Blue Willow Cafe and MarketPlace - New Vernon
We have been going here for breakfast for the past year every odd Sunday - the place is unusually bright and clean with warm polished farmhouse paneling and country tables and chairs and a huge high ceiling that makes a comfortably sized room feel spacious.
Breakfast has always been good - highlighted by home made sausage patties and on site made jams and fresh juices and different coffee offerings. Basic fare but some interesting gluten free offerings (french toast and pancakes) which help a friend we eat there occasionally with.
They have been promoting dinner service on Wed to Sunday night and we tried it for the first time on Friday.
It is BYOB and we brought a nice bottle of cab - the wine glasses were stubby thick affairs - but our server opened up our bottle pleasantly and served us some great warm home made bread and water immediately. Room was about half full but we showed up at 9 PM - they said they were full earlier and the stay open and serve until 9:30.
Menu special was a Prime Rib, and they had Salmon fish tacos on the nightly menu - we ordered both as well as a greek salad to start along with a special appetizer of red peppers and asparagus served with a caeser dipping sauce.
The appetizer of peppers and asparagus was bright and fresh, the asparagus snapped fresh and the roasted red peppers were wrapped around them - food was tasty and fun - caeser was tangy but seemed bottled and we probably would have preferred a ranch dip but it was fun to have something different.
The Greek salad was dressed with a tangy red wine vinaigrette - ample kalamata olives, onions and feta, cherry tomatoes and chopped romaine - it was substantive but not too large - it was done very well.
The prime rib special was HUGE, cooked just as ordered, medium rare and accompanied with fresh string beans, mash potatoes and a horseradish sauce. It was perfect and there was more than enough to make a second meal when we brought it home later.
The Salmon tacos were even larger than the prime rib - Two huge salmon steaks were placed inside huge burrito sized flour taco shells and mixed with pea shoots and black beans, not enough to smother the fish , just enough to compliment it. sour cream and a mild bottled based salsa were served along side. The fish was firm and seemed very fresh, roasted with just some salt and pepper on top, it was great on its own and fun to roll up in the huge shell mixed with the sides.
We passed on desert and coffee as it was getting late but we never felt rushed, they brought us cookies and to our surprise a pint of mushroom soup the said would go great with the left over prime rib the next day (they were right!).
Overall a very nice BYO experience in a very friendly environment - we will go many more times to come. The bill amounted to $58 before tax and tip.