I literally held my hand over my heart I was so pleased with the wine list at Jockey Hollow in Morristown.
And then there were the oysters — so fresh, so clean, so succulent. (Almost all from New Jersey, too.)
The char, crisp and unctuous, atop bitter greens, sweet squash and salty blue cheese.
The gnocchi, feathery and rich, all at once.
And the setting. In the former Vail Mansion, built at the turn of the century for an AT&T executive, it’s opulent but sophisticated. Not overwhelming, not rococo.
We had lunch in the Oyster Bar:
But there is also the Vail Bar, a speakeasy-style lounge:
A dining room that overlooks the fountains and pools in the front of the building (the chefs were meeting in there so I only photographed the menu):
And a Rathskeller, where they do live music.
The building was painstakingly restored by restaurateur Chris Cannon, who got his start at JUdson Grill and ended up being a managing partner at Convivo, Alta and, his crown jewel, Marea. After a split with Michael White, the chef there, he retreated to Jersey to open something near his hometown.
He has succeeded in spades. My first meal was a joy. It won’t be my last.