Eating in Philly: and
Best Dishes: of 2016

The Barrow House: Clifton, NJ


First things first: they have to rope off that entrance that faces the parking lot, since everyone thinks it's a way in, and every guest walks up to the door before realizing it's locked, including me.

Second things second: that burger is horrible. Something must be done about it.

Other than that, we had a very enjoyable meal at Barrow House.

The place seems to have an excellent staff (not much unlike its sister restaurant, Cowan's Public in Nutley). It's a stunning looking restaurant, with attention to detail at every turn (including a photo booth, in which you can have your silly photos taken and sent immediately to you via email). The place looks like it came out of the Farmhouses-R-Us catalog. The restaurant has several different rooms, each with a slight variation on the theme. Fireplaces in about every room.  And a lounge room with couches and big chairs. Certainly a bit kitschy, but executed well. 


Some cornbread hits the table on a piece of slate as a nosh. Good stuff. Served with some sort of sweet whipped butter. We devoured the first slate's worth, and it was quickly refilled. And then we devoured the second slate's worth. Good stuff, again.


They've got an excellent cocktail list at The Barrow House. Really interesting stuff here. It's nice to see mezcal on a menu, and it's even nicer to see it in my glass.  The beer list is equally as impressive, although we didn't dig into it during this visit.


Crispy pork tails are not much unlike ribs. Served with a sweet, sticky sauce, and a few roasted Brussels sprouts. Quite enjoyable. Good pub grub.


Everyone wanted to try the apple chutney quesadilla. Cheddar and queso fresco, cipollini onion, micro cilantro, hot oil, some nuts, on a flour tortilla. I'm not one for flour tortillas, but this was a fine quesadilla. A nicely composed dish. Attention to detail is a theme here.


The plating of the chicken liver was quite unfortunate, as it looked like a turd on a plate. It was a bit too irony for my taste, but I'm not a big fan of chicken liver. I do enjoy it when it doesn't have that irony flavor, though. I guess that means I don't like chicken liver very much. I probably would have enjoyed it more with a glass of red wine, rather than with the cocktail I was drinking. Next time.


We thought the mushroom risotto was quite good. The missus said it would be better with some truffles shaved over it, but this is Clifton, not Florence. Suck it up and eat your button mushrooms.


But that burger. My goodness this thing was awful. The patty is really small, and in my case, overcooked and dry. The cheese tastes like processed American. Like the stuff where each slice is individually wrapped. The onions are shaved super thin, leading them to have the consistency of hair.  The fries could have been good had they been crisp. And a bit more seasoned. And had their been less of them.  On the bright side the bun was OK.

This burger needs some help.

Overall we're looking forward to returning the The Barrow House. It's brand new, and they've got  potential.  It's visually stunning. It's clear The Barrow House is managed well, with vision, and determination. There's a lot good here already.

The Barrow House : 1926 Van Houton Ave : Clifton, NJ : 862.336.7070