Brothers Moon (Hopewell, NJ)
What an excellent meal we had the other nite at this sophisticated establishment in "downtown" Hopewell.
Service was a bit slow, they didn't clear the other tables after people left, but our waiter was friendly and professional and amicable. At one point, everyone ran out of the restaurant to see the "drama" down the street - according to rumor someone held a gun to someone's head, but thankfully it didn't interfere with our dinner. The Hopewell police came to the rescue apparently, because when we left, there was no sign of any disturbance.
The food was excellent - Chef Will definitely knows his stuff and has earned his chops at this restaurant. We started with two excellent appetizers. I had seen the first choice on the web page menu, and was very much looking forward to the dish, and I was not dissappointed. "Bent Spoon" (Princeton's excellent artisanal ice-cream maker) provides Avocado Ice Cream, which the chef dollops on top of an artistic layering of ripe heirloom tomatos, salted and served with a citrus emulsion, corn crisps (fried tortilla strips) and lemon wedges. Ok, the lemon really was sort of pointless, but I'll overlook that he used them for a bit more "height" on the dish.
My companion had the lobster bisque, a favorite dish, and also was impressed with the quality, and the bounty of large chunks of lobster meat in this textbook perfect soup.
For a main course, my companion had a beautiful crab and corn salad, filled with chunks of fresh lump crabmeat.
I chose a daily special of lamb loin, served with mashed sweet potatos, wilted greens, and a red-wine sauce. The sweet potatos were wonderful, hearty, sweet and a perfect hint of the upcoming fall season. The lamb was tender, flavorful and the wilted spinach gave a nice color and offset the sweet flavors of the dish.
I was torn between that entree and a menu item of potato-herb crusted Cod with local swiss chard and corn. I was visualizing the gorgeous bunches of chard at the farm market in nearby Lawrenceville last weekend, as well as the bounty of excellent sweet local corn.
However, I'm glad I chose the lamb dish, and hope it will make an appearance on the menu many more times.
Desserts were excellent. I chose something a bit different than my usual (the Berry Cobbler sounded appealing) and went with warm caramelized pineapple, with a vanilla butter sauce, berry puree, and a scoop of Creme-Fraiche ice cream (menu lists it with coconut sorbet). Wonderful, sublime, and the vanilla butter sauce is a perfect foil for the pineapple. My companion went with a cheesecake, served with fresh berries and whipped cream and velvety smooth.
This is the kind of cuisine you can feel comfortable with, a bit adventurous but well-grounded, and a totally pleasurable dining experience.
I'm sad to report that was had a less than stellar experience here on Saturday. Overall the food just didn't impress. I had read Sethboy's initial review back in September (and brownie's subsequent rave) and I was excited to try this place.
I will say that the special soup (tomato and eggplant) was very good. My husband got the lobster bisque and while the flavor was good, there was not even the tiniest sliver of lobster meat to be found. The Caesar salad was overdressed and the roasted pepper, smoked mozzarella and parsley pesto tower I got was lacking any real flavor.
We all ordered our entrees from the specials menu - 4 of us got the crab cakes and the fifth got the salmon special (which turned out to be quite good with a spicy kick of chili sauce). The crab cake (there was only one despite the menu's use of the plural) was actually a red pepper cake. You couldn't taste any crab at all. The outside of the cake was also burned (not just on mine, but everyone's). The pairing of crab cakes with mashed potatoes just didn't work and the asparagus that was served with it (why, I don't know, since asparagus isn't in season) was undercooked and tough.
Our server was very sweet, but I don't understand the practice of doling out one piece of bread per person and then whisking away the bread basket. We had to ask for a second piece of bread during our appetizers. Water glasses were allowed to sit empty for long stretches of time and dirty plates were also not cleared quickly. I also didn't appreciate standing in the foyer of the restaurant for 5 minutes waiting to be acknowledged while the manager (I assume) yaked it up with the guy behind the deli counter.
For the amount my mother spent we were not impressed and won't be back.
We were there the same night, i think. I had the cucumber wrapped crab salad as well, and enjoyed it greatly. For the main, I had the cod of which you spoke. The only criticism I had was that the potato crust was way too salty. The fish, however, was very tender and flakey, delicious. My companions had the lamb shank, which they loved. I'm not a fan of that dish, so i really can't comment. It was accompanied by a terrific savory bread pudding. For dessert, we ordered a slice of the german chocolate cake which is not on the menu but was out in the display case. The frosting was unreal. Caramel heaven! Our service was very prompt and professional. Sorry to hear yours was on the slower side!
We always love our meals at Brothers Moon and think it's one of the finest spots in the state, certainly the best in the area!