Cranbury Inn in Historic Cranbury, NJ
I want to take back the bad things I said about the food here, in my original post. Okay, maybe not, but let me at least give Cranbury Inn a chance to redeem itself. I brought my mom here and forewarned that the food would not be the best, but that the point of going was to dine inside the historic inn. I went with a caprese salad with a glass of beaujolais, while my mom went with the rainbow trout. Upon arrival of the food, I was thankful for giving my disclaimer, but was totally surprised at how delicate and delicious the fish was!
We were also fortunate that our server was so charming and attentive. I asked him how they did during the hurricane, and he shared that they actually hosted a wedding at the inn on the eve of Hurricane Irene, and thankfully did not suffer the way neighboring towns had with loss of power and flooding. Anyway, my mom joked that the place reminded her of The Shining, and our server snickered at that.
Original post below from 2/12/11
I've finally done it. I've managed to dine at all the eateries on the little strip of Main Street in Cranbury. My family dined at Cranbury Inn for lunch today, also in honor of my grandmother's 95th birthday with whom we could not celebrate in person as she is in the Philippines. I didn't want to go to any old place, so instead I chose a historic place-- pun intended.
I have to say that the Cranbury Inn's website does not do this place any justice. Blame it on bad photography or bad choice of fonts, but whatever it was, it did not convey the most important selling point of this place which is its antique charm. For starters, my daughter observed that there are decorated plates displayed throughout the inn, even in the restroom! They've also got knickknacks on display that can best antique shops, such as a framed stagecoach rifle from the days when stagecoaches carried rifles (presumably) and antiquated cash registers (as shown above). The seating in the dining room, seating by the fireplace, and wood paneling are all perfect for cozying up on a cold winter day. At night, I'm sure this place would be a perfectly romantic spot to share wine and words with a significant other.
If you haven't noticed already, it has taken me to the third paragraph to get to the food. And there is a reason for that-- it just wasn't that good. Of all the savory foods, I'd say the best part of it was the mozzarella in our caprese salad. My crab cake was supposed to have fresh Maryland crab meat (I asked to make sure) but apart from it being made with real crab, there was nothing fresh about it. My son complained that his chicken was dry, probably because the cut was thicker than how he usually likes his francaise. And though I criticized my husband for picking a boring old chicken wrap, his pick was actually the most worthwhile-- and he added that they probably make good burgers. My daughter ordered grilled cheese off the kids' menu, so there was no going wrong there.
Thankfully, the dessert saved the day. I asked which dessert was the "chocolatiest" and the waiter suggested The Dark Side of the Moon. To appease my picky eaters, we also ordered a NY cheesecake. Their presentation and sized-for-sharing portions made me so happy that it did not take me to the dark side of-- but over-- the moon.
Funny enough, I'd go back to this place. Yes, I love to eat, but eating is not everything! All the staff, from waitstaff to managerial level, were all so pleasant, attentive, and welcoming. The Cranbury Inn itself is also so photogenic that I could go just for the photo ops. It has really earned its place in my heart for transporting me to the olden days when dining meant more than just providing sustenance for your family, but was also about sharing an experience and creating memories from it.