Monday, March 21, 2011

Peacock Inn

Foodie Fish

Who would have known that some of the finest food in town comes from such an unsuspecting place? The Peacock Inn has been around for ages, but their restaurant only opened up last year. Already, Peacock Inn’s restaurant has been able to earn itself a great reputation. It has become quite celebrated by many reviews, and it even made it on to the list of best restaurants by the Star Ledger newspaper. Although this restaurant may seem over the top with all the praise and distinction, it has a strangely “down-home” feel about it. The setting was elegant with a starry-lit ceiling, and there was a very comfortable and relaxed feel as well. The restaurant stayed true to its name with peacock decorations everywhere. Its interior design was well thought out and artistic. The lighting was dim, yet it was bright and lively compared to the dark night sky.

This restaurant was not kidding when it said that their staff was committed to personalized service. Our waitress made us feel as though we were being served by someone who truly cared about our opinion. She was constantly checking up on us to see if we needed anything, or if we were satisfied with our food. I noticed that all the other waiters behaved in the same pleasant manner. Every time you would get up to go to the bathroom, that same waitress would personally fold your napkin. When the wine selector brought the wine-pairings for each course to the table, he really took his time in explaining why he chose the particular wine, and why it will enhance the taste of the food.

The food was contemporary and minimalistic. Each dish focused on one flavor that would be brought out by all the highest quality and freshest ingredients. The pan seared scallop appetizer had the right amount of sear on the scalloped, and paired wonderfully with the potent flavors of the citrus vinaigrette along with the tart apple fennel puree. Scottish Salmon “En Croute” had the best combination of textures—the crispy shell of puff pastry, the creamy white asparagus puree, the flakey salmon—that was complemented by a array of flavor coming from the pickled red onion. Most their dishes are simple. There is something about them that tasted as homemade as something your mother would make. Of course there were also a few interesting takes on other dishes that made the food that “New American” cuisine every critic is looking for these days. Chef Perez’s take on Mojo braised suckling pig was very sophisticated. This pork was of course not served whole, but instead like a filet mignon with a papaya cilantro salad and crispy yucca. The yucca on top of the guava gastrique was like elevated fries with ketchup. No matter what the chef made, it tasted like a super-advanced version of home cooking or comfort food made with a lot of finesse.

The evening ended with decadent and creative desserts such s’mores bread pudding, crème brulee tart, chocolate and dried fig pudding cake. All desserts were very well done and a great encore of the chef’s cooking. While leaving this restaurant, there is the satisfaction from an excellent meal and the friendly servers. There was something about this restaurant that made it seem so traditional that you almost want to thank the chef for your meal. The last things you will see when exiting this restaurant are the smiling faces of all the people who had served you that night.

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