I heard there was a new chef at the Ripple Inn (Charles Mereday), and after checking out the fancy electronic video menu outside the restaurant the other day, I was intrigued to try it again. I really want to go for dinner, but my schedule/babysitting has been so crazy, I have been having a hard time fitting dinners in. So after seeing they have started serving lunch, the BFF and I headed over to give it a try. So walking in, there were not a lot of people in there, which has been the case the last few times I have been there. We chose to sit in the bar, simply because there were some people there.
I’m not sure, but I think the menu is the same for lunch and dinner, which was a little confusing for me because I am not much for ordering an appetizer and entrée type thing for lunch, but there aren’t a lot of smaller options—well, there are a lot of appetizers and they still have the potato skins, and a few sandwiches, but it mainly seems laid out like a dinner menu.
I went for the filet “cheesesteak” appetizer ($14) which was an open-faced sandwich topped with lots and lots of extremely tender slices of filet, melted Gruyere cheese, a touch of truffle oil and topped with a healthy amount of micro-greens. It was extremely rich, but really quite tasty. The beef, as I said, was super tender and nicely seasoned. I love Gruyere on just about everything; it has a nutty taste that makes it distinct—and a bit of saltiness which was good with the beef. And I know sometimes truffle oil is overused, but this was just a light amount, adding more of the aroma than anything (and there is nothing that makes me happier than the smell of truffles). But I particularly liked the swoosh of something red on the side of the plate (I was going to ask what it was but forgot)—it had some sweetness and a bit of tartness that was perfect with the rich meat. If I had one more swoosh of it, I would have been really happy—I would have liked dragging every bite through it. I also appreciated that the greens were more than just a garnish—they actually added some peppery flavor and variation in texture to the dish. But I love little greens like this because you never pull some giant leaf out that is then hanging out of your mouth awkwardly. Perfect little bite sizes. I liked it, and I thought the dish was executed well.
The BFF had the warm spinach salad ($10) which was spinach (obviously) topped with eggs, mushrooms and a warm bacon vinaigrette that had a whole ton of bacon in it. We wondered before she ordered it if she should add protein to the salad (you can add chicken, salmon or shrimp to any of the salads I believe) but wow, there was a ton of meat on it. It was served with a warm dressing which wilted everything a bit (which I always enjoy). And I couldn't decide whether it was impressive or annoying that they made all the dressing to order when she asked for more on the side—I decided it was impressive, but it took quite awhile to get it. While there was a lot of bacon on the salad, there wasn’t a lot of liquid at first, and the salad needed more. When they brought out more, they brought out enough for about 3 salads, but it was quite tasty. Hopefully, they can find the balance from the start because I think this would be a really good salad if it came out dressed perfectly.
So, I can’t quite figure out what the deal is with the Ripple Inn. I know they have been through several chefs, but honestly, I have had pretty good meals there every time I have eaten there, throughout various phases. They have also started offering tasting menus at a pretty decent price (my parents just went and enjoyed it). Why is the place so empty whenever I go? Have you guys had good or bad experiences there? Regardless, I am looking forward to giving the Chef Mereday’s food a try for dinner soon.
The Ripple Inn
929 East Westfield Blvd.