Sunday night my wife, son and I went to Chick and Nello’s Homestead Inn on Kuser Road in Hamilton Twp., NJ to celebrate my son’s birthday. The restaurant is set back off the road in an old farmhouse. The Homestead Inn has been in continuous operation since 1939. The décor inside is plain and simple, very old school, but warm and comfortable.
After being seated, we ordered drinks and the waiter brought us bread and a small plate of roasted banana peppers in olive oil. This was a nice and unexpected treat on the fresh and crusty bread,
As you may or may not know, there are no menus at the Homestead. I find this very annoying, but I guess it’s a tradition and I doubt that they’ll have one anytime soon, so you have to pay attention. Our waiter was very patient with our questions and provided excellent service throughout the evening.
I don’t think the waiter mentioned any appetizers or soups, but I could be wrong since we weren’t interested in either. They have a house salad with vinaigrette and a choice of cheese toppings. I chose the house with bleu cheese. It was simple but very good. The vinaigrette was not too tart and the oil to vinegar ratio was right on the money. My wife chose the string bean salad. She thought it was excellent. My son passed on a salad. They offer a choice of salads with an assortment of roasted vegetables, e.g., asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. You choose one of the vegetables which is then featured in the salad. They also have a baccala salad.
They have a number of different pastas and sauces that you can mix and match. I think the sauces were a marinara, a meat and a special or house. Your can either order the pasta as an entrée or as a smaller side dish. When the latter, you can have it as a second course or served with the entrée. My son and I had pencil points (rigatoni). He chose the house and I the meat sauce. I think we both ended up with marinara, but it was cooked al dente and the sauce was very good. I shared mine with my wife, who also enjoyed it.
My son had the strip steak. It was cooked exactly as he wanted it, Pittsburg medium. He thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a bite and also thought it was excellent. My wife had the chicken cacciatore which was done in a white wine sauce as opposed to the usual tomato based sauce. She enjoyed it, but was slightly disappointed in that she was hoping that it would be a recreation of the white chicken cacciatore prepared by Marsilios restaurant in Trenton some thirty years ago. Unfortunately, it was not, but it was still good. I had the veal tips and mushrooms. The cubed veal was braised with mushrooms in a very thin sauce. My guess is that the braising liquid was simply water which gave it a very clean, refreshing flavor with just a hint of rosemary, a nice change from the heavier stock and butter based sauces.
For desert, my son had a perennial favorite of his, the peanut butter ice cream from the Artic Ice Cream Co. of Trenton, NJ. My wife had the tartufo that we shared. It was excellent. My guess is that it was also from Artic. We finished things off with espresso and anisette. They put the bottle of anisette on the table, a nice touch from the old days.
All in all a very enjoyable meal, and at $160.00 including tip, not outrageously expensive. I would definitely recommend that you take a step back in time and try it. I’m looking forward to going back and trying the veal chop which a nearby diner had and looked delicious. I just wish they would reconsider the menus or maybe a website menu but I won’t hold my breath waiting for either.