribeyes with fries. The steak was perfect, very tasty and the fries were great too. We had our token greens – the spinach which was good too. The steak was as good as I remembered. No wonder the place was packed mid week.

A new development since my last visit is what I call “The women of Char”. For a central NJ restaurant Char has a disproportionate number of very attractive women from the blonde hostess who is stunning and probably moonlights as a model to the new bartender Caroline who is a smouldering brunette. A number of the other wait staff were pretty attractive too. Another reason to return.

2 Responses to “Char Steakhouse, Raritan, NJ”

  1. I fully agree with the above comments. Being from Belgium I absolute concur with the quality of the fries. I’m still puzzled why they’re called French fries. Even Julius Caesar described it as a Belgian invention in his “De Bello Gallico”.
    A negative comment for the record: for the time being Char only serves lunch to pre-booked parties.

  2. Char is wonderful!! Beautiful, Professional staff, and excellent food. The “Prime Time” Serloin steak was the juiciest and best steak my husband and son have ever had. Our waiter was very good at explaining that their steaks run a bit more rare than other restaurants so if you order a medium well you’ll get what other places call medium. Great atmosphere.

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