A couple of people had mentioned this great restaurant in Flemington (“Flemington?”) named Matt’s Red Rooster Grill. So I was surfing the web looking for it. Not only did I find it, but imagine my delight then dismay when I realized they had planned a special dinner for that very night – “A Bacon Inspired Feast…” Three courses, prix fixe at $44, all involving some wonderful incarnation of bacon and meat. Mark would be thrilled. But it was for “Guys Only,” and, to add insult to injury, there would be a drawing for a very old, very good bottle of Scotch. The feminist in me growled – as did my stomach.
As it turned out, the “Guys Only” night was rescheduled to March due to the weather. Even though I begged – offered to come dressed as a man, etc. – I was told, alas, I could not attend the event. But Liam Burns, manager extraordinaire, offered us a seat at the “Chef’s Table,” that is, overlooking the grill and the line at this delicious BYOB. We also were offered the same prix fixe the guys upstairs were getting.
The meal began with grilled slab of bacon, over wilted baby spinach with warm apple cider vinaigrette. The entrée choices were: Double cut pork chop, bacon cheddar stuffed and a honey bourbon BBQ glaze; or day boat scallops with crispy bacon and caramelized apples. Dessert, believe it or not, was maple bread pudding with a crisp piece of molasses candied bacon on top. And, yes, it worked. Deliciously.
Some of you may know Chef/Owner Matt McPherson from his time as chef du cuisine at the Hamilton Grill Room in Lambertville. He’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a Hunterdon County native. In 2005 he turned this quaint old row home on a back street in Flemington into a destination restaurant (the New York Times has found it), serving fresh, local ingredients and innovative grill cuisine. Even as we got out of the car, we knew we’d be happy. We both paused to deeply inhale the smell of burning wood, and glanced over at the stacks of wood behind the restaurant. Later we would watch the line chef constantly feed the grill fire with these tasty logs.
While the food is great anywhere you sit at Matt’s Red Rooster, we personally recommend sitting at the four counter seats that overlook the grill. If you enjoy watching a well-run kitchen, and the techniques involved in grilling over an open fire, it’s interesting and exciting.
See the video below to watch the pork chops being made and grilled.
Matt’s Red Rooster Grill
22 Bloomfield Ave (just off Main Street)
Flemington, NJ 08822
Open Tuesday thru Sunday for dinner