THE STAR LEDGER'S RAVE REVIEW FOR THE MOHAWK HOUSE


Mohawk House vibe is homey and the food is dazzling!
by
Cody/Kendall

What better way to ward off the autumn chill than in a restaurant with three fireplaces- especially if hearty short rib
sauerbraten is on the menu.

Mohawk House has all the bases covered for an evening geared to keeping patrons warm, inside and out, no
matter what the weather.  The pleasant staff also adds to the glow at this picturesque restaurant nestled in the
hills of Sussex County.  It's an especially attractive destination at this time of year - a good way to wrap up a drive
in the country as the leaves turn.

Although the building's Bucks County fieldstone exterior gives an impression of a long history, it actually was build
just five years ago for owners Rachel and Steve Scro, who own a nearby farm.  Steve Scro said he and his wife
"went with out hears" in deciding to open a restaurant where they have invested their passion as well as their
money.

Chef Stefan Sabo, a native of Germany who worked at the Manor in West Orange and the Bernards Inn in
Bernardsville, offers a season menu that is impeccably executed.  Using short ribs instead of the traditional pot
roast for the sauerbraten ($29) gives the dish a richer flavor, enhanced by potato gnocchi standing in for
spaetzle, and marinated red cabbage that hits exactly the right note.  An Oktoberfest beer just adds the
appropriate touch for a standout dish.

Speaking of beer, the restaurant has an amazing beer menu with all kinds of special brews, 34 of which are on
draft.  Try the Avery the Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest; the name alone is worth the $8.50 price.  As you might
expect, it's extremely compatible with the sauerbraten.

Wines are interesting but the list tends toward higher end choices; I always like to see a grouping of selections for
those who are on a budget.  An alternative is to order wines by the glass, which start at a reasonable $7.

Sabo adds unobtrusive but effective touches that make basic dishes his own, as he does with the sauerbraten.  
On the lighter side, an aromatic button mushroom soup ($9) carries off an Asian theme, with a floating island of a
shrimp dumpling.  The outline is filled in by fried garlic flakes and a trickle of wasabi oil that gives more of a nip
than a bite.

The words "cod" and "vanilla" may be incongruous in the same sentence, but they make sense on the plate when
Sabo prepares the fish in a completely unexpected approach.  a vanilla emulsion plays will with Moroccan
couscous and micro fine herbs to make the most of a meaty piece of Chatham col ($29).

Like the war, delicious bread that arrived shortly after we sat down, desserts are prepared in-house.  The Jersey
blueberry slump ($6.50), a little butter cake surrounded by berries and topped with sweet corn ice cream, made
the most of summer's end.

Nutella-filled whole wheat crepes ($6.50) are a new version of an ice cream sundae.  The Nutella, cozily wrapped
in the crepes, played the role of hot fudge.

Whipped cream, macerated strawberries (instead of the cherry) and lemon syrup made this a familiar yet foreign
experience.  It's filling enough to split with a dining companion.

Live music is featured at 8:30 PM in the large bar, wich is well separated form the main dining room.

That's a good thing; the noise level in the high ceilinged room already is substantial.  The light level, however is
low.  The rustic wrought-iron chandelier that is in keeping with the beamed ceiling and wooden floors is as
everything else at Mohawk House, but it doesn't do much in the way of providing illumination.  It's a little too dim
for reading the menu with eyestrain; I'd like to see the wattage turned up a little.

The wattage on the food, however, is at the level of brilliance, with a kind of sparkle that is all too rare.  This is a
lovely place to spend an evening in any kind of weather.

Rating:  THREE AND A HALF STARS (out of 4)

10/1/10