Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Saddle River Inn

Final Grade: A
            If there was a picture next to romantic in the dictionary, it would be undoubtedly be one of The Saddle River Inn. This space, hands down, was the most charming and quaint place I have ever dined at. Better yet, it’s the most magical place I’ve ever been to, period. Nestled off a busy road, the barn-like venue not only transports you to la-la land but hits you with a 1-2 culinary punch.
            After being thoroughly impressed by Bergen County’s first offering to us, Cafe Panache, we had no excuse but to try another reputable establishment in the area. Not to mention, it was our two year anniversary and I, no way, was going to cook for that one. And so, we took a recommendation from our seasoned source and trucked it up the GSP for an 8:00 reservation.
            From the moment we arrived, we were in awe. The dining room is, as mentioned earlier, like a barn. Now this might sound somewhat anti-romantic, but just picture an enlarged log cabin, cozy wooden upholstered chairs, oversized fireplace, and ornate chandeliers overhead. Que the classical please! Simply dreamy in both obvious and unassuming ways.

                                                          And the food? Top notch. We started with their signature Sesame Crusted Shrimp ($15) and Cannelloni ($10). The shrimp were presented elegantly yet were robust in flavor. The accompanying curry sauce was smoky and deep, which made for a welcome addition of the sweet pineapple confit. Although the seafood app was delicious, the cannelloni won the first round for sure. Piping hot and bubbling over with blistered cheese, this Italian favorite had us at first waft. The tightly wound roll had markings of perfection everywhere: al dente pasta sheets, freshly simmered marinara, creamy duo of cheeses and hearty beef crumbles. My only complaint would be the minimal size, so be warned- this is not a choice to share.

            Dinners were well received and exemplified additional technique and care from the kitchen. I went with the Lamb Tenderloin ($36) while the Mr. went with the Pekin Duck Breast ($32).  My meat was seared beautifully and remarkably tender. The gnocchi surrounding the lamb would leave most wanting more; one because they were great and two because the plate contained a mere 5! Five gnocchi? I have two words for that: not cool. The duck was dynamite and fortunately had more to offer in the starch department. The sweet potato crepe was exceptional with its velvety texture and crispy edges. Not to be overlooked was the black peppercorn sauce that hovered perfectly between subtle and striking. A true testament to the talent behind the tables.
            As with any celebratory dinner, we found room for dessert. The apple tart was simple enough to satisfy our sweet tooth yet light enough to let us fully enjoy. The house made vanilla ice cream was a treat indeed which was apparent from our fork fight over it!
            The wait staff was impeccable. Not even one moment passed where we had to question or remark about a thing. They had the knowledge, experience, and demeanor that made us feel like royalty. Which I guess is quite fitting as the occasion was our Wedding and I truly got my Prince Charming that day…xo

The Saddle River Inn is located at 2 Barnstable Court, Saddle River, NJ. It is a BYO establishment. More information can be found at .

Total score 23/25

Final Grade: A

A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5

Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful Bride and handsome Groom. I think I was at that wedding. Seem to remember the Bride dancing with her very handsome Grandfather.