If you are up on the local (or even national) news at all, you’ll know why I decided it was time to pay my first visit to The Peasant Grill in Hopewell. Call it a little show of foodie solidarity. I’d never been before, although I’d always heard good things, so now was the time to rectify that oversight. Well, stupid me, this place is, just as I’ve been told, a real treasure!
I stopped in for a quick lunch yesterday and am so glad I did. First of all, the friendly atmosphere is wonderful. They were quite busy at lunch, with co-owner Barry Klein greeting many customers by name. (His wife Michelle is his partner.) You order at the counter and, if you are eating in, go sit down (inside or out), and the staff brings your food to you. Instead of a printed check, you are handed a playing card, and that is how you are identified and that is what you present after your meal at the cash register, to be matched to your bill. There’s always a group of customers clustered there, ordering, paying, or picking up/paying for takeout, but service is quick and efficient. I’ll warn you that all manner of tempting desserts are displayed next to that register, many already portioned into takeaway containers.
I quickly pegged Barry as an owner and identified myself as a first-timer. He visited my table as soon as I sat down, and I told him who I was, as I planned to snap photos of my food and didn’t want to raise any concerns. Besides my order of ham and cheese quiche with side of fruit salad, he wanted to be sure I tried one of his soups, as they are (justly) known for those, so I asked for just a small bowl of the red-lentil coconut soup with lime, and it was indeed delicious.
My quiche was wonderful, even the crust is made in-house (the same one they make for chicken pot pies which are usually available once a week, in limited quantities). And let me tell you, not only was my quiche very good, that was one fantastic crust. Tender and flaky, it was even brown and crispy on the bottom – so unusual! And that fruit cup? – made fresh in house!
They had me in and out in about 30 minutes in spite of how busy they were, as I’d mentioned I had a hair appointment up the street at the (also very pleasant!) Friends Salon. (Try them and get $5 off your first visit – they are very reasonably priced.)
Everything at The Peasant Grill is freshly made in house, in small batches, with the same kind of ingredients you’d use at home (if you had time). Barry proudly gestured to the case, saying it starts off empty each morning, and then gradually fills up as they prepare each dish. Susan Yeske, who has recommended I try them more than once, gave them a rave review in The Times of Trenton in 2011 (their fourth year in business), saying their “excellent casual fare is as close as you can get to home cooking without eating at home.” Boy, is she right, and at very reasonable prices, I might add.
I’m glad to say, things were hopping the day I visited The Peasant Grill, and I can’t wait until the next time I can get there to try more dishes – their rosy flank steak and crab cakes get high praise too, as does their spinach salad. And, oh the desserts…!
Peasant Grill is open Mon – Fri: 11:30 am – 8:00 pm (takeout only after 5:00pm), and Sat: 11:30 am – 4:00 pm.