Venturing out into the Burbs of NJ

A few nights ago I had dinner plans with a friend who suggested we step out of the usual comfort zone of nearby restaurants and venture out into Stirling NJ to a restaurant called the Stone House at Stirling Ridge.  It’s fairly new and used to be the location of a catering hall in its past life; one which I remembered going to a wedding at years ago.  Many people don’t expect to find a quality restaurant in the middle of nowhere in a suburb in New Jersey (there are many out there by the way).  It really is not close to anything, up a windy road in the Watchung Mountains, and one would have to know about it to go there.  But apparently it has quickly become a hotspot in the area and is often very crowded.   We went late on a rainy, Wednesday night so not that many had ventured out as we had.

We decided to sit at the bar and have a drink before dinner and ended up staying there for our meal as well.  The ambiance at the bar is welcoming, casual and chic at the same time and resided upon by our friendy bartender, Ben.  The bar itself is very well stocked with some hard to find single malts, bourbons, tequilas and house infused vodkas (lemon, orange, jalapeno, horseradish & vanilla). 

What caught my eye immediately however was the bottle of Rangpur gin.  I can count on one hand the number of places I have been to that stock this gin.  And forget trying to find Rangpur and diet tonic water at the same bar!  If you don’t like gin, this is the one to try at least once.  If you like gin, Rangpur’s infusion of special limes from, where else but Rangpur, makes it more aromatic and smoother than most gins.  I won’t dilute this gin with anything so I ordered a martini with just a touch of vermouth. 

We were having a great time catching up and pretty soon all the talking made us hungry.  I ordered Braised Short Rib with Polenta & Broccoli Rabe and my friend order a Pork Chop.  I must be craving red meat lately as I ordered short ribs last week at dinner at Amanda’s in Hoboken.  Those were good too, but tonight’s were absolutely perfect.  The combination of flavors and textures of the ingredients was sheer harmony in my mouth.  I asked Ben to pour me a wine of his choosing to pair with my plate.  He chose a 2009 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Crest region of Washington state.  If you tend towards cabs from California, I recommend trying some from Washington state.  There are some amazing finds out there with a different style of wine making.  This one paired beautifully with my dinner.

We skipped dessert as I was still enjoying my wine and my friend ordered a drink called a ballbuster (I think that’s a made up name) to end our evening.  As is often the case with me, we closed the restaurant and went home very satisfied with our decision to go astray for the evening. If you live in, or are just visiting the Stirling NJ area, I would highly recommend checking out this restaurant.  I’ve heard it is also very good for Sunday brunch.  If you’ve been here before I would love to get your reactions to the place.
Happy Eating!!!
Swati
A big thank you to Ben for allowing me behind the bar for some of these shots.

4 Comments

  1. Ranjeet says:

    How does Rangpur compare to Tanq 10 or to Hendricks? Also used to love Malaga (?) which was also a Tanq variety but can't seem to find that around anymore.

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  2. Swati says:

    I have not heard of or tried the Malaga but must go searching for it. I prefer the flavor of Rangpur to Tanq 10 and Hendricks mostly for the fact that the strong juniper berry flavor gets a bit more balanced out with the lime infusion. Don't get me wrong, in a G & T I'm still a fan of Hendricks.

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  3. Swati says:

    Ranjeet, after doing some research (Wikipedia), I found out that the Malacca gin was discontinued by Tanqueray in 2004. Rangpur was introduced in 2006 only in a small market but is now distributed everywhere. The Malacca had an infusion of Grapefruit while the Rangpur has limes & bay leaf. Try it out and let me know what you think.

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