Chef Anthony Bucco has been one of my favourites for numerous years now. I followed him from one of his first endeavours – the opening of Uproot in Warren, NJ – to now his newest restaurant, The Ryland Inn. He never fails to delight with his creative and most importantly delicious food.
I last visited his restaurant a few weeks ago upon returning from completing yet another semester of university. It is always nice to go back to a restaurant where the staff is always so pleasant. We are always greeted by a French lady, who never fails to speak French with me. All the waiters and waitresses ensure your experience is nothing but exceptional and are willing to share stories with you. The general manager, Chris, takes his time to make sure that the dinner is all it can be and he always takes time to come over and talk to the table when the time is right. The same goes for Chef Bucco.
The night my family went out to dinner, my appetizer was a classic and a dish I have grown up eating – beef tartare. Chef Bucco’s food is always presented delightfully and the flavour never disappoints. I am quite a harsh critic of beloved dishes such as beef tartare, but this tartare was seasoned to perfection and the condiments only enhanced the quality steak highlighted in the dish. The evenly chopped steak was served with grain mustard, runny egg yolk (a must!), and parmesan crisps. I must have gobbled the entire appetizer down in less than two minutes.
My next course was fish. Whenever I go out to dinner, I like to have “land-protein” for one course and “sea-protein” for another. In this case, I started with beef, so I ordered pan-roasted tilefish. Tilefish is a white-fish that feeds mostly on crab and shrimp giving it a tender texture and slightly sweet flavour. Chef Bucco’s speciality is fish. It would be a mistake not to get fish at the Ryland Inn. The crisped tilefish was served with earthy oyster mushrooms, spring onions, and briny surf clams floating in a delicious, umami-packed beef dashi. The perfect bite was a flake of fish with a crunchy mushroom and onion dunked in the broth. The key was to use your spoon to eat this dish. The fish was so tender that a knife and fork was not even needed.
Dessert was simple, yet delicious. Chef Bucco’s homemade vanilla ice cream is milk-based, rather than cream-based, and it is a must-have! Strawberries are currently in season in New Jersey and this dish displayed the fresh fruit. The sweet strawberries were dressed with an aged balsamic vinegar and topped a delicate scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The dinner was delectable and I absolutely cannot wait to return to The Ryland Inn and soon!