Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No Sign of Sammy's

Drive a few miles past Mendham and you are in another time and land. Take care not to be distracted by the gentleman farms or the steeply winding road ahead of you; there is no sign to let you know that Sammy’s Ye Old Cider Mill ( is there. The parking lot is the only tip-off, set just off the road across from the crumbling mill. Enter through the formerly screened front porch, or from the back if you can’t find a space up front. This former Prohibition era speakeasy (hence no sign out front) really bustles on a Saturday night with "multi-hour" waits for a table. Place your order in the dining room and go downstairs to the bar, play a few games of pinball, have a classic shaken cocktail like their famous "historic" Gin Martini, and smile as people in the know, like yourself line up for a few drinks amongst friends before dinner. Food: Choices are extensive, we always get the Shrimp Cocktail that is comprised of 3 prawn sized shrimp, sweet and lemony as if just plucked from the steamer, then flash cooled for your plate, served with fresh cocktail sauce, brimming with hot horseradish. But Prime Aged Steak is king here. Prime aged beef. How about a Rib Eye, studded with crunchy fat? Maybe you'd enjoy a bone in NY Strip? They have double cut lamb chops too, plus a commendable hand ground burger that rivals the best available in New York. Nearly everything is made in house by loving hands. Try the appetizer portion of pasta with garlic and oil with excellent bread and the made in house red wine vinegar doused-lettuce, tomato and red onion tossed salad that comes with the meal. Freshly steamed local corn greeted us with our steaks, as well as the show-stopper-the double cooked French Fries, Crispy, searing hot and salty… Get yourself some Heinz Ketchup and dig right in. Go ahead and use your fingers, everyone else does too. Fish is handled with the same care and love as the steaks. Wild Salmon was the choice the other night, cooked perfectly to exactly the requested temp. Service is always with a smile. The seventy year old murals of verdant farms which surround you inside of the dining rooms serve to connect you with the past. Bring a group of your friends, but if they’re from the area, they’ll already know everyone at Ye Old Cider Mill. It’s that kind of place. NJ My Way Food & Wine Contributor Warren Bobrow grew up on a farm in Morristown and is a contributing editor of the Stockton-based Wild River Review ( NJ My Way is always on Facebook and Twitter!

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