A Lovely Dinner at Tenderhill Restaurant

Do not let the small menu, highway location or plain décor keep you away from Tenderhill Restaurant in Whitehouse Station.

Do not let the small menu, highway location or plain décor keep you away from Tenderhill Restaurant in Whitehouse Station. Along with friendly service, we had a lovely unrushed dinner although there were only five entree choices. The lunch menu offered seven choices and two sides and may be a better option. The brevity of the menu was not a problem for us but could be for others.

Chef Ethan Oh, who was previously sous chef at Blue Bottle Café in Hopewell, opened this farm-to-table restaurant in June and sources items locally, including from a garden in the back of the restaurant. Four of us shared the two appetizers offered: an innovative avocado and pickled peach crab roll with creamy soy vinaigrette and mixed greens, which was as delicious as it sounds and pork buns filled with pork belly, pickled daikon, pickled onions and pork soy glaze.

A whole roasted chicken for two was brought to the table for us to view and then taken back to the kitchen for the chef to carve. Accompanied by pan-roasted oyster mushrooms and roasted potato, the juicy and flavorful chicken sat on a smear of roasted-tomato pesto. Although a bit salty, fried gnocchi was paired with peas, corn, charred green onions, caramelized onions, squash puree and grated Serrano peppers, all of which created texture, multiple colors and flavors to this well designed dish. Eggplant parm was not your classic Italian dish gushing with sauce and cheese, but was created with a much smaller amount of tomato sauce, no cheese draping the top and was served with ribbons of zucchini. The two menu items we did not order were a coulotte steak and a Kobe burger, both of which caught our eyes as they were served to another table. A few lunch items are: roasted-garlic broth ramen; ratatouille burger; mac & cheese with beer-braised pulled pork; and breakfast all day, consisting of potato, poached eggs, bacon and grated grana padano.

No bread is served so we had enough room for dessert. We would urge you to try the ice cream sandwich made with chocolate chip cookies and filled with Madagascar vanilla bourbon ice cream. While the peach pie with a graham cracker crust was well executed we would have preferred a thicker pie with more filling. Green apple ice cream with a drizzle of caramel was soothingly creamy and another worthy choice.

This casual restaurant has an open kitchen and about 54 seats. There are wood floors and tables, dishcloth napkins and large windows that look out on Route 22. A few vases of flowers adorned the countertop by the kitchen. A sweet saying painted on the entrance-foyer wall says, “Take comfort in goodness and know our secret to deliciousness is sincerity.”

Tenderhill is open Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM; Wednesday through Saturday from 5 PM for dinner; closed Sunday.

Tenderhill Restaurant
405 Rt 22E
Whitehouse Station

Avocado and pickled peach crab roll

Peach pie, ice cream sandwich and apple ice cream.
Photos courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

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