What an excellent meal we had the other nite at this sophisticated establishment in "downtown" Hopewell.
Service was a bit slow, they didn't clear the other tables after people left, but our waiter was friendly and professional and amicable. At one point, everyone ran out of the restaurant to see the "drama" down the street - according to rumor someone held a gun to someone's head, but thankfully it didn't interfere with our dinner. The Hopewell police came to the rescue apparently, because when we left, there was no sign of any disturbance.
The food was excellent - Chef Will definitely knows his stuff and has earned his chops at this restaurant. We started with two excellent appetizers. I had seen the first choice on the web page menu, and was very much looking forward to the dish, and I was not dissappointed. "Bent Spoon" (Princeton's excellent artisanal ice-cream maker) provides Avocado Ice Cream, which the chef dollops on top of an artistic layering of ripe heirloom tomatos, salted and served with a citrus emulsion, corn crisps (fried tortilla strips) and lemon wedges. Ok, the lemon really was sort of pointless, but I'll overlook that he used them for a bit more "height" on the dish.
My companion had the lobster bisque, a favorite dish, and also was impressed with the quality, and the bounty of large chunks of lobster meat in this textbook perfect soup.
For a main course, my companion had a beautiful crab and corn salad, filled with chunks of fresh lump crabmeat.
I chose a daily special of lamb loin, served with mashed sweet potatos, wilted greens, and a red-wine sauce. The sweet potatos were wonderful, hearty, sweet and a perfect hint of the upcoming fall season. The lamb was tender, flavorful and the wilted spinach gave a nice color and offset the sweet flavors of the dish.
I was torn between that entree and a menu item of potato-herb crusted Cod with local swiss chard and corn. I was visualizing the gorgeous bunches of chard at the farm market in nearby Lawrenceville last weekend, as well as the bounty of excellent sweet local corn.
However, I'm glad I chose the lamb dish, and hope it will make an appearance on the menu many more times.
Desserts were excellent. I chose something a bit different than my usual (the Berry Cobbler sounded appealing) and went with warm caramelized pineapple, with a vanilla butter sauce, berry puree, and a scoop of Creme-Fraiche ice cream (menu lists it with coconut sorbet). Wonderful, sublime, and the vanilla butter sauce is a perfect foil for the pineapple. My companion went with a cheesecake, served with fresh berries and whipped cream and velvety smooth.
This is the kind of cuisine you can feel comfortable with, a bit adventurous but well-grounded, and a totally pleasurable dining experience.
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