I dined at the Blue Heron Tavern on Swartswood Lake (Sussex County) this past Sunday for the first time. The whole experience was remarkably good. I didn’t have any expectations going in (not knowing anything about it at all), and it was really, unexpectedly, probably the best meal I’ve had in the last year of dining out.
Four of us met at 4:30 (pre- 7 pm show at the Newton Theatre) for cocktails in the bar. It’s a really nice looking, warm, comfortable room. Two great bartenders. We had a couple of specialty drinks, including one with a rhubarb & ginger gin and another with pear vodka. It would have been great to return to the bar after dinner, but with the performance that night, we’ll have to make this a destination on its own another time.
On to dinner. Starters were good – a cream of forest mushroom soup and a classic romaine Caesar salad (with extra anchovies on the side) – but the main dishes really shined:
– Herb crusted chicken breast (with sauteed swiss chard, mashed potato, heirloom tomato bruschetta, and white wine au jus)
– Lump crab crusted Faroe Island salmon
– Seared scallops (with spring pea creamy risotto, snap peas, sauteed oyster mushrooms, lemon beurre blanc)
– Black peppercorn crusted elk tenderloin (with foie gras truffle whipped potato, haricot verts, topped with fried onions, whole grain mustard cream)
The only nit-picking minor criticism was from me: I thought the mustard cream with the elk tenderloin didn’t really add anything to the dish and was a bit too generous of a serving. But the meat was done wonderfully medium-rare. Main courses ran about $40-$48 each. The wine list has a nice and ranging variety to it. We ended up with a tasty 1er cru Chablis.
The Blue Heron Tavern is located on Swartswood Lake at The North Shore House, 912 Swartswood Rd., Newton, NJ. The property has been the location of the North Shore House, a classic lake resort, since 1938. It looks like a great spot for weddings and events.
By the way, this was also my first time at the Newton Theatre. I thought it was (again, unexpectedly) a pretty good venue to see live music.