What screams summer more than a clam bake? Cracking open a delicious lobster while sipping on a cool glass of sauvignon blanc, it doesn’t get much better than that. Indulging under glistening lights on the patio of The Ryland Inn made it exceptional.
I was invited to The Ryland Inn’s Coastal Seafood Fest. After hearing many good things about the respected fine-dining destination, which provides gourmet, farm-fresh cuisine in an elegant country setting, I was excited. The Ryland Inn is tucked away amid Hunterdon County farmland. As I drove up to the inn, the setting was absolutely charming. No detail was missed, from the stunning chandeliers, to Thomas’s friendly greeting at the door. We were escorted through the gorgeous dining room to the secluded outdoor bar and patio.
We sat at the bar and started with a signature cocktail. Mine was called “Trip Back East”: a little gin, a little cantaloupe and lime; perfect. We were then seated at our table. Dinner began with a peppercorn biscuit and butter. I could have eaten 10 of these. Then a Jersey garden fresh salad and seafood bisque soup. The salad was fresh and crisp with goat cheese and grilled eggplant. The soup, creamy and delicately flavored by the sea.
The “pièce de résistance” was a large, wrought-iron pot stuffed with two large lobsters, potatoes, corn on the cob, shrimp, clams and mussels, all in a steaming hot broth. There was, of course, butter and lemon on the side for dipping and squeezing. I put my napkin on and dove in.
I started cracking my piping hot lobster and went straight for the tail, of course. It was sweet and delicious. Perfectly cooked and so large I could barely finish it. Hot towels came out to make our clean up nice and easy. I sipped my glass of sauvignon blanc as they prepared to bring out dessert.
The sun had set and the lights above were twinkling. Cherry and lemon tart arrived with a dollop of homemade mint and chocolate ice cream on top. It was a simple delight. I was left wondering what the rest of the menu at The Ryland Inn was like and made a plan to return soon to indulge.