Each week, Patch picks a great restaurant either in town or nearby that is worth checking out. Here's this week's choice:
Address: 311 Amwell Road, Hillsborough
Overview: Pheasants Landing specializes in American and Continental fare, with a focus on German and German-inspired food. With both a sit-down restaurant and an underground pub—the pub features live music on weekends—the restaurant allows for both sit-down meals and casual drinks. It also has an outdoor beer garden during warmer months and a room to reserve for weddings and celebrations, as well as offering catering services.
Décor: The restaurant evokes an old-world, European feel, with paned windows and hardwood flooring. Don’t let the décor fool you though—it still maintains a casual atmosphere, which is accented by the friendly service.
The Drinks: Pheasants Landing has a full bar, with many selections of wine, bottled and draft beers. Particular standouts include local offerings, such as wines from Unionville Vineyards, in nearby Ringoes and beer from Climax Brewing Company in Roselle Park.
The Entrees: Pheasant’s Landing offers European-inspired appetizers, salads and entrees, but also caters to American tastes too. All the meals are prepared fresh and made-to-order— even though it may take longer to get one’s food than while at a chain-style restaurant, the wait is more than worth it, because the food is far better than anything ever served at any chain restaurant.
You’ll have a choice between seafood entrees, like the trout, salmon or the traditional fish-and-chips, different salads, sandwiches, sauerbraten and wiener schnitzel on the tradition menu. The menu has a section for “lighter fare” for those who are keeping an eye on their eating.
But we were out to check the restaurant’s game menu, which is only available until January 31. It’s a little pricier than the regular entrees, but for the chance to try ostrich, bison, boar, venison or pheasant, it’s worth the expense. My dining partner noted, “While the game menu is a little pricier (between $20.50 and $26. 50) than restaurants I’m accustomed to going to regularly, it is well worth the price, not only because of the novelty of eating game in a casual setting, but the portions are very generous not only in size, but in flavor and taste.”
I should note: it’s the second time we’ve sampled the game menu. The first, where we ordered the Board Medallions (three, wrapped in bacon, with Jack Daniels sauce, vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes) and the Game Sampler (bison steak, duck sausage, venison and boar with Spaetzle and red cabbage), brought us back for more.
This time, we began our meal with an order of the restaurant’s Rosti, a potato pancake with onions and ham. A single portion is large enough for two people—I found I was too stuffed to finish my actual meal, but the restaurant wrapped my remaining food—which is something to keep in mind, depending on your order. Despite being fried, it’s not greasy. It’s a little hard to share neatly, my dining partner felt, but we both enjoyed it.
Our meals, both venison, arrived shortly after. I opted for the Reh Pfeffer, which translates to “deer pepper”, a stew with mushrooms and pearl onions that served with Spaetzel and red cabbage.
It’s more of a meat-and-gravy dish than what’s traditionally thought of as a stew, but that’s good thing. It’s also incredibly flavorful, and the venison tender.
My dining partner ordered the venison medallions, which come with Spaetzel and red cabbage.
He said, “The aesthetics of the plate were fantastic. The earthy tones of the venison, mushrooms, and Spaetzel were accented by the reds of the cabbage and cranberry. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about the creamy hunter’s sauce, but it was not a heavy sauce, and the venison was not overly covered in it either, allowing for the deer meat to provide most of the flavor for the meal. The Spaetzel, while not the best I’ve ever had, was still delicious, and the red cabbage was extremely tasty. The biggest surprise was the poached apple, which added just a hint of sweet to this savory delicious meal.”
The Service: On a Thursday evening, we were seated quickly, and drink orders were placed and delivered just moments later by our pleasant and hardworking waitress, who was competent and attentive throughout the course of the evening without being overbearing.
Joseph Harvie contributed to this review.