Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Black Horse Pub

Type: Upscale Pub Grub
Location: 1 W. Main St., Mendham, NJ, 07945

Price Range: soups and salads start around $5; entrees range from $10 - $33.

This is our go-to place for pub grub. It has gotten more expensive over the years, but what can I say? It's as reliable as ever. If you go on a Friday or Saturday night, you'll need to get there by (or before) 6pm, to avoid a long wait. Otherwise, go for lunch or a late afternoon "dinner." Once they get busy, and have a line out the door, your 20 minute wait could easily turn into 45, and it gets really noisy inside. Bear in mind that this pub was once the stable for the inn next door, and dates back to the 1800s; the roof structure is completely exposed, beams, sheathing, and all, so the acoustics are awful.

The biggest hitch, however isn't the wait. It's the valet-only parking, if you use their adjacent lot, and by the time you do that, you're sort of stuck waiting, unless you want to fork over a couple of bucks to the valet to have him bring out your car, so you can go elsewhere. Chances are really good that the valet doesn't know how to drive a manual shift car, so if you have one, you may have to give him a crash course. On-street parking in Mendham is very limited, unless you want to use a side street and walk a few blocks, which is fine in the summer, but not in the dead of winter.

On to the menu: you can get everything from French onion soup, to burgers, to club sandwiches, to boiled lobster with the usual clarified butter. In the old days, it used to serve a really nice chicken pot pie, but that's no longer on the menu. What is still a classic on the menu, though, is a bacon & blue cheese burger. It's one of those huge-ass 8 oz. ones, so I peel it off the (really good, lightly toasted, challah-like) bun/roll, scrape the cheese onto the burger, and eat it essentially naked, because I don't want to waste valuable stomach space on the bread. The bacon/blue burger is always cooked just the way you order it. I like mine medium-rare. It's a fail-safe option, and a really good burger.

Pros: reliable grub; on-site parking
Cons: pricey for pub grub; very noisy during dinner hours; kids running all around; long lines after 6pm on weekend nights

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