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Restaurant Review: CJ’s BBQ doesn’t live up to the hype

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Restaurant Review: CJ’s BBQ doesn’t live up to the hype

Suvee Ranasinghe

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CJ’s BBQ recently expanded their business to a new location in the Montalvo shopping center on Victoria Avenue. While the restaurant has another location in Oxnard, this new addition is their second restaurant. While CJ’s has a well organized and designed website, that claims they serve “southern style BBQ,” my thirty minutes at the establishment gave a different impression.

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A&E writer Suvee Ranasinghe found the Veggie Avocado Sandwich bland- it was composed of primarily raw veggies and mayonnaise. “To pay seven dollars for a sandwich with nothing special is absurd,” Ranasinghe writes.

CJ’s BBQ recently expanded their business to a new location in the Montalvo shopping center on Victoria Avenue. While the restaurant has another location in Oxnard, this new addition is their second restaurant. While CJ’s has a well organized and designed website, that claims they serve “southern style BBQ,” my thirty minutes at the establishment gave a different impression.

Only a few customers were inside the restaurant and four flat screens lined the wall. The clerk was polite, but didn’t go out of her way to recommend food when I appeared clueless with what I wanted. Instead I was handed a laminated menu with small print.

Prices were mid-range, but weren’t in line with what I was served. The wait was short and sweet and the cashier brought the food to our table and left swiftly. Tables are arranged with standard condiments, tacky paper towel rolls in holders, and spicy and regular BBQ sauce. The issue with paper towel rolls is that they simply take up space and are inconvenient when you have only one hand available to tear the towel off. Standard napkin dispensers would be a great addition to this restaurant.

Prior to actually going to the restaurant, the website lead me to believe that I would be more impressed with my food. Friends told me good things, but I left feeling disappointed in my experience.

On to the food itself: I ordered a Veggie Avocado Sandwich with a side of potato salad. My brother got a Grilled Chicken Burger with a side of macaroni and cheese. I am sad to say that all four dishes were bland, unseasoned and seemed thrown together. The Veggie Sandwich was composed of primarily raw veggies, and mayonnaise. I could have made it at home, and to pay seven dollars for a sandwich with nothing special is absurd.

If we compared the potato salad at CJ’s to the one I previously had at Two Trees Cafe, the CJ’s BBQ one is even lower ranked. At Two Trees Cafe the potato salad was refreshing and then leaned bland towards the end. However, CJ’s BBQ served a completely bland potato salad to start with. No fresh veggies to lighten it up, and the base was lacking in flavor. It was either unsalted or too simplistic.

It also seemed that mayonnaise was a popular ingredient in their dishes. I tried some of my brother’s burger, and was just as disappointed with the dry, chewy chicken. It was possibly overcooked, but it was just as unseasoned as my food. And though it wasn’t necessarily a “BBQ” item, meat is meat.  He also claimed that his macaroni was unseasoned and dreary.

If you’re in the Montalvo area, you could probably purchase a healthier, more flavourful and cheaper lunch at Trader Joe’s across the street.

To conclude, the cashier made no effort in checking in or conversing with us. She left us to ourselves, while she stood behind the counter doing God knows what.

I didn’t feel bad when I left without tipping.

Background Photo Credit: Suvee Ranasinghe/The Foothill Dragon Press

What do you think?
1 Comment

One Response to “Restaurant Review: CJ’s BBQ doesn’t live up to the hype”

  1. Mrs. Kindred on March 23rd, 2016 6:02 pm

    My experience with the CJ’s in Oxnard was similarly disappointing. Too bad. I consider potato salad an art form–it’s sacrilegious to throw it together without thought or care.?

     

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