Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grain House, Basking Ridge, NJ

Basking Ridge and nearby Bernardsville are among the poshest semi rural suburbs of northern New Jersey. My Mom had a hankering for fish and chips, and good memories of that as served at the Grain House, ye olde restaurant associated with the ye Olde Mill Inn, where Geo. Washington no doubt slept, across a vast parking lot. It was a 25 minute drive to the restaurant along New Jersey's excellent autopista system. Was it worth it? In my opinion, it depends on what you order.

The dining room to which we were ushered was mellow with age, in a good way. There was a chandelier and a fireplace. (A fire was unnecessary on that July day.)

Although our mission was to eat fish and chips, my attention was immediately drawn to the specials card. I approve having the specials printed, along with prices, instead of recited (usually with no prices).

I couldn't imagine eating fish and chips, when a pan roasted red snapper special was available. Moreover, it was only a couple of bucks more than the F&C. While my companions dutifully ordered the F&C, I requested the snapper.

I almost forgot to mention that when I requested the drinks menu, the first item on the list was Pimm's No. 1 Cup, something I'd read about for years, but had never had. So I got it. It was nice. I don't think I'd order it again, but I was grateful for the experience.

Three baskets of F&C and one Snapper Special arrived. The F&C consisted of two largish pieces of heavily battered cod with a pile of oil drenched French Fries underneath. The Tartar and Cocktail Sauce looked good. The "Health Salad", a sweet variant on cole slaw without mayo, was popular. My sister liked the double dip batter coating of the fish, my wife thought it was very poorly made and my Mom was satisfied. (In the end, that's what matters.)

My snapper was nicely cooked, a bit crisp on the bottom, and adequately portioned. The real delight was the beautiful and delicious salad on the side of the platter: arugula, just tender green beans, fingerling potatoes, roasted sweet baby peppers, toasted almonds and tomatoes. The dressing was of lemon juice and olive oil. I was very happy with my choice.

Snapper and salad
Things went downhill with dessert. I am slow to learn that most restaurant desserts are sadly disappointing. Maybe I'll catch on eventually. This one was a nice looking wedge of blueberry streusel pie. Unfortunately, this pretty slice was filled with a dense matrix of overthickened filling. We all three had coffee. It was passable.


Food: ***

Service: **1/2. Service was well meaning but amateurish. Requests were acknowledged but we had to ask several times for items. The bus boys were often more responsive in filling our requests. We were not brought bread until when, late in the meal, I requested it of a bus boy. It came quickly. It was good.

Good bread
Price: $$-$$$ Depends on whether you have drinks and dessert.

Restrooms: Worth a visit. Could be that General Washington left his false teeth in the Men's Room.

Or Washington might have stabled his horse in the loo

225 Route 202, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920,


No comments: