On one of our too infrequent trips to NJ to visit family and friends, my husband and I decided to celebrate our anniversary by going on a romantic dinner date. Since we wanted to out on a Monday night, we were concerned that our options would be limited. We were delighted to discover that the Inn at Phillip's Mill was open 7 days a week. The pictures online looked charming and so we made our reservation. The person who took our reservation let us know that the restaurant did not accept credit cards and that it was BYOB with no corkage fee. Neither of these was a problem for us.
When we arrived, after a winding scenic drive through the upper outskirts of New Hope -- do be careful because we almost missed the restaurant! -- the Inn was as picturesque inside and out as the pictures on the website promised it to be. The Inn is directly on the road with very little, if any, frontage, very reminiscent of an old European inn. When we stepped inside it was as if we had stepped back in time. The restaurant (with rooms upstairs for an overnight stay) consists of several small intimate rooms beautifully appointed with antiques and filled with Old World charm. The one nod to modernity offered was air conditioning. The evening was beastly hot outside, but we were very comfortable in our air conditioned dining room. Lighting throughout was by candlelight only. For these middle-aged eyes, this could have posed a challenge for menu reading, but our cell phone flashlight apps did the trick -- our one nod to modernity for the evening.
We had two wait staff taking care of us for the evening. Both male servers were attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. My husband and I both ordered starters before our entrees. I ordered a crab salad and my husband a crab cake. When they arrived I was surprised by the size of my portion. Not only were the greens themselves fresh and excellent, but the amount of succulent crab meat was very generous. The dressing was also excellent and was neither overpowering nor too sparingly applied, two problems I have often encountered with kitchen dressed salads. I tasted my husband's crab cake, which he was clearly enjoying. It, too, was loaded with actual crab meat instead of a bunch of filler, wonderfully seasoned, and topped with an excellent remoulade.
For our entrees, I ordered herb encrusted lamb chops and my husband chose the coquille St. Jacques. My lamb chops were prepared exactly as I had ordered, medium rare. They were moist, flavorful, the crust delicious, and I looked forward to every bite I took. As to my husband's main course, scallops can easily be ruined by either under or overcooking. But my husband said his were perfect. Our accompanying fresh seasonal vegetables were also beautifully prepared and presented.
Though we don't often order dessert, everything was so wonderful and the evening so lovely, that we decided to splurge and each order a different dessert. I chose an apple walnut cake that we both thought was exceptional. My husband actually exclaimed "wow" on his first bite. My husband chose a fresh ginger cake which the server had recommended as a house favorite. I am not a fan of ginger myself and would not normally have tried anything with ginger in it. But my husband said that it was so divine that I really should just give it a taste. I had to admit that it was extremely moist and delicious, even for this avowed non-ginger lover. One bite was not even enough for me!
We took our time with our meal, lingering over our coffee and dessert and never felt rushed by our servers. Our bill for this extraordinary 3 course French fine dining experience came to a little over $100. We considered this a bargain for both the food quality and the atmosphere and money well spent.
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