Address: 650 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738

Every time I drove by the intersection at Middletown Lincroft and Newman Springs, I would always see these people standing at the corner holding signs that said, “Queso Mexican Grill now open!” I looked into the back of the plaza and, sure enough, a new place had popped up in there. My friend and I ventured over one day during lunch break from work to check it out.

When we first walked in, it was actually a really nice interior. The tables reminded me of Chipotle, and the wall color schemes reminded me of Qdoba. We started walking over to the one end of the counter where it said, “Start Here,” but were then led back to the cash registers at the other end, where apparently would place our orders there (I think they are planning to order menu signs to have it an ordering style more like Chipotle / Qdoba). The menu offered a large variety of options, from burrito bowls to salads to tacos to quesadillas. I opted to go for a barbacoa burrito bowl and my friend went for three of their tacos. When asked what I wanted to drink, I went with a cup of water (the employee asked me if tap water was okay and I said it was fine). He gave us our receipts and we proceeded to sit down at one of the tables, since the food is delivered out to your table. I examined the receipt and saw that I had been “charged for $1.65 for a small soda.”

Wait, what? I specifically asked for water, to which he gave me tap water and he charged me for the cup that it was in? The last time that happened was at a burger place a while back, but “charging for the cup” is a big no-no in my book. When we got our food, I thought that the presentation of the burrito bowl was pretty nice, but there didn’t seem like a whole lot of food in it. I gave it a try and the flavors were just okay. The rice was definitely overcooked and dry (and the bowl itself had more rice than anything else) and the barbacoa was kind of bland. When I brought up the dry rice issue to the guy who rang me up earlier, he simply asked if I had put it on the comment card they provided me with, no apology or anything. It wasn’t exactly the greatest of experiences that I’ve had, and both Chipotle and Qdoba still rank higher for me to get fast casual Mexican food in the area, especially for a bigger portion and a more flavorful meal.

Here are my rankings for Queso Mexican Grill:

Food: 3.5 / 5
Lots of food options, but from my order, the food’s taste was mediocre at best.

Atmosphere: 4 / 5
I thought that the restaurant was really nicely decorated and had a good layout overall. Dining tables all stayed nice and clean.

Service: 3.5 / 5
The cashier that helped me out was really friendly in explaining the entire menu to us when we first walked in. The fact that I received sub-par food and they didn’t take responsibility for it . . . yeah, that doesn’t fly well.

Price: 3 / 5
Definitely not a fan at all for getting charged for water. The prices for the food are on the higher side for the portion you receive (I feel like I get a lot more food when I go to Chipotle or Qdoba and pay the same price).

Overall: 14 / 20 (70%)

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Categories: New Jersey, Restaurants

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