Ricalton’s Village Tavern
19 Valley Street, South Orange
Hours: Tues–Thurs, 5 pm–12:30 am; Fri and Sat, 5 pm–1:30 am; Sun, 5 pm–midnight.
Style: Upscale pub-like spot with dark wood floors, retro fixtures, a large marble bar, tables and a few plush banquettes. More seating downstairs.
Don’t Miss: In a tasty departure, none of the starters are fried. Try jalapeño chicken bites, plump nuggets wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a buttermilk cream sauce ($11). The plate is strewn with fresh jalapeños, so you can add or subtract heat with each bite. Also worth trying are the hoisin-glazed pork belly with blueberry barbecue sauce and potato chips ($12), and Irish ale-roasted mussels with roasted tomatoes, chips and Old Bay-seasoned shoestring fries ($13). Garden picks include a colorful beet salad ($12) with red and gold beets, orange slices, crumbled goat cheese and chili-spiced pecans. Half-pound burgers ($14–$16) come with sidewinder fries and cornichon pickles. The entrée roster includes a variety of fish, beef and chicken dishes. Guava pork ribs with roasted-pepper romesco dipping sauce are served with yucca fries that are crunchy outside, creamy inside ($23). Pastas include wild-mushroom ravioli in blue cheese cream sauce with thyme-roasted tomatoes and toasted walnuts ($18). For dessert, you can’t go wrong with chocolate stout cake with vanilla ice cream or Mason-jar s’mores (each $10).
Heads Up: The beer list is somewhat short, with few interesting craft choices. But Ricalton’s has only been open since June, so give it time.
The Scoop: The eatery is named for James Ricalton (1844-1929), the great-great- grandfather of one of the owners. Ricalton was a photographer, teacher, inventor and South Orange native who is said to have taken seven trips around the world.Click here to leave a comment