Spring may have arrived with snow, but soon enough we’ll be frolicking through the meadows. Those meadows always make me think of lamb, which is usually my choice for Easter dinner (and, of course, it’s popular for Passover, too). But in a recent article in the New York Times, Julia Moskin bemoaned America’s reluctance to embrace lamb. It seems that, if anything, consumption is down, not up, having now dropped below a pound per person per year, the lowest ever recorded. How can this be?I realize not everyone grew up eating lamb, as I did, but still, it’s a lot like beef in texture and appearance, easy to enjoy pinky-rare, and the taste of lamb, as bred today, is quite mild. Actually, a little too mild for me, but I figure that mildness should appeal to more people, if anything. I plan to do my share of lamb eating at Easter, or shortly after if it’s not on my family’s Easter menu (we’re going out).
Julia Moskin’s recipe (in the article) for bone-in roast leg of lamb sounds excellent and, like my own recipe for slow-roasted lamb shoulder, contains anchovies. Trust me, once it’s cooked you won’t know those anchovies were there because they just melt away, but they provide a good punch of umami to the dish. Please, everyone, step just a little bit out of your comfort zone and try some lamb soon!
Now, here’s some information on who’s serving Easter dinner, based on what’s arrived in my inbox (plus I added a new place to consider, Il Forno in West Windsor). They don’t all have lamb, but if they do, I urge you to give it a try.
Agricola Community Eatery in downtown Princeton is open for Easter brunch and dinner. Brunch is 9:30am-3:00pm, the prix fixe menu is served family style, $35/adult, $15 children 12 and under. Dinner is served 4:30-9:00pm, with an à la carte menu that includes Elysian Fields Farm Leg of Lamb with Castle Valley Mills soft polenta and spring garlic salsa verde. Woo hoo! Both menus are here.
Blue Point Grill – now there’s an idea! They’ll be open 1:00-8:00pm with their full à la carte menu plus some specials. Grab a bottle of something white and flinty and go for it!
Brothers Moon in Hopewell, serves Easter brunch 10:00am to 2:00pm, with a $36 prix fixe menu (kids menu $19). The menu sounds spring-y and even summery; I always think this is the time of year that Chef Will really shines – and they just celebrated their 14th birthday! And Will’s birthday – 29 again, I’m sure!
The Frog and The Peach, in New Brunswick, offers a $65 prix fixe menu packed with elegant choices, halibut, lamb, tenderloin, scallops, oh my! Of course, there are several appetizer choices too (including oysters), and desserts include Hot Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake and Coconut Passion Fruit Layer Cake. Moan.
Hamilton’s Grill Room, in Lambertville, offers a $40 Easter buffet, and it sounds terrific: (in part), chicken liver pate, house-cured gravlax, seafood bar, omelets, roast lamb, English cut roast beef, poached salmon. Wowsa!
Il Forno, the new place on Route 571 in West Windsor (across from McCaffrey’s, behind the CVS), is open for brunch on Easter 10:00am-3:00pm (but closed after that, with no dinner service that night). The à la carte menu is mostly pulled from their regular menu, but with the addition of, for instance, several frittatas. This is a neat place, you should visit! I enjoyed my dinner there, I believe my review comes out in the Packet’s TimeOff this week (day of week varies Wed-Fri depending on which of their papers you receive).
Stage Left/Catherine Lombardi in New Brunswick will host Easter brunch and dinner respectively. Brunch at SL is 11:00am to 2:30pm, fixe prix $39.95, served at table except for a dessert buffet. (Kids 12 and under pay their age.) Dinner at CL runs from 1:00pm to 6:00pm, and their à la carte menu is supplemented with various specials, including lamb with mint and white beans.
Tre Piani is having a buffet on Easter, 11:00am-4:00pm, and it’s a very reasonable $29.95 adults, $12.95 per child 12 and under. Kids 5 and under are free. See the menu here (I don’t see lamb, but I do see lots of other goodies, from breakfast-y stuff through dinner dishes.) This is one of the few places I know of that offers sophisticated food and service for adults, but still makes the kids feel welcome. It’s been the site of many of my own family’s special occasions.
Please keep in mind that fixe prix meal pricing does not include alcoholic beverages (some include coffee or tea), nor does it include gratuity.