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Columbia Inn, Montville, NJ

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Had dinner on Wednesday at Columbia Inn on Route 202 in Montville. Someone recommended it to the person with whom I went and said that fish preparation was their strength.

The fish, pompano, was beautifully prepared and elegantly presented. The menu offered it with caramelized bananas, which we opted to change to a vegetable medley/ragout with mashed white and sweet potatoes. As a starter, I had a salad of fresh beets and goat cheese; she had a baby spinach salad. Both were excellent as were the breads. Servings were large, and we us passed up dessert. Coffee was mediocre.

It is not a posh dining spot. It could be. The nicely set tables need chairs that go with the table setting. They're comfortable enough but look like kitchen chairs. And the pizzas served on pizzaria stands somehow don't fit, though the pizzas looked really good. This restaurant doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. It should decide, because it seems to have a fairly creative chef turning out a very nice menu with an artistic presentation.

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