Stage House, Scotch Plains, NJ
I attended a confirmation party this weekend at the Stage House in Scotch Plains. I arrived to the location a few minutes early and my initial impression was, “Ok I see they were going for economy above quality in picking the location for the party”. It’s a very old and “rustic” look to the place. Not that there is anything wrong with that……but it certainly looked more like a burger place than a sit down dinner place. There is a large bar and courtyard in the back where the parking is located and the way that I entered the restaurant.
There was a sign posted behind the large outside bar which was titled “The 10 Commandment’s of the Free BBQ”………..I read the 10 commandments and it seems they offer unlimited BBQ items for consumption with your drinks (I don’t know the days or times for this promotion or the exact BBQ food served)….the food is FREE……there is NO obligation to pay for any of the food, it is all you can eat. You are requested to pay whatever you feel is appropriate for what you received, in return for which you will receive a gift certificate for use in the formal dining room of the restaurant. Score +1 for a very creative promotion.
I entered the main dining room and rustic is a pretty accurate word for the place. Old wooden floors, I’m sure the original building is of historic nature of some sort, old Stage Coach House or something of that nature. The wood beams are barely passable, I’m 6’4 and I ducked under them. Again, not a place I would likely frequent based on it’s curb appeal. (or lack there of).
There was a limited menu for the party the options were as follows:
Appitizer; Cesar Salad, Onion Soup, Shrimp Tortilla with Avocado, Ravioli
Entrée: Chicken Parm, Salmon, Braised Beef Short Rib
Desert; Molton Cake, Crème Brulee, Brownie Ala mode
I had the Cesar salad, short ribs and crème brulee, all of which were EXCELLENT. I was honestly amazed…..the short ribs were delicious and tender as can be, falling apart with your fork and being able to be cut the same. It was served with mashed potato’s and red cabbage both of which accompanied the dish wonderfully. The crème brulee was light with a perfectly melted, crisp sugary top.
My wife had the shrimp appetizer and the salmon with molton cake desert. The shrimp appetizer didn’t come out as expected by menu description but again it was excellent, as well as her salmon (by her word of mouth I won’t touch that stuff, actually I love raw salmon sushi etc, just can’t stand it cooked, is it just me???). She also gave high marks to the molton cake which she has a fickle sweet tooth to please.
My daughter had the chicken parm which was a HUGE breast…pounded thin but not obnoxiously paper thin. Flavor of sauce was very good as well. Out of the 30+- people at the gathering I didn’t hear one bad thing about the food. Talk about a pleasant surprise, as they say you can’t judge a book by its cover.
The outside courtyard really looks interesting and I wish I found myself in that area more often to make a point of checking it out. They advertise live music and bands so I can easily see this place being a really fun spot to hit. Between my experience with the food in the dining room, combined with the courtyard, band, and BBQ special, really does make this place somewhere I would suggest checking out.
I attended a baby shower there about 2 years ago and also had an excellent experience. The food was delicious and the service was great. I drive by there on occasion and they always have something fun going on. During the summer months they open up "the barn" and have bands during the week. Anyway, glad you enjoyed it.
The chef is Eric Hambrecht who was the chef at the Frog and the Peach in New Brunswick about a decade ago. He is a very good chef.
Attended an anniversary party there recently. A private room was booked but the restaurant wound up overbooking with an earlier party and didn't ask them to leave. Our group wound up in a smaller space but the servers provided complimentary appetizers and champagne for our willingness to accept a very last minute room change. Our large party enjoyed various entrees. I recall grilled salmon, fish & chips, the ribs, mixed salads, ravioli two ways. a seasonal salad, burgers and sandwiches. Everyone was satisfied and the restaurant permitted our party planners to bring in a cake for a local bakery (which I thought was very understanding given the nice dessert menu Stage House offers). I also recall thinking that the wine pours were generous for the price ($5/glass). SH has been around forever, parking fills fast but there is parking all over the main drag. The bar was hoppin!
one of our local favorites. bbq is Memorial Day to Labor Day and is a great deal. IIRC all of the meat is from directly across the street at John's Meat Market. You pay for any sides and drinks. At the end of the meal you can "pay" any price you wish and in return you will get a gift certificate of that amount to use in the main restaurant. At least that is the way it has worked in the past. I have never had a bad meal here. I have had filet mignon, chicken of various types, all you can eat raviolis on monday night, etc.
While I enjoyed this restaurant much better years ago, when it was more of a special occasion dinner place, not so "family" oriented, it still is very good almost all of the time. I think there's only been once where we were disappointed and they rectified it swiftly and efficiently.
We don't come here any longer for special celebrations but, when we want a really great burger it's probably one of the best places in the area I can think of. Plus, they have one of the best retro drink menus I've seen in ages. I mean, where else can you get a Pink Squirrel these days?