The Rosie Report: Rod’s Steakhouse and Seafood Grille

Located in the Madison Hotel in Morristown, this steakhouse offers perfectly prepared proteins and top-notch service.

Rack of Colorado lamb. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Rod’s in Morristown (located in the Madison Hotel) would be the perfect location if you are nostalgic for a restaurant with opulent Victorian furnishings that include rich wood paneling, brass lamps, an ornate chandelier, golf themed murals and a stained glass dome ceiling. However, the Safersteins perceived the decor to be gaudy and best described in Yiddish as “ungapatchka”—too much. Nevertheless, we would return here for the excellent food and service.

A breadbasket contained a delightfully different selection of date nut raisin bread, warm Italian bread and lavash crackers. A wedge of lettuce, large slice of tomato, whole strip of smoked steakhouse bacon, loads of impressive blue cheese dressing and a wedge of blue cheese—an item we have never seen on a classic BLT salad—was one of the better versions of this salad that we have encountered. Our only complaint was that the bacon was chewy, not crispy. The portion was large and split in the kitchen.

An extensive steak menu features house aged, prime sirloin, T-bone, porterhouse, filet, Delmonico, rib of beef, Chateaubriand for two and a rib veal chop. There is certainly something for everyone with pork chops, Colorado rack of lamb, salmon, chicken, Chilean sea bass, scallops, lobster, crab cakes, a vegetarian entrée and a la carte sides offered. Our pick was a special of prime sliced T-bone and my favorite of the not often seen Colorado rack of lamb.

The lamb was exceptional. Four French trimmed racks were flanked with pureed potatoes, cooked tomato, whole carrot and tourney cut green and yellow zucchini. Kudos to the chef for the perfectly cooked meat and appealing plating. Shame on the server who did not put my leftover potato puree and vegetables in the “doggie bag” with the lamb! The same is true for the quality of the T-bone sliced steak with its inventive vertical presentation of the bone. Along with crispy onion rings and broccoli rabe, both favorites of the Safersteins, we were stuffed but happy carnivores.

BLT salad. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
T-bone steak. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
Warm pecan pie. Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

Crowd favorite desserts, made in house, such as bananas Foster flambé for two that is prepared tableside, cheesecake with strawberries, maple syrup crème brulee, apple-pear crisp with cinnamon ice cream, red velvet fudge cake with raspberry coulis, fresh assorted berries with zabaglione cream were on the dessert menu. Our choice was a rich, luxurious, jiggly warm pecan pie with vanilla bean ice cream.

While the wine list is extensive and accessibly priced, it was impressive that high end wines were featured by the glass and bottle such as a 2015 proprietary red blend Paraduxx for $25 a glass, $99 a bottle; 2014 Marietta Game Trail Cabernet Sauvignon for $22 glass, $85 bottle and 2014 Shafer Chardonnay for $29 glass and $115 a bottle, which gives oenophiles a chance to try not often available by the glass, premium wines. Large format wine bottles, some signed by the winemaker, are on exhibit throughout the restaurant.

You can get a lot of bang for your buck here with the early evening, three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for $30. Sunday Brunch buffet ($29.95; children, $19.95) features a live pianist, a beef and poultry carving board, pasta and omelet stations, seafood, produce, entrées and a dessert table. On Friday and Saturdays opt for a unique dining experience in the elegantly restored Pullman railroad cars which can also be rented for private events. For a more casual dining experience, GK’s Red Dog Tavern, which is under the same roof, serves a more casual menu which includes burgers, entrees and yes, some of the steaks served in Rod’s.

Service was extremely attentive and servers were knowledgeable about the menu. Specials were written out with prices. Dress code ran the gamut of dungarees to suits so feel free to “come as you are.” Valet or self-parking is available.

Open for breakfast daily, lunch Monday through Saturday, Brunch on Sunday and dinner daily. Parlor cars open Friday and Saturday evening. Early evening prix fixe menu daily from 4-5:30pm; Saturday, 4-5pm. The restaurant was packed on a Saturday night. Make reservations.

Rods Steak & Seafood Grille, 1 Convent Road, Morristown; 973-539-6666

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