Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Neena's, Sewell

Yeah, when we were out at the CSA, this jackal that we met said that Neena's in Sewell was surprisingly good. Naturally that weighed on my mind, and when Dad and I found ourselves looking at each other like it was lunch time (me because I was hungry, him because it was after noon and he goes by his watch), I suggested we go out to try it. It's right near where Oral Ledden & Sons used to be, if that helps (Dad gave me several sets of directions during this trip that involved stores that had closed or burned, but he's lived around Pitman for a long time). I used to love walking around Ledden's, smelling the fertilizer and admiring the gardening goods. I digress.

Neena's is in a big building that looks like it could have been a garage (but I think was purpose-built for the restaurant). The decor is open and sort of airy, in a strange way, but they've tried to spruce it up with odd decor touches. There's a bar, quaint signs ("La Toilette"), and little painted details like faux cracks in the walls and faux brick. It's hard to imagine the place filling up

And then there's the food. It's not hard to imagine the food filling you up, and if you weren't paying attention, you might be happy with it. I ordered these ravioli, and was horrified to find that they tasted much like the frozen ones that Dad and I used to get out of the freezer and boil up for dinner when Mom was working (unless we were making fish sticks). The sauce as well seemd below the level of your average jarred sauce. My overwhelming thoughts were "You got this right off the Sysco truck," and also "But the sausage slices are still pretty good!" I'm just deprived of sausage, living in Tokyo.

Dad had this bread cake. Oh, did I say bread? That's because this crab cake was so loaded with bread crumbs. The mark of a good crab cake, and looking back I see that I've failed to write up the crab cakes I had at Big Daddy's, is that it practically falls apart because it's so much lump crab meat and so little filler. You can take that to the bank. The fries were lightly battered and not bad, but I think Sysco also does a good line in them.

Adding volume to injury, these cheesy bread sticks came even after I turned down the offer of bread with the ravioli. They're just strips of pizza crust with cheese baked on, and in fact they were decent. Makes me wonder if the advertized pizza might be the way to go, if indeed for some reason you go to Neena's after reading this. Considering all the family-oriented, customer-first stuff on their web site, I don't feel good about saying all this, but that's the way it looked today.

You know, though, nothing can be too bad when you get to go home, sit on the porch reading for a while, and then stand out in the middle of the street as the sun goes down and no cars come.

I like Pitman. Sewell, I dunno.

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