Just a few weeks ago, gorgeous The Ryland Inn began serving Sunday brunch. The space is beautiful, inviting and has a calming effect each time I visit. We were seated in what I’ll call the main dining room off the attractive courtyard where a band was setting up. Cello, mandolin, banjo and guitar in hand, the foursome played country-ish folk music. One might consider this type of music a bit odd for the upscale, luxurious setting, but it’s actually brilliant and transforms the formal setting to a more casual one.
As far as drinks are concerned, when it comes to brunch, bubbly is simply fitting and a large ice-filled bucket welcomed us as we walked into the dining room. Nice touch. Being very familiar with Mixologist Christopher James’ cocktail program, we couldn’t settle for plain old bubbly, we instead opted for the School Road Sparkler a delicious concoction of Stoli, St. Germain, grapefruit and sparkling wine—absolutely divine and a brunch drink I’m borrowing for the summer.
The Sunday brunch menu is varied, interesting and pleases fans of breakfast for brunch or lunch for brunch. First up, fresh baked breakfast pastries with seasonal preserves were ordered for the table. The basket featured doughnuts, biscuits, cinnamon buns and the best ever chocolate scones. All were divine but I was warned the scones were addictive and I concur—moist, flaky, buttery goodness.
Next up were the house-cured and smoked salmon and the Ryland Inn pear salad. The salmon isn’t only visually appealing on its white plate with crème fraiche, cucumber and brioche, it’s smoked and cured with just the ideal level of intensity—a stellar dish. The pear salad featured mixed lettuces, candied pecans, smoked blue cheese and pear vinaigrette—a lovely rendition of a favorite.
Our favorite dish of the brunch was the gnocchi with pork broth gilded with paper-thin Prosciutto slices. This is one of the best dishes I’ve had recently with pillowy soft gnocchi bathing is salty, porky broth and topped with slightly barnyardish-in-aroma, premium slices of Prosciutto—simply amazing. Another delectable entrée is the braised beef short rib served with baby vegetables, fingerling potato purée in a red wine reduction—comforting, rich and satisfying. There are a few side dishes and we couldn’t pass up the slab bacon and maple syrup. The pork belly was crunchy on the outside and moist, fatty on the inside—exactly as it should be.
While dessert wasn’t remotely necessary, a stunning plate of macerated strawberries, with a Meyer lemon sauce, nutty bread, crunchy brittle and refreshing sorbet was shared—a light, perfect ending to an outstanding, luxe brunch.
I’ve previously documented the incredible food Executive Chef Anthony Bucco and Chef de Cuisine Craig Polignano craft in The Ryland Inn kitchen, and brunch is no exception. We experienced a complete sense of pampering from the professional staff while enjoying delectable food in one of the nicest settings in the northeast.
The Ryland Inn
111 Old Rt 28
Veronique Deblois, Food & Wine Chickie: Veronique is a food and wine writer based in Morris County. As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie Insider, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews and insight into the travel industry of which she’s a 15-year veteran. Follow Veronique on Twitter or like her Facebook page.