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Oliver a Bistro, Bordentown NJ

On Friday night we met fellow hounds "NJ Foodies" aka Mark and Pam and had a delicious meal and a couple of great wines.
Appetizers were Ceasar Salad, Romaine Lettuce, Artisan Croutons, Shaved Parmesan Cheese, Creamy Parmesan which was split into two and got a thumbs up for a starter.
We sampled two soups, one was roasted potato with cheddar and bacon, the other a carrot ginger. Both were hearty and satisfying, plus the carrot ginger had a good kick from the spice.

Entrees were also winners, Risotto with Country Bacon, Sweet Pea , Shaved Parmesan. Normally an appetizer it was made as an entree. another entree was
Roasted New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Goat cheese smashed potato, French green beans, Port wine reduction. Both received the seal of approval from M+P.
Denise and I both had the Crispy Skin Chicken with Artichoke & Blue Cheese Risotto, Sweet Baby Carrots, Thyme Jus. The chicken was prepared perfectly, risotto tender and the rich jus hit the mark on this cold night.

Too full for dessert, Mark twisted everyones arm :)) and we sampled an enormous blueberry cobbler with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. Wonderful flavor I highly recommend trying it if its available.

Wines for the evening were an awesome 1997 Kistler Pinot (thanks M+P) and a 2000 Quilceda Creek Cab which was also very tasty.

Excellent service from the entire staff. We were last at Oliver about 1 year ago. Based on our dinner Friday we won't wait that long to get back.
There is a wide choice of apps and entrees available to suit everyones budget.

Here is the website for more information.
http://www.oliverabistro.com/

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  1. Oh jeez. Now you've got me wanting to go back there sometime soon! I love Oliver for lunch and have yet to try it for dinner. I liked it under the previous owners quite a bit (it was my favorite lunch place and I LOVED their dessert evenings on Saturdays - best hot cocoa ever), but I have to say that the current owners have taken it up a notch on an overall level. The last time I was there for lunch with my father (our first visit after the new owners took over) we were both purely delighted by our meals.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Heatherb

      The funny part of it was that Farnsworth Ave. was busy Friday night and we parked a couple blocks up from Oliver, right in front of Under The Moon. It was tough not to walk in :)) but we had a nice dinner at Oliver.

      1. re: tom246

        Sounds great Tom. Thanks for the review. Bordentown is a little bit of a haul but we may have to give it a shot. My last dinner in that area a year or so back at the Farnsworth House left a lot to be desired. Both Oliver and Under the Moon are making a case to return. A 1997 Kistler huh? Nice.

    2. New to CHOWHOUND...love the site! Olivers is fabulous! Bordentown City has an adorable downtown area that right now is all lit up for the Holidays, looks beautiful! There's a new coffee place right next to Olivers called BEANWOOD, wonderful and the owners are so nice! This town needs more foot traffic though, I hope these businesses make it through this bad economy. The sushi place downtown is awesome too!!!! I love Bordentown City.

      1 Reply
      1. re: care11

        Hi, Beanwood is a fabulous little coffee place. Very cozy and the people are exceptional. I try to stop in every chance I get. Plus, on the weekends, they have special entertainment and they always have great gourmet treats--chocolate dipped strawberries on Val.'s Day.

      2. Great notes Tom, and as always, it was a pleasure getting together with the two of you. Like I've said before, this is our Friday night place to be, and I would guess that we eat there at least 2-3 Friday nights. And the Friday's that we skip are always because of other obligations.

        Danielle and Matt have done wonders with Oliver. It was always a great, quaint little lunch place with good sandwiches, but they have definitely, in the words of Emerill Lagasse, "Kicked it up a notch." The are a really nice couple, and we are so happy to see them thriving! Matt has some serious talent, and you can feel the love that he puts into every dish.

        Their wait staff is incredible, and we don't look at them as servers, we look at them as friends and family. Bruce and Jimmy are the absolute best, and we love them! For the above reasons, we've spent our last 2 New Years Eve's with them. Of course being able to walk into town without the fear of drinking and driving is also a beneficial factor.

        I highly suggest their Thur-Fri menu right now consisting of 3 courses for $35. The portions are a little smaller than their regular entrees, but for $35 it cannot be beat! And yes, Jimmy's desserts are to die for!

        The '97 Kistler was a pleasure, and showed very well. The Quilceda Creek was absolutely awesome with my lamb, and I cannot even begin to imagine how good this wine will be in another 10 years. Thanks so much for your generosity! It's so great to have such generous wino friends who appreciate a nice bottle!

        Beanwood seems to be doing well, and hopefully that continues, but I did see that there is a new coffee shop coming called Mugs and Muffins located where Miller McGowan once was, and more recently Loretta Boutique. Come on, do we really need 2 coffee shops that are 5 doors down from each other? I certainly don't think so, but wish them well.

        Between Oliver- A Bistro and Under the Moon, you have two of the best BYO's in the area. I also don't think that Bordentown City gets the recognition it deserves. I fell in love with the town the first time I drove down Farnsworth Avenue to pick up "Zelda" on our first date. It reminded me of a town back home in the suburbs of Chicago called Woodstock, which is where they filmed the movie Groundhog Day. I knew that one day I would live in Bordentown, and here we are 6 years later, married, and living the American dream in good old Bordentown City. Life is good!

        As always Tom, great to run into you guys at Under the Moon on Friday night, and thanks again for the Sojourn! Look forward to dinner with the two of you soon! Cheers! -mJ

        14 Replies
        1. re: njfoodies

          I know...two coffee places so close together, not to mention the bakery and Torrpes (spelling ??) Deli and now Torrpes Too...one thing is for sure... Bordentowner's will sure have their fill of caffeine choices. Capitalism at its best I guess. I want to support them but I look forward to making coffee every morning and it saves us $...I just made the switch from Starbucks whole bean (that I would buy in bulk at BJ's) to of all things ShopRite Brand French Roast whole bean...tastes similar and is about 1/2 the price (my husband didn’t even notice the change until I told him). Does anyone know if Beanwood still plans to open in the building next door to roast their own beans or has that been put on hold? I hope you are right and that they are doing well. Two things I would love to see in Bordentown City…an authentic Mexican place – no frills but great food and a gourmet shop with cheeses, prepared foods, fresh cut flowers, etc…a market of sorts. A girl can dream… To NJFOODIES…question… have you two ever eaten at the Mexican place Chapala on Rt 33 in Hamilton? I am sure you have. We love it there too, curious as to your opinion.

          1. re: care11

            We've been talking about a Mexican place in town for years. We actually considered opening one towards the corner of Farnsworth and Park St, on the right hand side in the building that is now under contract. Unfortunately, we're not ready for something like that yet in the current economy....plus we have our careers, and I don't know that it's time to take the leap into the restaurant biz.

            Haven't been to Chapala in years, but last we were there is was good! Might have to revisit. We usually hit Tortuga's over in Trenton! Love it! -mJ

            1. re: njfoodies

              Wait...... that is SOOO funny b/c my husband and I used to drive by that place and say we wish a Mexican place would go in there!!! I have always had a dream to open a crabcake shack :) Yeah...Tortuga's is awesome!

              1. re: care11

                Great minds think alike, however, I do make the best crab cakes! =) -mJ

                1. re: njfoodies

                  Met up with friends on Friday night for dinner, so no Friday night Table 17 for us at Oliver's. We did however have lunch there yesterday, and as always, it was awesome. I can't say enough great things about this place, and if you're in the area, it is worth the trip. Kudos to Matt & Danielle, and to Bruce, & Jimmy and the rest of the front house gang. Love you guys! -F. Scott and Zelda

                  1. re: njfoodies

                    I wanted to thank njfoodies (f. scott and zelda) as well as tom246 for turning me onto this fabulous restaurant. Everything about my meal this evening was perfect from the decor to the service to most importantly the food. I hope to post a more detailed review shortly. However, in the interim, I would just like to note that I would recommend this restaurant without hesitation. Again many thanks.

                    1. re: bgut1

                      bgut, good to hear that dinner was enjoyable. Look forward to your report!

                      1. re: bgut1

                        Great to hear bgut! We absolutely love this place, and cannot say enough good things. Such a great crew they have there, and Matt is doing a great job in the kitchen. We missed them Friday night for dinner, but we did have lunch there on Saturday. Definitely a Bordentown staple!

                        Let us know when you head back, and maybe we can get tom246 to go as well and have a nice group. I look forward to it! Cheers! -mJ

                        1. re: njfoodies

                          nj - Sounds like a great idea. I will defintiely do that the next time we head back. Thanks.

                          1. re: bgut1

                            Please do. We've enjoyed a few dinners now with tom246, and it makes for a great evening! -mJ

                            1. re: njfoodies

                              I recently had the pleasure of dining at Oliver's a few weeks ago. I grew up in Bordentown and now live in Chicagoland. We have many special dining options out here, BUT so now does Bordentown. Everything was TOP notch from the server to most important THE FOOD. Several of the courses were the best we have ever had anywhere. Please do yourself a favor and check it out.

                              1. re: matt29b

                                We have reservations for tomorrow. If its like our previous experiences, should be very good.

                                1. re: matt29b

                                  Too funny Matt B...I grew up in Barrington, just outside of Chicago, and now live in Bordentown....small world. -mJ

            2. We made it back to Oliver A Bistro last night and we're glad we did. Arrived about 15 minutes as a severe car accident had closed Rt 130 south. No problem as the staff is is very acommodating.
              Sat down and enjoyed some fresh bread with olive oil and seasoned toasts while looking at the menu.
              Besides the regular menu, there is also a seasonal menu as well as a host of nightly specials. A wide range of food choices.

              We chose well as everything was well prepared and tasty. We split a salad special which consisted of Asian pears, cranberries, spiced pecans, Amish blue cheese, mixed greens with a port wine viniagrette. Tasty, with lots of texture and flavor.
              Also split an order of plum braised beef dumplings with Asian slaw and red miso broth. These little baguettes were filled with tender beef and the broth-sauce was good enough to spoon down if I had one :)

              DW had prepared scallops the night before so we were were thinking meat and we were not disappointed.
              The seared black angus sirloin was prepared medium rare, had nice flavor and came with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, baby green beans and beef red wine sauce.
              My roasted rack of lamb was also medium rare, a full rack of bones with goat cheese smashed potatoes, French green beans and port wine reduction. A delicious and substantial entree.

              Being ultra stuffed never stopped us from ordering dessert, we split a very good key lime pie with whipped cream but legend has it that a certain person named bgut has the ultimate recipe :) A fresh coffee finished the meal.
              Service from Bruce and the staff was excellent, this is a very friendly team that does whatever to please. The place was packed all night but service did not suffer one bit.
              Our 2005 Carlisle syrah matched really well with our choice of food.

              If you have not tried Oliver A Bistro, I highly recommend you give it a try. Delicious innovative food, friendly staff and service, comfortable room all make for an enjoyable evening.

              2 Replies
              1. re: tom246

                tom246 - Sounds like another great meal at Oliver. As far as my key lime pie, I guess I will have to make you one and let you be the judge :). The DW and I enjoyed one of our best meals ever at Belford Bistro last night. Crista and Kurt introduced a new menu last night and it "blew my socks off". I'll post the details later in the Belford thread. Be well and my regards to Mrs. tom246.

                1. re: bgut1

                  Look forward to your report, funny since we were going to set a res at BB for last night but decided on Oliver earlier in the week.
                  Happy Moms day to Mrs bgut.

              2. When I passed by here yesterday they had a special menu outside.
                Four Courses for $35 Tuesday - Friday Nights - Dinner
                No dates defined on the menu. Would call ahead for details.
                Obviously from the posts, you know what to expect, the prix fixe menu looks wonderful.
                Just thought I would share some happiness.

                1. We had a very good dinner at Oliver last night. I started with the pear and pecan salad which had mixed field greens, sun dried cranberries, amish blue cheese and of course the pears and candied pecans brought together with a port wine viniagrette. Another starter was a duck confit salad. Both salads were tasty and well thought out.

                  My salad was a "half" portion as I was warned that my pork shank was substantial. It wasn't substantial, it was MASSIVE. A huge flavorful portion over a delicious squash risotto. DW had the pan seared sea scallops, salad of fennel, grapefruit, orange, toasted walnuts in a citrus basil dressing. Also had strings of crispy yams and some parsnip puree.
                  Both entrees were really good.

                  Finished up by sharing a warm pumpkin cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream which was just fair.
                  A 2005 August West syrah was great with dinner.
                  We have been here a few times and service is always smooth and well coordinated. Last night was no exception.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: tom246

                    tom - Sounds like a great meal. I'm happy that you both had a good time. It must have been hard bypassing Under the Moon :) We enjoyed a very nice meal at Bay Avenue Trattoria. I hope to run into you very soon.

                    -----
                    Under the Moon
                    210 Farnsworth Ave, Bordentown, NJ 08505

                    1. re: bgut1

                      It was a Bordentown weekend for us. Hit UTM on Friday and went back to Oliver on Saturday. I'm sure our paths will cross soon :)

                      1. re: tom246

                        Tom - I knew you couldn't pass up UTM. What did you have?

                        1. re: bgut1

                          tom246 and bgut: want to try to do dinner in January at Oliver? Maybe Saturday the 16th after the holidays? Let me know. Tom, feel free to e-mail bgut and myself and we can try to coordinate if that date works. Look forward to it! -mJ

                        2. re: tom246

                          I have to say that it is absolutely AWESOME to see this board supporting my local Bordentown restaruants, and I couldn't be more blessed to have such great places to go within a stones throw!

                          We haven't been to Oliver in 2 weeks now, and I don't think the pork shank was on the menu then. I am definitely going to have to give it a whirl. Maybe Saturday night!

                          Tom: let's get together soon! This past weekend was crazy with the Peking Duck House offline on Saturday, and my sister in NYC on Sunday, so we were gone most of the weekend, back and forth on the train! Maybe we can get bgut1 as well to come out, and do a Friday or Saturday night at Oliver. Maybe after Thanksgiving? I think the 4th or 5th might be good for us. I'll even bring my favorite selections from the Stefania line up that we can all taste through as I need to make some room in the cellar! 2 cabs, 2 syrah, and the Haut Tubee! Send out regards to DW, and look forward to seeing you both soon! -mJ