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Mar 16, 2007 06:20 PM

Ryland Inn Closed-need something comparable [Moved from Tristate Region board]

It can be in same area or central or northern NJ

should I do frog and peach?

want it to be very special. 50th birthday.
he loves wine more than food
must have extensive wine list(preferably CA wine)
price no option


birthday is next week


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  1. Stage Left in New Brunswick (my favorite
    )Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank
    Bernards Inn in Bernardsville (ate here for Valentine's Day and it was excellent
    )David Drake in Rahway
    Doris and Eds in Atlantic Highlands

    1. The above are all good recs, although Doris and Ed's may be too far in the wrong direction. Of the five, I think Stage Left is your best bet, primarily because of the wine list. I can't remember, however, if the emphasis is on California or European wine.

      You can remain in Hunterdon County (where The Ryland Inn is) and go to The Perryville Inn which has excellent food and a fairly extensive wine list (see link below). We've had both lunch and dinner there and were very pleased.

      BTW, you might want to also post on the Mid-Atlantic board, which covers central Jersey.

      1. The Pluckemin Inn has a wine list that looks like a phone book and the food is outstanding.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bropaul

          Wow, I haven't been to The Pluckemin Inn but I just changed my vote! The wine list is truly amazing, though in some cases the markup seems excessive.

          I couldn't find any prices listed for dinner selection. I suppose this means the prices rival those at The Ryland Inn?

        2. If it's the wine list that's paramount, then you should definitely go to Nicholas. You can view the wine list on their website: . As far as the cuisine, service and ambiance are concerned, in my view, it has Ryland Inn beat by the proverbial country mile. Overall, Nicholas is the perfect place to celebrate a very special occasion like a 50th birthday.

          1. I agree with going to either Stage left or Pluckemin, both with great wine lists. Sorry but I have always found Nicholas food as about as exciting as a door knob.

            7 Replies
            1. re: avidcook

              If wine selection is paramount, then The Pluckemin Inn wins hands down. After reading bropaul's note above, I did a little research and discovered that the Inn has the largest and best wine selection in New Jersey (Wine Enthusiast, Feb/07 issue). The Ryland Inn and Nicholas are not even mentioned. Stage Left is a distant second.

              Now I've gotta go there!

              1. re: ambrose

                Did you go to Pluckemin, ambrose? We went there for my birthday in July and while the tasting menu was awesome, my parents said their halibut was over-cooked. We liked David Drake more. And I'm still a very very big Stage Left fan. Let me know your thoughts.

                1. re: njeggy1

                  No, I have not been yet. We were thinking of going for lunch but somehow never got around to it.

                  David Drake's is a little too far for us. Have you tried Catherine Lombardi, upstairs from Stage Left? I am put off by their prices which seem excessive for an Italian restaurant

                  1. re: ambrose

                    ambrose, We are planning a trip to CL soon. You are right, the prices are pretty high, but the food is supposed to be superior in quality to most Italian restaurants, so I'll give it a shot. I've had cocktails in the bar, and they are wonderful. They are all "real" cocktails made from fresh juices, etc. I will post once we have visited the restaurant. I really want to do one of those Sunday dinners there.

                    1. re: njeggy1

                      Hey, Njeggy1 suggest you post your review of CL as a new topic. This thread started five months ago with a question about alternatives to The Ryland Inn.

                      Yes, I've heard the food at CL is of superior quality but I also know from personal experience that Italian cuisine has a low cost basis. Looking forward to your comments.

                      1. re: ambrose

                        Note that there is already a thread re: Catherine Lombardi here:

                    2. re: ambrose

                      Catherine Lombardi's......Your right to be put off by the prices.....good Italian, but WAY overpriced.....It's all about marketing, Granma's, nostalgia, Sunday's gravy, etc.......but the old Italian Granma's that I knew would be shocked and angry, if they seen the prices....... I see it as todays greed......there are so many equal and better Italians that are less expensive