Still River Cafe Restaurant ReviewThe Still River cafe is a strange combination for me. It is everything I should adore in a restaurant. Quiet, rural setting. An old barn refashioned into a small, elegant restaurant. The garden is right outside, and often you can see wild turkeys running around in it. The food is locally sourced, fresh, and intriguing.
I'm resistant to it, though. The press releases and communications strike me as being marketing-speak. It's run by a couple who were both lawyers - maybe it's something about the way they phrase things? The messages seem self aggrandizing. Almost pretentious. Also, a pet peeve of mine - for all they claim to support local companies of all types, their wine list is not only not local but not even east coast! There are a TON of fantastic wineries in the area, and instead you have to pick your way through French Champagnes and other far-off offerings. If they could find local beef, surely they could feature the local wineries as well?
The food is certainly tasty, and you usually get "tasting menus" that let you have three different items at once. Often the chef will send out free items as well. This last time we went we were offered a carrot marshmallow, a cold split pea soup, and a sweet pea "ravioli".
My appetizer was a beef carpaccio, which had cheese wrapped inside it. To be honest, I'm not sure it added much to the carpaccio, other than a mushy texture.
Our main dishes were tasty, and filling as well. None of us had room for dessert after this.
Here are the wild turkeys, seen out the window.
The wait staff is friendly, but time can pass before water glasses are refilled. Also, odd situations sometimes happen. We arrived for a 6pm reservation. A couple came in just after 6, asking for a table. The waiter almost made them play a guessing game before revealing that the place was full for the night. There are only maybe 20 tables here, and he said that every one was spoken for. He said they could wait around and see if someone didn't show up. As it turned out, though, it seemed at least 3 tables had been untouched when we prepared to leave around 9pm. Other tables which had been occupied at 6 were also empty at that time. That is, if these 3 tables were reserved for 9pm seatings, there was no need to turn away the couple when I would say a 3 hour dinner period was quite adequate for the existing diners. Does this mean that several people were quite rude, made the highly sought after reservations and simply didn't bother to show up or call? I suppose it could - but also, couldn't the restaurant check on that, assume after say 20 minutes that the reservation holders weren't going to show, and let someone else sit down? I realize it's a tough balance, but the elderly couple who had come out to eat was left with a rude welcome and no options.
The excuse given was, "Oh, well, we were just featured on NBC, don't you know". It only reinforced my feeling of pretentiousness.
So I have mixed opinions here. The food is good - but did I really want to eat a carrot marshmallow? It was very sweet for me. I'd rather have had a typical beef carpaccio, with more beef, less cheese. The wine list is not up to the standards I've seen at other restaurants of this level. The place is small, so being seated next to a loud group can have a serious impact on your ability to hear your own conversations. However, the landscape is gorgeous, and the barn has a great charm. I like the *idea* of supporting local groups. If only it included wineries, and not just slaughterhouses.
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