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Holiday Dinner with MIL - Near Bridgewater

Well, it's that time of year when my DH and I take his mother out for a holiday dinner. It usually is left to me where to dine, (because if left to her, we'd be eating at a Lone Star or New Orleans Family Restaurant type place). For the past 3 or 4 years, we've taken her to McCormick & Schmick's in the Bridgewater Commons (but that's getting old now). So, I'm hoping to find a nice place that isn't too "fancy schamncy" (although that is what I 'd prefer, this is her dinner, not mine).

I am looking for recommendations that are NOT Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Deli, Thai, Sushi or geared to a "young" crowd (i.e., retro-modern). I think you get the idea--something American or maybe even European Continental. I'm fairly familiar with the restaurants in Somerville,, but am drawing a blank (I've already been told "no" to my suggestions of Main Street Bistro, Melting Pot, Shumi, Verve and Gabriela's). We are willing to travel about 10-12 miles, so it doesn't have to be exactly in Somerville or Bridgewater. Perhaps a nice Inn style restaurant?

Help, please!

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  1. What about Maggiano's in Bridgewater Commons? It is decorated nicely for the holiday and imo is not too fancy schamancy, I've been there several times and the food is very good.

    1. What about Sophie's Bistro in Somerset?? The food is awesome, French bistro style cuisine, not too expensive, and not a chain! They also have a very good affordable wine list. The mussels are to die for. Good luck!

      1. What about the Bonefish Grill on 22 in Greenbrook?

        1. Gwendolen, have just the place for you and its only a few miles from Bridgewater. Girasole in Bound Brook serves excellent Italian food in a nice dining area. Many very good reviews and the service is top notch.


          You don't mention Italian in your post so I'm assuming that is OK. Enjoy!

          1. Wow, I'm drawing a blank too because very few of the places I can think of meet all your criteria. I too thought of Maggiano's but ruled it out because it's crowded, noisy and does seem to attract a young crowd. Plus, I don't like the food!

            Of the restaurants mentioned thus far, I would go with Girasole. It too can be crowded but it might work.

            Some others to consider are Cafe Emilia, Tapastre and da Filippo's. da Filippo's may be a little too fancy for your MIL but it's a nice spot, usually quiet on a week night.




            BTW, I have been told that New Orleans has undergone some significant changes recently. Even though the old name is still there, it too will apparently change in the near future. Perhaps you should check it out to see what's been going on and whether it might work.

              1. The restaurant you are describing is The Afton in Florham Park. A few extra miles, I would guess it is 20 miles from Bridgewater. It is not an ethnic restaurant, just about every table has a couple of 70+ diners, with most tables being grandparents and their children/grandchildren.

                It is the restaurant you have described.

                1. Another possiblity is The Old Mill Inn in Bernardsville, a few miles closer than The Afton, and also an excellent match to what you indicate you are looking for.

                    1. The Tavern Room at the Pluckemin Inn on 206 should be perfect. Not too fancy, too young or too old. Just the right mix of company in an airy room attached to the historic inn with a dedicated menu of lighter fare. I imagine you and hubby could also order off the main dining menu for some more complex offerings.