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saddle river inn


Lima Bean
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Well I'm sad to say that the day has come that I will no longer walk into the Saddle River Inn for dinner. After several years of being a loyal customer, even had our wedding reception there, we had the most disappointing meal there this month. We had limited our attendence to special occasions only, because the menu is stale, the staff is not first rate anymore and the idea of still having to wear jackets and ties is ridiculous.

It was my mother in laws choice for her 70th birthday, so off we went to the SRI all 5 of us and 3 bottles of champaign to celebrate her birthday. We had the second seating of the night and by this time, they were already out of any special (on a sat night at 8pm?), and with limited jumbo lump crab appetizers to "order now" was the suggestion. OK, so I order it, and there was no lump, just strands of crab...the shrimp appetizer, looked over cooked from a frozen selection and only 4 small pieces...heck my chinese resturant gives me more...the entree's were not up to par at all, the meat was just ok, the duck was in the same sauce as the shrimp. Inbetween dinner the waiter kept hitting my chair several times, one of the most annoying things in my opinion, with no apologies at all. We decided to order dessert, which again was limited but the worst thing was that their expresso/cappucino machine was not working. ON A SATURDAY? Desert came with a candle, but is usually free for a special occassion, not this time.

We knew something was wrong and asked if the owner, MR. EGG was in the kitchen and the waiter said, no he had a big wedding and is home drinking his swiss chocolate? What kind of answer was that from what used to be a high class place?

What was even more dissappointing was my mother in law wrote a note siting our dissatisfication and their verbal response and written letter back was that we were liars....no apologies, no....the customer's always right...nothing.

Well that's what they are getting from us, nothing. No glaring reviews, no more visits.

They seem to be catering to the wedding crowd now, and oh by the way, they let "anyone" in the door, no jackets required and we saw several men in just tee shirts.....

Very dissapointing, but not surprised.

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Thank you for sharing...your experience is just not excusable...Sadly, we usually go into NYC for dinner....and certainly for special dinners...we just have been disappointed too many times by poor food, poor service and inexcusably high prices in New Jersey establishments...We live in Essex County and other than a few nice lunch places, no longer have any special places to go here...and I thank you for sharing because that is the ONLY way we can all learn ...Sadly.... :sad::sad:

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We decided to order dessert, which again was limited but the worst thing was that their expresso/cappucino machine was not working. ON A SATURDAY?

i'm confused. should the cappuccino machine have waited until Monday to break? faulting a restaurant for poor service or getting bumped into is one thing, but a broken cappuccino machine on a certain day of the week?

sounds like the SRI's dress code has gone the way of most restaurants'. people just don't wear jackets to dinner much. people don't wear jackets to work much anymore, either. for me, this is a good thing.

Edited by tommy (log)
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Tommy, you, as always make a good point.

Lime Bean wrote "We decided to order dessert, which again was limited". So I went to the SRI web site. This is what was listed for dessert

Meringue

Seasonal berries, heavy cream, ice cream

Duo of Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream

chocolate sauce, almond crunch

Butterscotch Mousse

chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce

Frozen Cappuccino

Passion Fruit Tart

almond crust, coconut gelato

Rice Pudding

raspberry sauce, pineapple confit

Homemade Ice Cream and Sorbet

Seasonal berries, heavy cream, ice cream

Doesn't look limited to me.

I hope to get back to SRI soon and I will post a report. Smily should make his or her own decision also. The menu looks good. Prices are not out of line for this caliber restaurant and a BYO at that.

Viejo

"A dry crust of bread eaten in peace and quiet is better than a feast eaten where everyone argues" Proverbs (17:1).

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assuming all of those desserts were offered on that night, sure, i'd say that's not limited. i read lima's comment as meaning they were out of some things.

echoing viejo's comment, i can't for the life of me imagine why someone would read something negative about a restaurant on the internet and base their choices on that comment. i just can't get my head around that one. 99% of the internet is negative.

Edited by tommy (log)
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Tommy

So what does this mean?

"Well I'm sad to say that the day has come that I will no longer walk into the Saddle River Inn for dinner. After several years of being a loyal customer, even had our wedding reception there, we had the most disappointing meal there this month. We had limited our attendence to special occasions only, because the menu is stale, the staff is not first rate anymore and the idea of still having to wear jackets and ties is ridiculous." Does "oxymoron" come to mind?

Viejo

"A dry crust of bread eaten in peace and quiet is better than a feast eaten where everyone argues" Proverbs (17:1).

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What concerns me the most, is not that they seem to be out of specials or out of desserts or have broken equipment...but a really poor attitude on the part of the management when told about the problems is what would prevent me from going there...clearly this patron was someone no one cared about...and that is NOT OK!!! ...Sorry :sad::sad:

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I went to SRI a few years ago and haven't been back since. The food was passable, service lackluster, and after we paid the check no one noticed our leaving, no one thanked us.

My impression then was that this place devoted itself to its regulars, and that occasional customers get short shrift. I also thought that it was overpriced for the value at the time.

Needless to say, I haven't been back. No plans to ever go back, either.

Just up the road a piece, however, is Citrus Grille. Anyone been there lately?

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Yes, the deserts were limited, not all were available.

And i don't know about you guys, but if I owned a resturant and my coffee machine wasn't working, I'd go out and rent or buy another one. does this mean that the big wedding they were hosting earlier, didn't have coffee either? I'd be pissed.

If I was at some diner, I would expect things like this to happen, but the SRI touts itself on being one of the finest resturants in the state, with high prices, so I have higher expectations and I think I should. It's very hard for me to post this considering we had our wedding there so I'm not making this up.

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I certainly agree with you that quality should match the prices. I'm still not quite in agreement on the coffee machine. You said espresso machine which to me implies multi thousand dollar piece of imported hardware that's not easily fixed or replaced on a weekend. You have enough legitimate concerns that I'd give them an inch on the coffee.

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I certainly agree with you that quality should match the prices.  I'm still not quite in agreement on the coffee machine.  You said espresso machine which to me implies multi thousand dollar piece of imported hardware that's not easily fixed or replaced on a weekend.  You have enough legitimate concerns that I'd give them an inch on the coffee.

Actually, I know a guy who services these machines, and they are "on call", like doctors, on weekends. Maybe a crack reporter should have checked back on the following Tuesday to see if there was still a problem.

SRI purports to be one of the top restaurants in NJ. Can you imagine dining at Daniel, Gramercy Tavern, Babbo, or the like, and being told that the espresso machine is broken? Perhaps this is not such an unreasonable complaint...

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  • 2 months later...

I visited the Saddle River Inn two times since this thread was started. The second and most recent time was with three other guys on a boys night out. None of them had been there before. None of the negative issues raised previously happened on either visit. The three guys all commented that everything was done perfectly and intended to return with their wife or lady friend.

The pan seared Foie Gras was as good as it gets by the way.

Viejo

"A dry crust of bread eaten in peace and quiet is better than a feast eaten where everyone argues" Proverbs (17:1).

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the foie gras.....is the very good...agree

the overall experience however, is what we are looking for.

Perhaps some of these conversations, helped pick things up, that would be good news for us to know, we like this place

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry the link to the Bergen Record review did not work. Here is an excerpt of the review:

After gliding a golden morsel of seared scallop through its little pool of maple-spiked lemon butter, scooping up a golden raisin and bringing the fork to my mouth, I think I saw stars. Four of them. It was my first taste of the Saddle River Inn, and the first time in a while that a restaurant seemed on the brink of outstanding from the first bite.

 

There would be more bites to come -- a melt-in-your-mouth foie gras terrine, a meringue graced with raspberries that glowed with inner sunshine -- each near-flawless and more memorable than the last. With each visit from the server and every glance around the dining room, I looked for defects and came up empty. The Saddle River Inn simply is exceptional.

It's a lot to ask of a restaurant whose home is a little barn on a 19th-century estate and whose owners don't aim to be edgy. While food fads and restaurant trends come and go, Hans and Imelda Egg have sat tight for 26 years, delivering familiar American ingredients prepared according to classic French technique, served by a cheerful, professional staff in a building whose beauty is in its rugged simplicity.

REVIEW

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saddle River Inn ****

Food ***½ Service **** Value **** Ambience ****

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The North Jersey (Bergen Record) food blog, here, always has reliable links to their articles. Trying to link any other way is usually an exercise in failure.

duck with peppercorn sauce? chateaubriand (tenderloin: is there a more boring part of the cow?)? foie gras with a fruit-based (and I'm guessing sweet) sauce? where have i heard this song before? oh yeah, 1985, right around the time Diamond Dave left Van Halen to sing sing lines like "Bop bozadee bozadee bop... ... ... zitty bop".

just the other night, on the way back from the quite good Esty Street up the road, I first realized where the Saddle River Inn lives. It came up my GPS because I had the "restaurants" icons listed. I had almost driven past it at least 40 times in the past year. After reading this review, I'm actually quite jazzed to stop in with a few bottles of special wine.

Edited by tommy (log)
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At first I thought I was reading a novel that tested how many adjectives you can write in one review...no one argues that we all like a scene with a quaint barn, with lots of charm and atmosphere ....but honestly i was waiting for...once upon a time on a cold snowy night...but no, instead I read about the "changing seasons" and "standing out among the browns, oranges, yellows and greens".....since when did the description about decor come before the food review? 7 paragraphs worth and not all accurate based upon the last time we were there...

For a first visit, everyone is wow'd...and if you are lucky to catch the specials, then you "might" have a good night...but to Tommie's points...the food is out dated...and the reviewer mentions the menu and the "food fixtures". We agree with this comment especially since the menu hasn't changed in the last 5 years or so and I can honestly say the "menu is not revolving".

Yes, the foie gras is good and one of the best around, despite some of the sweet sauces. Heck, we were just at the FOUR SEASONS in NYC and their foie gras was served in a mango sauce and it was outstanding. I haven't heard of FG being served without a sweet sauce so we're ok with that approach and we think it still, works.

One of Mr. Egg's specialties is with game and the fall/winter menu so we're sure the Duck was good too....but since it's only on the specials, it's a risk we take when we go there. Curious to know what day of the week and what time his seating was....

We hope Mr. Egg modifies and expands his menu because we want this place to be as successful, with consistency, the way it used to be 17-20 years ago.

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At first I thought I was reading a novel that tested how many adjectives you can write in one review...no one argues that we all like a scene with a quaint barn, with lots of charm and atmosphere ....but honestly i was waiting for...once upon a time on a cold snowy night...but no, instead I read about the "changing seasons" and "standing out among the browns, oranges, yellows and greens".....since when did the description about decor come before the food review? 7 paragraphs worth and not all accurate based upon the last time we were there...

i believe the "browns, oranges, yellows and greens" comment was referring to items served with the lamb, not the decor.

although, describing the decor and atmosphere of a restaurant is generally part of a review.

David Féau served foie gras with dark chocolate at Lutece. mmmmm. yummy.

Edited by tommy (log)
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I was at the Saddle River Inn quite recently and had a stellar meal. The foie is the best around, and trust me, I've tasted a lot of foie...foie with chocolate, very good, but very 90s overdone. Foie gras lollypops in pools of bittersweet chocolate, etc.

The foie I had at SRI included a coarse mustard sauce, a great bite to the creamy goodness.

Perhaps the fact of the matter is, when something isn't broke, why fix it? Chateaubriand is a romantic dinner, and one that you can't find done well around here. Too many chefs are trying to outdo each other with how far they can test their limits. All well and good. Just like, I think, too many chefs are now embracing the local seasonal movement to the point that the point is gone.

Give me the cozy barn and perfect service of SRI to the flashy glitz, the horrible tv screens at each booth and what I always considered okay food at best of somewhere like Ginger and Spice.

Ginger and Spice is for sale, at a cost way less than the fixtures. The Saddle River Inn is still around, and crowded. Perhaps there is a lesson to that.

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Just like, I think, too many chefs are now embracing the local seasonal movement to the point that the point is gone.

I'd be interested to hear you explain how this is possible.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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Just like, I think, too many chefs are now embracing the local seasonal movement to the point that the point is gone.

I'd be interested to hear you explain how this is possible.

I will explain that the best I can. You see, what started as just chefs, like Alice Waters, simply using local, and supporting the local economy and local farmers, was a terrific concept. Now, all the seasonal, local stuff, well, first off, local becomes just how local, as long as it is a nifty name. "Neiman Ranch" beef. Well, now, how big has that farm become, while others go unknown, unnoticed and unused by chefs, because the popular "local name" gets the menu listing. "Hudson Valley Foie Gras" - Well, of course! Have you been there? A huge plant...

The local, seasonal was to help support the small farmer. No more. That was the original point, and that is my point.

CN

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i don't think people think Niman Ranch is "local." They do probably understand that the products are oftentimes of better quality than the supermarket or other suppliers, and is "natural" in some way. my understanding is that it's actually somewhat of a cooperative of farms, some of which, I guess, are small.

i do like eating locally and seasonally. i think the products are better, and i'm supporting local economy. to that end i'm very glad chefs are still promoting this type of thing (there aren't nearly enough doing this in NJ to my mind).

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i don't think people think Niman Ranch is "local."  They do probably understand that the products are oftentimes of better quality than the supermarket or other suppliers, and is "natural" in some way.  my understanding is that it's actually somewhat of a cooperative of farms, some of which, I guess, are small.

i do like eating locally and seasonally.  i think the products are better, and i'm supporting local economy.  to that end i'm very glad chefs are still promoting this type of thing (there aren't nearly enough doing this in NJ to my mind).

I was using that as an example of what once was a small farm, that is now certainly not. Same with Hudson Valley. We do local seasonal at Picnic, and always have to the best of our ability, but the point I am trying to get across is that local seasonal, in its own way, has become big business. Not just here in Jersey, but throughout the country. But, all these "foodies" that really don't know the professional end of the business, but recognize a "small name brand" and jump on the bandwagon, put many of the top chefs in the position of having to put brands on their menu items, instead of simply using what they like and know to be local. Seasonal is always a debate. Let's face it, not one chef in Jersey could put a mixed green fresh salad on a plate if we were truly seasonal. and local All I'd be doing at plated dinners during late fall through mid-spring would be beet salads, root veggie salads and the like. The only greens I would have for saute would be kale and chard, and that'd be gone by November, at the latest.

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surely none of this is the fault of chefs who embrace local and seasonal food. i think you're talking about the public's expectations or understanding of what they're eating. i just don't think "too many chefs" can embrace local and seasonal food, and i don't think the point of eating local and seasonal food is diluted because it's becoming a popular and widely accepted concept.

but we should be careful to not help the local farmers *too* too much, or else they'll turn into another Niman! :smile:

Edited by tommy (log)
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hi there....

Tommy....I think the reviewer was cleverly using the colors to enhance the story, or do you believe that lamb should be..."green"?

PC - the FG is good, and so is the steak selection you mention, but if the SRI wants the Locals...to go more than once a year, then they need to make some enhancements, that's all. If you want to go there for an anniversary, then it might suit most of the people, i just thought this board was for serious foodies....

speaking of local...there are some good dishes at cafe panache who claims to use local product from abmas and other farms around like the chickens from the place on Goffle road in Hawthorne/Wyckoff as the name escapes me. I particularly like their corn ravioli's they are outstanding when they are on the specials...or what about the lobster rolls at PC's place...very good albeit from maine, still a local source and fresh...

lima bean

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