That Girl With A Blog











{October 15, 2009}   CJ’s Bistro – Carnegie, PA

So another new business has opened in Carnegie! That’s always such an exciting time. In the lot that used to be Pizza Hut on Washington Avenue, now sits CJ’s Bistro.

Honestly, this place is so new and so small, I have no pictures for you, no website, no anything!

From the outside, it looks much the same, and even on the inside as well. It looks just like the dilapidated Pizza Hut that once was, down to the very same recycled, mismatched booths, tables, and chairs on the inside. It’s not uncomfortable really, it’s just…odd. The layout is just so strange and for the lack of a better term, lame. This place really has nothing to draw you in aesthetically…

…but the food is fucking spectacular!!!

Holy shit. We went there last night with Casey. They have a rather large menu actually, but it’s specifically broken down into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the times that those choices are available. It was a bummer that they didn’t have the full menu (there’s a scrumptious looking Italian press sandwich on the lunch menu), but I got the chicken parm, a salad, and roasted red potatoes. Adam got the pork chops, a salad, and the mixed vegetables. And Casey got the pistachio encrusted bass, a salad and roasted red potatoes. We also got the quesadillas for an appetizer and the creme brulee for dessert.

Everything was spectacular! The quesadillas were simple, just cheese but it came with fresh pico, sour cream, and lettuce. The boys dinners looked great, but my chicken parm kicked some serious ass. Just the right amount of seasonings and fantastic sauce. Not too thin, either! Usually, I’m rather wary of other people’s sauce. The roasted red potatoes were perfect, and slathered in some sort of cheesy sauce. I’m totally not that into cheese, but these were spectacular!

This place just adds something special to everything and it’s all just so fresh. The guys had their homemade honey lime dressing (while I copped out and had ranch), apparently it was delicious. Their mixed vegetables include green and red peppers, onions, and zucchini. A far cry from the carrots, corn, and green beans that you find in most standard mixed vegetables. And even the salads…just your basic dinner salads, but when they’re that fresh, it really makes a difference.

The creme brulee was magnificent, and plenty enough to split with three people! The custard part was the perfect consistency…just sturdy enough, not too runny. And so, so very rich.

The service was great. It’s also not like they were busy, but our waitress was attentive without hovering over us, drinks were filled promptly, and the price! Perfect! For three people, including an appetizer and dessert, it was just over $40! You really can’t beat that, especially considering everything else.

This is one place that I can seriously say that I’m excited about. It’s always nice to see new businesses in the neighborhood, especially ones that you can see thriving. My only reccomendations for them would be the spruce the place up a little. And perhaps, allow BYOB. For the brief time that Carnegie had a Nicaraguan restaurant, they were BYOB, so perhaps CJ’s could, too. And hell, at least it’s easier than getting a liquor license. On the other hand, I kinda want to have the place all to myself, you know? Another little hidden gem of Carnegie. Some place that looks like a complete shit hole outside, but you know the secret of all the delicious goodness waiting for you inside.

Through the past few years, Talotta’s has been my not-so-hidden gem of Carnegie, but the quality has dropped and the prices have risen. I could easily see CJ’s becoming my new, local, good food staple.

And you know what? I did decide that I don’t give a shit what the place looks like. A!

And since I had no images for you…have this:



AlmightyMooX says:

My 2 cents:

After reading reviews and driving by nearly daily, I decided to stop in one night for dinner. What I expected based on the reviews: a clean, local place with fresh food and reasonable prices. What I got: an establishment that appeared to be fledgling and cutting corners to save a buck.

The clientele was older, think Night of the Living Dead older, but I never hold that against a joint solely. It can skew the perception of a quality meal, but on the other hand, it could also mean that the modern crowd simply overlooked the place. Unfortunately, my conclusion at the end of the evening was that it was not overlooked, but left behind to slowly perish, with its regular clientele.
I understand the importance of portioning, and food cost, but if there was a financial corner to be cut, it was. The general portioning was small, too small for the price. The chicken breasts both myself (different styles) and my companion had were less than 3oz, at best. Again, I’m NOT expecting two to eat for the price of one, but an entree that was starter sized is not a great first impression. Garnish items were limited. The salad was iceberg and tomato. My companion’s dinner had all of three sun-dried tomatoes adorning a full chicken entree. Our starter, the calamari, was the best part of the meal, not because it exceeded expectations, but fell in line at the right price for value mark.

The food was average, with no noted high spots, nor low spots, other than the feeling of getting a lot less than you are paying for. There are other local places that will provide the same, often better experience for more value.

The service was good, the family that owns the place is working both sides of the house. One round of soft drinks was refilled by grandma, with infant in one arm. It was quaint, and all were friendly.
I’d go back and give a second look, but only if YOU’RE picking up the tab. My dime will be invested elsewhere, for now.



First of all I thought the food was amazing. I had the chicken skewers and they were amazing, so tender and juicy and the sauce they used was excellent. The lime dressing they use on the salad is kick ass, I told them they should bottle it and sell it, it is that great. I have been there a few times and the chicken marsala is out of this world, the mushrooms and sauce is all fresh. My husband had the Steak Diane and he said it was fabulous. The portions are great, you get bread and a dipping sauce which is really good, a salad and a side plus your entree. You can’t beat the price and the quality of the food is excellent. You can also BYOB, have a nice night out and not cost a fortune. EXCELLENT I would recommend it to everyone.



Sammy says:

You guys are right the food is great the pricing perfect so i guess that brandon and his friend are just asses with computers they have personal issues we really think he is mental but one persons point of view it a lie but his point of view so try it for your self you will enjoy it .Back under the rock brandon lol



Sammy says:

It’s not often you see people crawl from under their roc



Dakota says:

Ok, well apparently some people have their heads up their asses b/c I personally went there to find out about things for myself. They do not even have beets in the restaurant!! The chicken skewers ROCKED! I use Smucker’s natural peanut butter at home & guess what? It clearly states on the label that oil is natural in REAL peanut butter! Maybe you just got accustomed to eating fake food & went into shock (excuse me, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after eating FRESH, REAL food? The skewers were incredibly tasty & made fresh just for me. Apparently the Chef cooks everything fresh, made to order! The prices can’t be beat for this kind of quality.

I strongly encourage people who have a mind OF THEIR OWN to go try the food & actually enjoy a FRESH homemade meal like Mom’s for an incredibly reasonable price WITHOUT feeling raped as you do at most places!

You can enjoy a huge piece of Prime Rib for under $20 that would normally cost $50 or More at any other restaurant.

I seriously question the negativity of the few people who put CJ’s down, let your taste buds & your own mind DECIDE for yourself! I’d bet everything that you WILL enjoy anything you order there! I’ve tried about 7 different dishes, EACH & EVERY one were ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!! I also tried the Shrimp & Scallop Sabrina, for $10 I will surely enjoy it again! WHERE can anyone go for a salad, fresh bread & freshly made Pesto dipping sauce AND have an Entree for ONLY $10? Nowhere besides here that I’m aware of! I even overheard other customers’ saying this restaurant should be in NYC, the food IS THAT GOOD!

I must admit, that girl w/the blog is RIGHT ON on this one! Kudos to you!

PS. I asked to speak to the Manager, they don’t have one, never did & still don’t. Maybe this person is talking to his/her other personalities…?



Well, thanks! And I do believe they make everything fresh, and I’m pretty sure that’s the reason you can only get certain dishes at certain times. That’s the only thing that bugged me…sometimes I want a burger for dinner, ya know!?

Thanks for stopping by!



THO92 says:

I thought it was wonderful!



BJ says:

Ok, now you gotta try this China Dragon restaurant on RT. 60. Its near Bronze hood..there is a laundromat in front. This is a hidden gem. Its a regular restaurant with karaoke on mondays…i think they still do it. The food is super good!



BJ says:

I like Brandon..he is feisty. Yes Amanda when our funds get better we will go there. Apparently there is a person I know who claims she works there and makes like $120.00 a day in tips. I beg to differ, however, the proof is in the pudding.



Haha, he sure is.
I’m kinda sad that this debate stopped.

That does seem way too high for tips in that place, but if that’s honestly what she’s getting, more power to her!



BJ says:

Please excuse the typos below …I’m a bit under the weather and it is 4.53 am and I am sleepy….



I forgot about the pesto all together! That shit was amazing.
And yes, I do wanna go there sometime with you!
You just lemme know when. I’m ultra poor this week (Halloween parties will do that to you), but sometime soon!



BJ says:

I actually have eaten there two times and was impressed by the food both times. The first time we went we had the early bird special Scallops and Shrimp Sabrina w/ Lemon butter sauce and it was really good. The portion was rather small but you got a house salad, which was actually mixed greens with tomatoes. You also got italian bread with pesto dipping sauce. Almost forgot, I also had seafood corn chowder which was full of seafood. The side was mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes. I do not like sweet potatoes in any way shape or form..until I tried these. they were delicious! This was a 2 for $20.00 deal and well worth it. The second time we went we ordered off the regular menu. I ate fettucinne alfredo with scallops, shrimp, cod and salmon. They were out of salmon, but I don’t like it anywasy so I was fine. I had enought food right there for 3 full sittings! It was rich and creamy, presentation was great! This time the salad was simply iceberg lettuce, cucumber and the lime dressing which was delicious no matter what anyone says….questioning “oil” in salad dressing??? Really? Think about it……it is a given silly! We also had the chicken skewers which had an asian flair. The peanut sause was in fact peanut butter with oil, but that is how it is supposed to be..ever has cold sesame noodles? Pan Dok Peanut sauce?? It also had a side of this green seaweed type salad that was crunchy and really good. I wished I would have asked for a monkey dish of it on the isde extra it was that good. Bread service once again was a nice touch. If you have PTSD from walking in the Pizza Hut building then I suggest you just keep ordering bad pizza from Fox’s and save yourself the automatic “this is going to suck” mentality. I suggest you try it again and then decide. Hey Girl with a Blog..wanna have dinner there sometime????



Brandon S says:

Ok I get where you are coming from, HOWEVER I see there’s a bit of some problems with your little answer here.

I’m a law student studying to pass my bar and last time I checked PSTD (for those who ARENT familiar is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is most common is rape victims. In today’s understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD,) people who have been in a war, or who have witnessed or otherwise been exposed to an event that caused them trauma (such as rape or murder), may go on to develop PTSD
I mean hey I can clearly see where you may have thought that I was raped by the appearance and also because of the taste let alone my pocket when the bill came. My appetite flew south when I saw that the dish they were trying to accomplish was Chicken Satay (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/chicken-satay-with-peanut-sauce-recipe/index.html) there’s a link for those interested. I should have taken a picture to show you what mine food was presented like. You could see the fatty oil (and no it wasn’t EVOO, it was too thick and heavy) just sitting on top not even mixed through.
Next, I’ll go more in depth with your reference to PSTD, which I never recall stating that I had a stress disorder from Pizza Hut. I think anything grown inorganically is rotten for your body but who am I to say so I’ll say that I expected to walk in and it be set up like a Pizza Hut – and it was. I thought that in today’s society, we were all about making a name for ourselves, individualizing our ideas to make us stand out amongst competition. Well, news flash I don’t see anyone making reservations or standing in the parking lot waiting for their name to be called to be seated. I mean they have the same glasses that pizza hut used. I was always told never to drink beer out of a plastic cup, and I never did, even at the numerous frat parties that I went to. This restaurant basically took the pizza hut off, marquee their name on some plastic used Wal-Mart string to tie it to Home Depot installed poles and you have yourself a fancy new sign.
As for ordering fish in this environment – one word – NEVER! I don’t eat fish that I prepare because it’s such a delectable dish that anyone with a neurotransmitter and taste buds can understand you wouldn’t buy fresh cooked lobster where they sell boiled peanuts. Hey maybe that’s where they got the idea for the peanut sauce. I would rather inject egg whites into my liver to get myself sick or have Munchausen’s disease. (again for those people who don’t know – that’s a disease when you feel the need to think you are sick when you really aren’t – kind of like hypochondria) but I would never subject myself to eating fish from that place. I’m not telling you to eat there but last time I checked my friend Jill and I wrote and now it’s getting this restaurants reviews in an uproar on the message boards. Where were you the three months that this went without a post? Feel a little self conscious, feel the need to try and redeem the name when you were surfing on the web at 4 am? Well regardless, I think that you have actually been masked by the audacity this restaurant has made of the area. I mean even looking at the menu you could see that it was still from Pizza hut. Print out papers staple them together if your marketing team is low on funds. By the way, don’t comment about that. I know that they don’t have a marketing dept.

Lastly I want to touch on the “oil” in the salad dressing. I am VERY well aware that it is used as a base for most salad dressings. I’m not ignorant. I’m not stupid. I think you completely have no idea what you are talking about or when you read what I had to write. And I quote “what dressing will you be having with your foliage today?”They recommended the lime oil, it was a house dressing that was “great” and I am going to “love it” Well I can take the same things that they did and make some bullshit concoction and pass it off as dog treats.
Unless you have a need to get ulcers in your stomach or have pancreatitis from going home and washing it all down with at least a case of beer I wouldn’t recommend visiting this establishment. Your inability to comprehend even what I am stating means that you aren’t really reading you are looking for a reason to fight. I’m not that person, you won’t win, so go have ribs for lunch – it’s what I did, and then threw up the chicken skewers with Peanut Heaven Sauce on it. I guess this could be the new bullemia?



So, what did the waitress reply when you told her you didn’t like the dressing? Or anything for that matter?



Dakota says:

Ok, well I thoroughly enjoyed another delicious meal here & really can’t believe this guy/girl? Brandon has the audacity to talk down on this place! They don’t serve beer so where are you pulling the ‘plastic cups’ from? Your car? They do however allow you to BYOB, which in THIS economy is music to MY ears!! Personally I don’t like spending $40 on a bottle of wine that I know costs $12.00 in the liquor store! I applaude them for allowing us to bring our own poison & NOT charge a cork fee to enjoy it!

My question to you is if you ‘claim’ to have used the same drinking glasses 20 years ago & are JUST NOW trying to pass your Bar exam? How OLD are you buddy? Really now.
The only bar you’ll ever pass is Rocky’s!

I see how you are so vehemently trying to ‘defend’ your ‘self proclaimed’ intelligence by professing you are NOT stupid & NOT ignorant but you refer to the salad dressing w/a base of lime oil. Well, lime oil is an essential oil, an esoteric oil which you’ve apparently been sniffing a lil too much of in your aromatherapy class! Unless you are referring the lime oil used to ‘infuse’ food? But hell, if they could afford to use that ingredient @ $5.00 an ounce, they really do belong in Manhattan where the New Yorkers would truly appreciate the extensive & incredible MENU! Get your facts straight before ‘attempting’ to appear so damn knowledgelable on something you haven’t the foggiest idea about jackass!

I think the town needs a place like this, a restaurant where you truly get a value for your hard earned money! They brought a great concept to the area & I’m a huge fan of the food, I’ll be back & will continue to tell everyone I know about it too!

Unfortunately Brandon, some sperm really does deserve to go down the shower drain… too bad your parents didn’t realize this b/c they could’ve spared a lot of people the misery you attempt to emit to the universe. Knowledge is power & until everyone tries this place, they won’t know what they’re missing out on!!

I’d bet you they’d give you a money back guarantee on their food, b/c they are that good!



Oh sweet! They do BYOB, now? That was one of the only things I thought they should really get on. I have to admit that it’s been a while since I made it over there!



Brandon Sutherland says:

Okay, so Im a bit confused. I was traversing my way through Carnegie, stopped to get gas and talked with a guy who “drives to carnegie to work at a gas station” so he didnt know where to eat. Great I thought. More people with lack of knowledge. Your description is accurate of the surroundings. It’s an old Pizza Hut. I always had to shit when it came to Pizza Hut, so naturally the feelings came back.

The one thing that I must disagree on was the taste of food. It was fucking terrible. I ordered a house salad but because I don’t have a fascination with vegetables I said just lettuce some beets and cheese. I was brought a plate of lettuce, and sprinkle cheese like you would put on pizza or chicken parm. I asked the waitress for some shredded AMERICAN cheese she said…. Mozzarella? I said lemme make it easier, YELLOW cheese. I’m still waiting on the cheese. Next, the dressing that was supposed to be “amazing and wonderful” – their lime dressing…. was nothing more than EVOO and some squeezed lime juice. What a complete assault on my taste palate. And on my pocketbook.

I looked at the check when it came. I had a plate of lettuce that I was charged 4.95 for. Next I got Chicken Skewers that were nothing more than Chicken tenders that were on a stick. The “manager” kept saying “good good thats great”, and “its amazing” but I found the food less than even edible for my dog. The “peanut sauce that came with it again, made me wanna gag. I looked at my friend Jill and said he took some Peanut Butter and put oil in it and mixed it and called it a “sauce” I really truly think that their intentions were good but I saw a lot of empty faces and full plates when I left. It made my friend sick and I feel bad for the people who waste their money there.

Im sorry that I dont share the same insight, but maybe you were at the Olive Garden and wanted to say it was CJ’s Bistro food.



Oh no, you guys! That sucks.
I’m certainly no foodie, but I though it was okay.
Thanks for sharing your experience!



Jillian says:

I ate at this place a few weeks ago during its “grand opening” … It was terrible! My friend Brandon and I would have to state it was the most terrible food… The peanut sauce which is peanut butter and oil YUCK and the lime dressing which consists of Lime juice and Oil YUCK…. I have eaten in major cities and small towns and that place has no business being in any of them!



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