veal chop

Ewing Chic (Erini Restaurant and Bar)

Erini Restaurant and Bar, 1140 River Rd., Ewing, NJ
Open 7 days; Lunch served 11:30 AM-4 PM M-Sa; Dinner M-Th 4 PM-9 PM, 4 PM-10 PM F-Sa, 3 PM-8 PM Su
(609) 882-0303   Website    Google Maps

Gravitas:   Decor:   Cost:   Proximity:

Erini delivers ambitious food with little pretension and a soupçon of charm.   For dinner, it’s not cheap, exactly, but a couple can dine on memorable food, split a better-than-decent bottle of wine, and walk away for around $100.  At lunch (or any time at the bar), the food is much less ambitious, but almost a bargain.  Here the emphasis is entré salads, burgers, and sandwiches at about $10-12/plate.

Take, for example, the veal chop (a dinner special) pictured in the header.  The chop itself was expertly grilled, topped with an arugula salad.  The asparagus were  also grilled, tender but still crisp, and topping possibly the best risotto I’ve ever sampled: creamy, garlicky, and complex.  At $32, not cheap, but I would challenge you to find a better entree at the price in any fine-dining establishment in the county (December 2017 prices).

The wine list has a large number of bottles in the $30-40 range.  The wine waiter knows the wine list, and could offer useful advice.  We ended up ordering an Australian Syrah (one of 3 on the menu) that was superb.  Often I feel ripped off by typical restaurant wine lists, but not this bottle.

bistro burgerA typical lunch offering is the “Bistro Burger”, a hand-formed patty, char grilled, topped with caramelized balsamic onions, brie cheese, and pork belly, on a brioche bun.  At $10.90 including the fries, a steal in comparison to most “upscale” burger joints.

Desserts are also superb.  Erini is family owned, run by a father and son, both of whom are CIA trained (no, not the deep state, but the Culinary Institute of America).  Nick, the son, who runs the kitchen is a pastry specialist.  pumpkin cheesecakeAt night, parking is by valet. During the holiday season the entry path is heavily decorated. During the day (pictured here) it’s a little cheesy looking, but at night, with sparkly lights and space heaters reducing the chill, it’s kind of magical.

holiday decorationsErini is extremely popular and the dining room not terribly large. Reservations are strongly recommended.

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