Friday, May 9, 2008

Blue Bottle Cafe - Hopewell, NJ

After several months of trying to get up to Blue Bottle Cafe in Hopewell, and not finding the time, tonight, we finally had the opportunity to dine at Blue Bottle, and what a great experience it was! We've heard many great things about the Blue Bottle Cafe in many newspapers, publication, magazines, and even on the wine boards, that it is one of the premier BYO's in the area. Upon driving up, it really doesn't look like much other than an old house, but upon walking in, you will find a great restaurant, with cozy decor, and lots of blue glass accents and bottles, hence the name. Tonight, we didn't have a reservation, but we were smart in getting out early to beat the crowds. I think we arrived at Blue Bottle around 5PM, and they were able to seat us in the back atrium, overlooking the woods and a creek. The staff was very friendly, and we started off by opening yet another 2004 Sanford pinot noir Santa Rita Hills. God we love this wine! We started off with an appetizer and salad: Pan Seared Crab Cake with Chick Pea Puree, Sauté of Chorizo, Leeks and Roasted Tomatoes, and Yellow Pepper Emulsion $12.00 Blue Bottle Salad: Mixed Baby Greens with sliced red Grapes, Toasted hazelnuts, red wine and honey Vinaigrette, shaved manchego cheese**$8.00 Both were absolutely delicious, and the preparation was gorgeous. As you might know, I am very picky when it comes to crab cakes. In mine, I don't use much filler, or anything else for that matter, as I really like to just taste the good crab. That said, I was a little bit weary, but I was pleasantly surprised. The crab cakes itself was delicious, and the chorizo, leeks, and roasted tomato were tasty. I ate the crab cake separate from all of this, but enjoyed the chorizo on it's own. It was a pleasant treat to say the least! As for the salad, that was great as well, with a very nice red wine and honey vinaigrette, that had great flavor, but was not over powering. The hazelnuts were a very nice touch, along with the delicious grapes, and most of all the manchego cheese. This was the perfect salad, and for us, splitting the salad and the crab cake was quite filling! As for our entrees, Zelda ordered the Roasted ‘Griggstown Farm’ Breast of Chicken with Braised Chicken and Spring Vegetable Risotto, Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic Jus $25.00. I did not try her chicken, however, the risotto was great, cooked absolutely perfectly, and was very Spring-esq and refreshing. Very tasty! The chicken was nothing to write home about, and wasn't necessarily bland, but it was lacking some zing and pizazz. It could have just used something else, but I cannot put my tongue on exactly what that is. Myself, I ordered the Duo of Beef - Pan Roasted Painted Hills Cote de Boeuf with Ribeye Braciola, Parmesan Polenta Cake, Asparagus, Grape Tomato Relish and Natural Beef Jus $34.00. This was absolutely gorgeous, and the meat could not have been cooked any better! I ordered it medium, and it came out perfectly medium. The flavors were great, they were great cuts of meat, and it tasted like meat, not a bunch of flavors and spices trying to cover up a mediocre piece of meat. Even the polenta was good, and I am not even a polenta fan. There is something about the texture of polenta that just does not do it for me. The asparagus on the side too was wonderful, and the dish also had some very nice grape tomatoes. All the veggies were perfectly cooked, and they were a nice side item that added great flavors to the dish. All in all, yet another good BYO in the local area, or just a 30 minute drive or so. I can't say that it was excellent, but I can say that by the time my entree came, I was not all that hungry. That said, we need to come back again in the future, skip the appetizer and salad, and then we will be able to give it a more accurate review I think. Great service, good food, and a romantic little place to take your wife out on a date! I look forward to going back in the future! Cheers! The Blue Bottle Cafe 101 East Broad Street Hopewell, NJ 08525 Phone: (609)333-1710 Http://

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