New Heritage Diner


Visited Friday, July 13, 2018
Location: 80 River Street, Hackensack, NJ
Hours: Open 24 hours

Just a block from the Bergen County Courthouse, the New Heritage Diner is one of several diners in the heart of Hackensack. At a glance, it easily passes as just the Heritage Diner, both because “New” is hidden sneakily in the corner of the sign and because there’s nothing new-looking about it. Heritage has a quaint, unfussy style, inside and out, with friendly service to match.

BUD

DAN

Main Dish

Meat Lover’s Omelet

I did it, everyone. I finally did it. This is a blog about diners, and I finally ordered breakfast—at dinnertime. We’ve reached an important milestone here.

The eternal dilemma is that I have a sweet tooth and love a good chocolate chip pancake or Belgian waffle a la mode, but that ruins dessert. I can handle only so much sweetness in a single sitting. (It’s a miracle I’ve lasted this long with Dan.) So, I kept it savory with a meat lover’s omelet. Three eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, peppers, onions, and cheddar jack. I hear people mention how they prefer an omelet fluffy, as if it should be a big cushiony mound like scrambled eggs, but I like when it’s a little denser and more substantial. And they didn’t skimp on the meat—the chunks are sizable and generously portioned.

Also, I liked the toast a lot. It’s hard to mess up toast, I know. (I’d say it’s impossible but I’ve definitely done it myself.)

Main Dish

Smoked Burger

This burger was very similar to the burger I got last week, but not quite as good.

The smoked burger is a half-pound burger with smoked mozzarella, fried onions, and roasted pepper mayo. I obviously substituted the smoked mozzarella with fresh because smoked has a funky taste and smells like grandma feet.

I’ve come to find that mozzarella and fried onions are now my favorite burger toppings. May I suggest next time you come across this offering in a menu you jump on the opportunity to take your tastebuds on a trip to Flavortown, USA(™).

Alongside this dynamic duo was the pepper mayo, which was quite lovely. A little bite of pepper, but subdued with the mayo base so it wasn’t too spicy for my very VERY white self.

Great burger, but like I mentioned, not the best mozzarella/onion burger I’ve had. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but it didn’t knock my socks off…just kinda slid them down to my toes. Regardless, if you’re at Heritage and looking for some American meat with some Italian cheese, well tough luck, I’m not on the menu! But the smoked burger would be an excellent choice for you.

Fries

Home fries count as fries, right? Heritage executed them were perfect competence, but they were nothing special. My primary complaints are likely due to personal preference: I wish there were larger pieces of potato, and I wish they were cooked to more of a crisp. Not French-fry-crispy, but dark enough that some of the pieces were more crunchy and less mushy.

Fries

Heritage Diner doesn’t have waffle fries, offering curly fries instead. I don’t love curly fries. Honestly, I feel like they’re difficulty shaped for dipping into your fry condiment of choice. I’m talking those widely curled ones, not the nice, slinky-like ones.

I opted for the classic fries instead of curly, and they were pretty good. Thinner than I’m used to for diner fries. Very crispy, which is not my preference, but I can’t ding them on this. I love soggy fries, but as I’ve been told, this is not standard. After eating my burger, though, the fries did sog up enough for me to finally eat, and they were nice. Good texture, and the honey mustard was very good.

Nothing about these fries stood out though. A very standard diner-fry experience.

Dessert

Chocolate Cheesecake

Dan and I are usually confident enough in our tastes to choose main dishes on our own, but we frequently defer to the diner staff when choosing a dessert. This time, we’d narrowed it to strawberry cheesecake (wow super original) or chocolate cheesecake. We made this sacred pact: if the chocolate cheesecake is actually chocolate—that is, not just chocolate-frosted or chocolate-dipped—then we’d go that direction. Our waitress (lovely woman) confirmed that the cake itself is chocolate flavored, and the rest is history.

This, in my opinion, is a chocolate dessert done correctly. Chit Chat’s big fat chocolate cake was fine for what it was, but every bite was like getting punched in the face by a chocolate-coated boxing glove. The chocolate cheesecake here had nuance and variety in texture and flavor. The chocolate flavor in the cake layer was tempered by the slightly sour cream cheese note, and each forkful contained a bite of the creamy cheesecake, a thin slice of spongy cake, and a topping of smooth fudgy frosting. The chocolate chips at the end made it better still. I’m not enough of a Chocolate Gentleman to really appreciate it (sorry, Chocolate Lady), but I didn’t regret ordering it.

Dessert

Chocolate Cheesecake

Bud and I have been scorned every time we’ve tried a chocolate cheesecake in the past. Our past attempts have seen regular cheesecake dipped in chocolate, or regular cheesecake with a layer of mousse and fondant on top. What we’ve been searching for all this time, though, is something Heritage was able to provide.

What our cake ended up being was exactly what we were looking for—the cheesecake portion WAS CHOCOLATE. On top of this, of course, was more chocolate, in the form of chocolate chips on the top, and ganache on the outside.

I gotta be honest, I didn’t love it. I had these crazy high expectations but the experience fell flat. The texture said mousse but the aftertaste said cheesecake. Also, I think this was one of those no-bake cheesecakes, and you can see the parts that the original cheesecake didn’t blend well enough with the chocolate mixture. It also tasted different from the traditional baked cheesecake and not in a good way.

Sweet waitress lady, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I lied to you and told you I loved it…i just wanted you to like me.

Service

Two of our dining companions (hi mom, hi dad) frequent Heritage, and a lot of the waitstaff knows them by name (if their names are Cat Lady and Guy Who Likes Unsweetened Iced Tea). I think that was the case with Maryann, our waiter: if she wasn’t already familiar with my parents, she at least seemed like it. She was great all around, in fact—patient with our unfunny jokes, knowledgeable about the menu, quick with the food and the check.

Service

You can tell that this is the kinda place that recognizes and appreciates their regulars, and I am all about that. Bud’s dad frequents this diner every so often, from what I understand, and the waitress was joking around with him like they were old pals. It was very cute. She was absolutely delightful and did one of my favorite things that diner waitresses do: call me “dear.” It is just the sweetest thing. She couldn’t have been nicer and was incredibly personable. Perhaps my favorite waiter/waitress experience since we started the blog.

Value

My omelet weighed in at $10.50, which at first glance looked steep—but considering that it’s really a big plate of protein, it’s not an awful deal, especially with home fries and toast tossed in. The cheesecake, at $5 a slice, doesn’t quite match up to a deal like State Line (and I’m beginning to think nothing ever will), but it’s still a fine price.

Value

Prices here are not bad at all. Heritage is very unpretentious and prices their food accordingly. They’re not charging for soda refills or $15 for a burger. My burger was one of those “gets its own page because it’s fancy” burgers, and it was priced just slightly more than the average burger deluxe without any of the fancy accoutrements this one had. The desserts were fairly priced as well, in my opinion.

Ambience

I’ve seen a trend lately of many diners renovating into a sort of high-class aesthetic, with moody lighting and shiny granite floors. It’s more modern, maybe, but it loses some of the diner charm. Heritage looks the same as I’ve always remembered it, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s familiar and unfancy, like grandma’s house. I never use the salad bar, but the fact that it’s still there is comforting and helps me sleep better at night.

Ambience

This is a very subdued diner. You’re not going to see any excessive chrome accents, neon lights, or murals of Cadillacs bursting out of the wall here.

That being said, it’s still cute and cozy, if a bit tiny. When I went in and asked for a table for seven, it almost looked like the hostess didn’t know how to handle the situation. If you’re, let’s say, going with your beloved boyfriend, I’d say go for it. But if you plan on going with your boyfriend, his brother, both his parents, your sister, and her boyfriend, hypothetically…prepare for a kinda awkward seating arrangement and a very uncomfortable interaction with the hostess.

OVERALL

If I had to summarize Heritage in a word, it’s “satisfactory.” Nothing about my experiences there has ever knocked my socks off, but I also don’t ever recall a bad meal, an unfriendly waiter, or an outrageous check. And, my parents go to Heritage all the time despite that there must be ten diners closer, so that says something.

OVERALL

Overall, I’d compare this diner to your favorite pair of mom jeans (don’t act like you don’t have those, ladies!). Like those beloved jeans, it’s unsexy, no frills, and not something you’d want in any fancy night out. Also like those jeans, it’s cozy, it’s familiar, it’s good quality and always make you feel good.

Heritage is a very no-frills diner, but they still manage to deliver good quality food, and, from what I can tell, have a staff full of pleasant waiters. This is certainly not the first visit to Heritage Diner, and will be far from our last.

Edit: I’ve just been informed that it’s not the JEANS that make me unsexy, it’s the fact that my face looks like a foot.

 

Tags: , ,

5 Replies to “New Heritage Diner”

  1. Yes, the waitress recognized us. If I have any complaint, it is that she is too nice. The place doesn’t knock my socks off either, but it is “old reliable” – we always know what to expect when we go there. Ok, seating was awkward but we managed.

  2. I appreciate the differing takes on the cheesecake – having ordered it as well: I sit somewhere in the middle. Granted, my attention was not as focused as your expertly honed scrutinies due to my expeditious quaffing of 2 Heinekens; however, the availability of a good imported brew (or any alcohol) is where a diner always gets an A+ rating from me.

    1. I don’t know about you, Bud, but I sure wish this alcoholic plumber would stop following us around to every diner we go to.

      1. Say what you want about Zeke, but I welcome his insightful remarks about our diner travels, even if he is a creep.

  3. I definitely have to side with Buddy here on dessert. That chocolate cheesecake looks like it would definitely get the coveted Chocolate Lady Approval (TM). I have a logo to mark this approval, but it’s hard to transfer it into a comment like this. Picture me, as Lady Godiva, riding a horse in the nude, giving a thumbs up.

    You’re welcome.

Leave a Reply to The Chocolate Lady Cancel reply