A beautiful view, elegant décor and terrific food
The last time I was at the Atlantic City Country Club was in 1975 when I went with my father, sportswriter Harry Hoffman, to see the Women’s LPGA open. My favorite, Sandra Palmer, defeated then 18-year-old Nancy Lopez for the title.
Atlantic City Restaurant Week afforded me the opportunity to finally make a return visit, for lunch at the country club’s elegant Tap Room Bar and Grill along with my culinary cohort Sally. Restaurant Week features three course lunches for $15.13 plus beverages, tax and tip and dinners for $33.13.
As usual I had studied the menu items from the website, narrowed it down to the eateries offering lunch on Sunday and settled for a half dozen choices.
It was the appetizers that sealed the deal for a trip to the Tap Room, with its lovely view of the golf course and white linen on the tables. I mention the latter because it is so rare these days.
There were only two appetizer choices and we decided to share them. Our server, Amy, said a lot of people were doing the same. The mini crab au gratin was served on two generous wedges of grilled brioche with a rich Vermont cheddar Mornay sauce and country ham. It was delicious and just right for sharing. (Pictured at left is half the serving.)
The second appetizer was French onion lobster soup with a garlic rouillie and Gruyere crouton made with Vidalia onion. The soup featured just a hint of seafood flavor, which was the only indication of lobster being on board. There was no lobster meat in with the caramelized onions and broth. It was good but the lack of lobster felt like a bit of a cheat.
The entrée that Sally selected seemed to be a big favorite, as we looked around the room, a chicken pot pie with a large puff pastry dome over a classic creamy mix of carrots, peas and other vegetables. She enjoyed it and I agreed it was full of classic pot pie flavor.
My selection was wild mushroom ravioli served with grilled chicken breast, topped with a garnish of speck ham in a rich Alfredo sauce with spinach. It was nothing short of spectacular. The ravioli were incredibly creamy with the earthy taste of the mushrooms as the closing flavor note on the palate, and the Alfredo sauce was one of the best I have ever tasted. Kudos go to executive chef Ed Daggers for an amazing culinary creation.
Other entrees for Restaurant Week include Angus beef sliders, warm Brie in puff pastry salad and molasses slow-roasted pulled pork with tropical fruit slaw.
The Tap Room only had one dessert but it was delicious. Created especially for Restaurant Week, the white chocolate malted banana cream pie featured two layers of airy whipped chocolate with a banana layer in the middle. It was surprisingly light and finished off my meal with a tasty flourish. Sally decided to take her pie home to enjoy later.
Add in the attentive service by our waitress Amy and our restaurant week meal was another winner.
Atlantic City Country Club Tap Room Bar and Grill
1 Leo Fraser Dr. (at Shore Rd.), Northfield.
Lunch: Mon.-Sat. 11am-5pm. Dinner: Thurs.-Sat. 5-9pm.
Free onsite and valet parking. For reservations: 236-4465
Arriving on a foggy, windswept midday at Atlantic City’s landmark Knife and Fork Inn, valet traffic for the venerable eatery — offering lunch Friday only — was backed up on Atlantic Avenue.
Thirty years ago, a little community college in the woods of southern New Jersey began hosting an upscale restaurant gala featuring the cuisine of many of the region’s finest restaurants, while simultaneously showcasing upcoming kitchen talent from their nascent Academy of Culinary Arts.
Nearly 80 restaurants in Atlantic County are offering dining deals for the fifth annual culinary bonanza March 3-9.
Since Atlantic City Restaurant Week started, it has been such a success, some restaurants decide to extend the event beyond the scheduled final day, which this year is Saturday, March 9. This year, 25 restaurants have announced extending the Restaurant Week fixed price three-course menu.