Long considered the King of New Jersey Diners – no small status in America’s most diner-rich state – Tick Tock renovated several years ago and assumed a stylish silver disco-moderne look. Thankfully, they kept the outdoor clock and the house motto -- EAT HEAVY -- and the menu still has more listings than the New York Stock Exchange, featuring everything anyone would ever want to eat, from pretty much all over the world.
As at so many diners, breakfast is best. If you’re in the mood for an omelet, you can choose from a few dozen three-eggers, including an Italian (filled with sausage, roasted peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and plenty of melted mozzarella cheese), a Mexican (loaded with enough jalapenos to make you shout “olé!), and a Greek with tomatoes and feta cheese. In the mood for pancakes? There are regular pancakes, but there are also puffy German ones with apple sauce and chocolate chippers that taste like dessert. And, of course, there are jumbo Belgian waffles and extra-thick French toast and muffins bigger than softballs. We like Tick Tock’s cheese blintzes, which are served around a heap of sour cream. They taste fresh-made, not frozen.
At lunch, the choice includes triple-decker clubs, grilled Monte Cristos, and a wide range of hamburger variations that are especially good with “Disco fries,” which are smothered in gravy. Meat loaf is a diner classic: three big slabs of it under a mantle of thick mushroom gravy, served with skin-flecked mashed potatoes and a vegetable du jour in separate dishes. At supper, the number of available broilings of fish, fowl, pork, and beef are nearly incalculable. And there are Italianate parmageanas and fancified fish casseroles, but the supper we like best is simple roasted chicken – a perfect, crisp-skinned bird with falling-off-the-bone tender meat.
It is possible to accompany supper with a well-made New York egg cream, which we find an excellent strategy if you're craving something sweet; for although cakes and pastries are baked on the premises and are spectacular to look at, all of them at least double-size, they are, for us, too gooey, too sweet, too show-offy.
"You can EAT HEAVY round-the-clock at the Tick Tock."
"Chicken pinwheel soup: loaded with pasta and nice, tender hunks of white-meat chicken."
"One serving of Tick Tock meat loaf is enough for at least two big appetites. It's so outsized that there is no room on the very large oval plate for mashed potatoes and carrots. They arrive in their own separate bowls."
"Jane is a blintz connoisseur. She says these are very, very good."
"The Tick Tock was a pioneer in modern silver-sided diner design."