Rocky Hill, NJ 08553
- Credit Cards: All Major
- Alcohol: Full Bar
- Parking: Private Lot
January 21, 2013
The Rocky Hill Inn, a tavern since 1745, is the perfect place to enjoy one of New Jersey’s best pub burgers while sipping a cold brew.
Rocky Hill, a tiny borough of 682 people, is nestled alongside the Millstone River in the Southeast corner of Somerset County, just north of Princeton off Route 206. General George Washington made Rocky Hill his last Revolutionary War Headquarters while the Continental Congress met in Princeton in 1783.
I don’t know whether General Washington visited this spot, but you can imagine walking in his footsteps when you visit the Rocky Hill Inn. We arrived on a blustery January Friday as a troop of eight for lunch. Maybe my brother-in-law and his family brought our good luck. Without a reservation, the hostess seated us in the semi-private “turret” dining room, a cozy hexagonal space with one round table just off the wood-panneled bar.
Your first decision, if you are a beer fan, is which of the seventeen rotating draughts to try. Our group sampled widely – our favorite: the double “Sweet Action” from Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery. Anything on tap goes well with one of chef/owner Evan Blomgren’s gourmet sandwiches. The “Rocky Hill Inn Burger” is carefully constructed, with a thick pub-style burger (a strip steak, short rib, and pancetta blend), cheddar cheese strips, applewood-smoked bacon, grilled red onions and a sunny side up fried egg on a soft, brioche bun. I admit, I am a sucker for fried eggs on burgers. It can get a little messy to pick up and eat, with warm yolk spreading over the burger and onto your fingers, but the decadent mouthfuls are worth it. This burger took fourth place in a New Jersey Monthly burger challenge. I rank it second among the Jersey pub-style burgers I’ve tried, behind the Next Door burger. Very good thin, crisp fries accompany the burger.
Other sandwiches worth a try are the BBQ Pulled Pork and Gruyere Cheese Panini. Try some of the delicious small plates too, like Devils on Horseback – smoked bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with poached pear and bleu cheese, and the mac & cheese with chunks of bacon. The full menu served in the tavern and more formal dining room includes salads, appetizers and entrees like Old Speckled Hen Beer Battered Cod and Moroccan Rack of Lamb.
Friendly service, a decadent pub burger and good beer in a Colonial-era Jersey tavern. I can’t imagine a better meal to start the New Year.