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Mar 1, 2008 07:09 AM

Agonizing Decision: Lambertville

In June, we'll be staying at the Woolverton Inn for two nights. Two nights means two opportunities for spectacular dinners in the areas. Been reading past threads and doing other research online. Just when I think I've made a decision, I read something bad about a place. Hope some locals can help me sort things out.

First, a bit of history: Went to No. 9 in Lambertville last August. Loved it. However, given the many restaurants in the area, we're looking for something new and equally good. I'm adventurous. My husband is happy with a good steak. We both love a good bottle of red wine. Although, we prefer a BYO.

Some places I've been considering: Hamilton's Grill Room and Matt's Red Rooster Grill (how far is this from Stockton?) Thought about Deanna's, too, and Andiamo looks intriguing as well. Just not sure and don't want to screw up. See my dilemma? So I'd appreciate any thoughts on these places, plus any gems I may have overlooked.

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  1. Dear jme90

    Make a reservation at The Blue Bottle Cafe in Hopewell, a short drive from Lambertville. One of the best BYO's in all of NJ and we have been to all the great one's.

    If you want prime time on a Saturday night, you need to call 4-5 weeks in advance.
    Trust me you will love it.
    No. 9 is good, Blue Bottle is GREAT.


    1 Reply
    1. re: tom246

      Thanks, Tom, for the tip. We'll be there during the week, Weds-Fri, so I'm not too concerned about the reservation end of things.

    2. The two Matts who own Matt's Red Rooster formerly worked at Hamilton's Grill Room, and so they've patterned their restaurant after Hamilton's. However, I think their food is better, the service is friendlier, and the atmospherics are much more pleasing. Though they do serve NJ wines, it's essentially a BYO. Matt's is located in the town of Flemington, about a 15-minute drive from Lambertville, so I'm guessing that would be similar from Stockton.

      Another fine choice in Lambertville is Manon, the small, charming French bistro, which has been around for many years. The chef/owner is from Provence, and he continues to serve delicious cuisine of that region. It is a BYO.

      4 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        Ooomagosh! I hate to disagree with RGR but for our money, keep away from Matt's Red Rooster, and I do mean as far away as you can. The seared Ahi Tuna appetizer was overdone to the point where it was indistinguishable from Chicken Of The Sea. The Filet Mignon was overpriced, sinewy, and sloppily topped with a gob of tasteless blue cheese. Eater beware! We all but stoned the friend who recommended it to us. Manon, on the other hand, is well worth it.

        1. re: mmgpsych

          Well, mmgpsych, that being your experience at Matt's, I can certainly understand your disagreement. Mr. R. and I both had rack of lamb, which was excellent. We've only been there once, and that was in '06, so this appears to be either a serious case of inconsistency or a downhill slide. Whichever, definitely not a good thing.

          1. re: mmgpsych

            My family and I just ate at Matt's last week. My husband had the braised lamb shank which he said was delicious (oh, and mushroom soup which he liked as well.) My son and I both had ribeye steaks which I also thought were overpriced for what they were. Not too good. Tough and sinewy just as you described the filet mignon. I have to say that if I could be talked into trying the place again I would never again order a steak. From what I'm hearing from other locals their braised dishes seem to be very good (as my husband found.)

            1. re: flourgirl

              As my hero Hannibal Lecter said before he spilled someone's guts, "Okey dokey, then." We'll give Matt's another go and try the lamb shank or rack thereof. Hopefully, we won't spill ours. :-)))

        2. Hamilton's Grill Room is cool and in June you get the indoor/outdoor experience and the little square in front of it is busy (The Boathouse, I believe, is across the way) ... OTA-YA also for v. good sushi, but sadly not open for lunch most days, if ever...

          1. Skip Deannas; extremely average food. Do try the Blue Bottle. And, you will need a reservation, even during the week. It's very good. Also, I like the Frenchtown Inn, if you're up for the ride

            2 Replies
            1. re: mschow

              Seconding on Deanna's. There are much better Italian places closer to Trenton.

              1. re: Heatherb

                Third on skipping Deanna's. I think it's only ok, and the last time my DH was there he said it was awful.

            2. I also recommend Manon, it's byob too. We ate there at the end of January and the food was wonderful, everything was great.
              My husband loves Hamilton Grill, he likes their anchovy shrimp. They do have a lovely patio and eating out there is quite nice in the warm weather. And the Boathouse Bar right across the alley is a fun place to have drinks.
              We also like the bar at Anton's at the Swan. I think the bar area is beautiful and they have a casual bar menu which is decent.