Last night I had dinner with the editor-in-chief of NJL at a very popular riverside spot in New Hope, PA. The view was amazing, and that was about it. I arrived a little early so I perused the wine list. It should have been a big red flag when I read the listing for the sparkling wine offered by the glass. The wine was a fine choice but in parentheses next to it read (served in a wine glass). This was a first for me. I thought maybe they don’t have flutes, or were they telling the guests they were getting more for their money with a larger pour? Whatever the reason, I couldn’t help but think this was tacky. After my dinner-mate arrived we each ordered a glass of wine, me white, she red. They came to the table filled to the brim. My initial reaction was –YUK. Again, not the actual wine in the glass but the presentation was a total put off. I laughingly said, “Dinner is poured,” not realizing this indeed would be the only palatable part of the entire experience.
I am not opposed to spending $10/ glass but I don’t want to feel like I am being served bulk wine. Quantity is not quality. I want to sip and swirl, not chug. This is not a treat and you aren’t doing your guests any favors by giving them a whopper of a headache before the first course even arrives. Which brings me to the demise of this dinner. An order of Lobster and Shrimp “Spring Rolls” was actually frozen egg rolls that left puddles of grease on our plates. These were followed by a salad of mesclun, gorgonzola, spicy walnuts, roasted beets and pears which had no mesclun, no gorgonzola, nuts that were barely salted let alone spiced, canned beets, and pears that looked to be boiled, all of which were literally swimming in a soup of unidentifiable dressing. The craziest part was the place was packed, which led me to believe that this once reputable dining establishment has gotten extremely lazy with age and no longer cares to put out good food because it draws the numbers regardless. So heed my warning and stay on the Jersey side of the river if you’re hungry. Our final landing at Deanna’s in Lambertville was the highlight of the night. Here you’ll find true hospitality, a bartender who knows how to pour–thanks Armand!–delicious food, and a vibe that will have you grinning ear to ear.
Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon, $15- This is a great go-to Cab, and after our repulsive pours from the first locale we were delighted to see that this was on the list at Deanna’s. It’s big, rich, red, and juicy as well as affordable, fun, and lively and proves a glass of wine doesn’t need to be overflowing. A little of this big red goes a long way. Cheers to good bar service and those who still believe in hospitality!