Monday, October 15, 2012

Dinner with salad bar for only $9.95

Tomatoes and onions cover bluefish at The Coach House in Hackensack.

A plate of salad, included in the price of the entree.

When I visited The Coach House in Hackensack last May, I made the mistake of ordering the salad bar with a large bowl of soup for $11.50.

I found myself trying to eat more than I had planned to make it pay off.

This time, I ordered an entree of fresh fish for $9.95, and the salad bar was free.

I tried to make a reservation on Saturday for a table at Seafood Gourmet in Maywood, but the small dining area behind the fish market was fully booked.

I still wanted fresh, wild-caught fish, and The Coach House always has several kinds.

Bluefish calls to me

When we walked in, I saw Bluefish Mediterranean listed among the blackboard specials for $9.95.

And I was told the bluefish was prepared to order.

The dish also was listed on the daily printed menu with 1 side dish, but when I ordered, the waitress said I could choose 2.

The fillet was moist and covered with tomato and onion, and I loved my sides of sauteed baby spinach and cooked carrots.

Two side dishes came with my entree of bluefish.

A second plate of free salad.

The salad bar, rear, is near one of the dining areas at The Coach House.

I declined an offer of garlic bread, and no bread basket was placed on the table.

I did order a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, and was pleasantly surprised at the price for the California wine, $5.75.

My wife and mother-in-law ordered Chicken Francaise ($11.95) and Shrimp Francaise ($14.25) over rice, and the salad bar was included in their meals, too. 

They took about half of their entrees and rice home.

Four people ordering bluefish or another $9.95 entree, and the free salad bar, could eat for $50, including tip and tax.

The Coach House seats about 220, and it wasn't necessary to make a reservation. 

We were seated immediately, and there were a number of empty tables between 6:30 and 7:30 on Saturday evening.

Chicken Francaise and Shrimp Francaise, below.

I am not comparing The Coach House to The Restaurant at Seafood Gourmet, a BYO known for its fresh and imaginatively prepared fish.

But the diner, which offers fresh seafood and reasonable prices, is a welcome alternative when the popular Maywood market-restaurant is full.

The Coach House Diner & Restaurant, 55 Route 4 east, Hackensack; 201-488-4999. Open 24 hours.

Seafood Gourmet, 103 W. Pleasant Ave., Maywood; 201-843-8558.

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