So, I never thought I'd be writing a post about a diner. We stopped in a couple of weeks ago and were super surprised. Apparently they have a new chef, Craig Shelton, formerly of Ryland Inn, a James Beard winner, etc. etc. I'm not sure if he's just consulting or what, but the menu....for a "diner" is fantastic. Changes daily (well, they print a new menu daily, we went 2x in 2 weeks and saw some changes, but not toooo many)
In addition, the sommelier, (yes, they have one, formerly of Stage Left, then CRU) put together a pretty good wine list!
or...you can go in and have a burger and shake, or some pancakes....
The food, is really, really good, and not just for diner food, but surprisingly good. If you've ever thought twice about ordering a bottle of wine at a 'diner', don't, I would at Skylark.
This last time I ordered a Moroccan filet tips, with couscous and merguez sausage (17$), that was just great, and my Wife had shrimp and scallops (17?) that she said were good and fresh, for app, we split some ribs that were also good.
The cocktail menu needs a lot of work, but 2 outta 3 ain't bad!
a few glasses of wine, and the above, 60$, not diner cheap, but well worth it. Great food, Good wine list, in the most unpretentious atmosphere you can imagine. Service is, well...diner service still.
It's one of my new favorite places. (did I just say that?)
Yep, I'd order an after dinner port too.
Skylark Diner & Lounge
17 Wooding Ave, Edison, NJ 08817
When it became obvious that the Ryland Inn was not going to survive, there were numerous reports that Shelton was consulting for a catering group. The name escapes me but I'm pretty sure it was NOT the one mentioned on the Skylark Diner's web site. Perhaps he is consulting for more than one company.
Jerzey Shore, if you look at the Skylark's menus, you will realize that this is not your ordinary diner.
Any resemblance between the food Craig Shelton was famous for preparing at the Ryland Inn, and that served at the Skylark, is strictly coincidental. I have never felt so duped as I did after reading, and falling for, the raves--particularly the four stars Theresa Politano gave it in her review in the Star-Ledger. The sad fact is that the menu promises much more than the execution delivers--example, a plate of braised short ribs, while tender, packed all the flavor of a can of beef stew. This seems to be more of a publicity stunt than a genuine limited run featuring one of the country's most prestigious chefs. Craig Shelton owes his fans an apology, and he owes himself a disclaimer.
Yes, I have been there subsequent to Craig's departure, and yes, I do believe that the quality has slipped a bit. While there is no question that the type of offerings, as well as the preparation of the food, are far superior to typical diner fare, I don't think that it is quite as good as when Mr. Shelton was still there.
Will I still dine at The Skylark?
Yes, without question, but since it is a bit pricey for this type of ambiance, I will do so only occasionally.