Quick Bite

Caballo

Upscale Mediterranean fare and doting service abound at this restaurant in the heart of Somerset County.

Caballo
1 Mill Street
Bernardsville
908-766-7979

Hours: Mon–Thurs, noon–10 pm; Fri-Sat, noon–11 pm; Sun, noon–9 pm

Price: $$/$$$

Style: Upscale Mediterranean fare and doting service abound in this mid-19th-century building resplendent with big wood beams and yard-thick stone from local quarries.

Don’t Miss: Caballo (pronounced cuh-BY-oh) does Spanish with a twist. Start with eggplant stuffed with fresh ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese ($10) or tapas for two—chorizo, baked clams, shrimp oreganata and fried calamari ($24). Rewarding salads include Caesar for two, prepared tableside ($20); and goat cheese with dried cranberries, caramelized walnuts, red onion, cucumbers and tomatoes on baby arugula with raspberry vinaigrette and balsamic glaze ($11). Entrées range from linguini in white clam sauce ($21) to seared Chicken Breast Caballo, with Serrano ham, green peas and artichoke hearts in a white wine demi-glace ($22). The 22- to 24-ounce cowboy steak ($38) with Spanish hollandaise will satisfy the heartiest appetites (“Few people finish it,” reports the maître d’). From the sea come shrimp salsa verde with rice ($25) and an over-the-top seafood diablo platter of clams, scallops, shrimp, calamari and half a lobster over spinach risotto ($35). Though the dining room is formal, with huge rustic chandeliers, the attentive staff gleefully presents tableside specialties such as banana or strawberry flambé ($12). Lunch favorites include a grilled chicken Caesar ($15), shrimp or salmon salad ($16), grilled veggie wrap ($15) and orecchiette with broccoli rabe, chorizo, raisins, garlic, oil and white wine ($15).

Heads Up: House-made sangria is available by the glass ($9.75) or bottle ($35), and there’s an extensive wine list. Locals often stop in the bar for a cocktail before taking in a movie at the cinema around the corner. Caballo has its own parking lot and is just two blocks from the Bernardsville train station, making it a favorite of commuters, too.

The Scoop: New York restaurateur Zoe Vassiliou opened Caballo (meaning horse) last spring in the heart of Somerset County equestrian country. Known as Equus under previous owners, the building was intended as a blacksmith’s shop, but became a hotel in the mid-1800s. In the 1980s, it was inhabited by a comedy club that attracted the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock.

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What's a Quick Bite? Short takes on casual, affordable dining.