As most of you know, the majority of my reviews on EatMeCalifornia are positive ones. After all, we want to promote local businesses that have great food, great service and all the things that make a meal memorable. CJ’s had none of that. In fact, when scouring my experience for positive things to say, I only found two. First, CJ’s serves barbeque. Second, their spicy barbeque sauce is really good. Unfortunately, they don’t serve anything that I’d like to put the aforementioned sauce on.
I didn’t take a picture of the front of this place, mostly because I don’t want you guys to go there. Here’s why…I was totally in the mood for barbeque, so I take full responsibility for dragging Mikey into this. We went in with the best of intentions, but soon realized that the owner, or at least the guy I assumed was the owner, could care less if we ate in his restaurant. If I hadn’t been so hungry, we might have left. Instead, we got some good material for the site.
CJ’s Barbeque – On Victoria Avenue, Oxnard
As I stepped to the counter to order, I immediately felt like I was inconveniencing the owner. Not a good way to feel when you’re about to shell out hard earned bucks for a meal. I ordered the CJ’s Special Burger, which sounded really good. The gentleman behind the counter then asked me what I wanted for a side. I had just assumed that it came with fries, so I went ahead and asked him what my options were. Instead of telling me, he proceeded to give me the slow turn + exaggerated point to the menu. Now, I’m a pretty easy going guy, but when you treat me like I’m retarded I’m probably going to take notice. I bit my tongue and decided to try the mac and cheese with my burger. Mikey got the tri-tip with potato salad and berry cobbler.
This is the kind of place where you order at the counter and they bring it out to you. I realize that you don’t tip the waitresses at restaurants like this, but usually they are still cordial when they bring the food around. In this case, the girl who brought our meals was surly and basically dropped our plates on the table and walked away. Strike two, CJ’s. Strike two.
The burger itself was fine. It had two patties, pastrami, bacon, swiss and cheddar cheese and a nice bbq sauce over the top. Unfortunately, the bottom part where the lettuce, tomato and onion resided, was coated with some kind of mayo-thousand island blend. I don’t ever think that a burger should have more than one sauce, especially one that isn’t listed on the menu. BBQ or mayo is fine, but not both. Also, there was a salad sized portion of lettuce on the burger. I ended up taking most of it off and using it to scrape away the excess mayo. The beef was tasty, as were the bacon and cheese. The pastrami, however, was too thick and had a lot of gristle. It didn’t add anything to the burger at all.
The mac and cheese was gross. You can tell from the picture that it was scooped out of a huge tray because you can see the cheesy top part clinging to the side of the dish. It was bland, unseasoned and all the table salt in the world couldn’t save it. I wish I would’ve just gotten fries. That’s what I get for being adventurous.
Mikey’s tri-tip was pretty good except for the one piece that was overcooked, but his sides were, if possible, worse than mine. I want to start there because Mikey has been sick as a dog today and we’re pretty sure the potato salad is the culprit. It had an obscene amount of mayonnaise, so much so that I wouldn’t even try it. Thank god I didn’t because I’m fine today and it’s the only thing on his plate that I didn’t try. The “berry cobbler” was a soupy concoction that reminded me of blueberry pie filling, except the blueberries were the pea sized, canned variety that you get with store-bought pack of blueberry muffin mix. As you can also see in the photo, the crust was non-existent and there was no way that I would have ever had the balls to call this thing a cobbler.
I don’t feel bad about writing this honest review of CJ’s barbeque because I honestly don’t think the owner gives a damn about what his customers think. Most of the restaurants we review bend over backward for their patrons. In this case, it felt like he had a sense of entitlement. Maybe if the food had been on the other side of average, it would have been justified. But it wasn’t, and I wasn’t in the mood to be treated like a moron. We don’t really do a review system like zagat’s, but if we did… Two thumbs down, 0 stars, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. In fact, I want my money back.