I attended a confirmation party this weekend at the Stage House in Scotch Plains. I arrived to the location a few minutes early and my initial impression was, “Ok I see they were going for economy above quality in picking the location for the party”. It’s a very old and “rustic” look to the place. Not that there is anything wrong with that……but it certainly looked more like a burger place than a sit down dinner place. There is a large bar and courtyard in the back where the parking is located and the way that I entered the restaurant.
There was a sign posted behind the large outside bar which was titled “The 10 Commandment’s of the Free BBQ”………..I read the 10 commandments and it seems they offer unlimited BBQ items for consumption with your drinks (I don’t know the days or times for this promotion or the exact BBQ food served)….the food is FREE……there is NO obligation to pay for any of the food, it is all you can eat. You are requested to pay whatever you feel is appropriate for what you received, in return for which you will receive a gift certificate for use in the formal dining room of the restaurant. Score +1 for a very creative promotion.
I entered the main dining room and rustic is a pretty accurate word for the place. Old wooden floors, I’m sure the original building is of historic nature of some sort, old Stage Coach House or something of that nature. The wood beams are barely passable, I’m 6’4 and I ducked under them. Again, not a place I would likely frequent based on it’s curb appeal. (or lack there of).
There was a limited menu for the party the options were as follows:
Appitizer; Cesar Salad, Onion Soup, Shrimp Tortilla with Avocado, Ravioli
Entrée: Chicken Parm, Salmon, Braised Beef Short Rib
Desert; Molton Cake, Crème Brulee, Brownie Ala mode
I had the Cesar salad, short ribs and crème brulee, all of which were EXCELLENT. I was honestly amazed…..the short ribs were delicious and tender as can be, falling apart with your fork and being able to be cut the same. It was served with mashed potato’s and red cabbage both of which accompanied the dish wonderfully. The crème brulee was light with a perfectly melted, crisp sugary top.
My wife had the shrimp appetizer and the salmon with molton cake desert. The shrimp appetizer didn’t come out as expected by menu description but again it was excellent, as well as her salmon (by her word of mouth I won’t touch that stuff, actually I love raw salmon sushi etc, just can’t stand it cooked, is it just me???). She also gave high marks to the molton cake which she has a fickle sweet tooth to please.
My daughter had the chicken parm which was a HUGE breast…pounded thin but not obnoxiously paper thin. Flavor of sauce was very good as well. Out of the 30+- people at the gathering I didn’t hear one bad thing about the food. Talk about a pleasant surprise, as they say you can’t judge a book by its cover.
The outside courtyard really looks interesting and I wish I found myself in that area more often to make a point of checking it out. They advertise live music and bands so I can easily see this place being a really fun spot to hit. Between my experience with the food in the dining room, combined with the courtyard, band, and BBQ special, really does make this place somewhere I would suggest checking out.