First, allow me to acknowledge CBJ’s complete unbiased attitude. I recently discovered that my ambivalent review of the Sodeco branch has been featured on their website here along with reviews from other Lebanese websites and bloggers. Compared to other reviewees I’ve encountered, that was truly commendable from CBJ’s part. Now, don’t get me wrong, my review wasn’t negative, it was just that I was upset with the Pepsi being 2,500 LBP =P reread it here
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that CBJ, like so many other awesome businesses, is opening in the Northern Suburbs of Beirut. More specifically, in Jal el Dib. I’ve taken the liberty of attaching the map CBJ put on their website, to help you guys get your bearings when you wanna go try it for yourselves.
The chosen venue was very similar to the Sodeco one, with the restaurant not exactly on the main highway, but just around the corner, giving the familiar homy-feel to the place. I was skeptical about the staff, cause as I expected, Teta stayed in Sodeco. However, the Jal el Dib guys were just as courteous and amicable and made us feel comfortable in no time.
The size, tables and seating is also very similar to Sodeco, with the trademark mayonnaise-ketchup-mustard-pickles-and-other-stuff shelves above the kitchen counter on one side, and the hand-painted windows on the opposite side.
What I did not like though was the valet parking. It’s awesome not wasting time searching for a parking spot, but I would’ve preferred having the very vague hope of finding a parking spot in front of the CBJ branch. Given the residential location though, I’d understand how a granny might park their for several months at a time, so the valet parking did not really hinder my dining experience.
One awesome thing that’s different though is that the place is packed, but there was no 30 or 40-minute cue like in Sodeco. It seems not enough people know about the Jal el Dib branch yet, or that the first bout of excitement has passed, with CBJ becoming the familiar favorite you can go to anytime, instead of the must-try craze you need to go to now.
… and they do them good too. I had the mushroom-swiss burger, again, and even though it was tough to handle and I had to cut it in half like a sissy, the burger was sublime. The meat patty was just right and the mushroom sauce was superb. That, combined with the cheese, the delicious burger buns and the trademark CBJ fries made for an exceptional dinner at a reasonable price (unlike similar places that opened later, with an honestly outrageous price tag. Plus, all meat is imported, so, cut the crap posers =P)
This time around though, I had a bottle of water, not Pepsi. I still believe the Pepsi is outrageously priced, but then again, I don’t need the extra calories and diet pepsi tastes like detergent, so you’re probably better off just having water, or maybe an Alamaza.
Verdict: Loved it, closer to where I live, perfect casual place for a good burger and maybe even watching a football game?
Price: Very fair compared to some new competitors
Atmosphere: Busy (but less than Sodeco), non-smoking (huge plus), and very friendly
Staff: Very courteous and friendly
Food: I loved the Swiss-Mushroom burger. The burgers are also extremely customizable, so if the preset menu doesn’t suit you, you can manage coming up with something you’ll like.