Tavern on the Lake
101 N. Main St., Hightstown, NJ 08520
Hours: Mon. – Sat.: 12 pm – 2 am. Sun: 12 pm – 12 am.
When I was heading north on the Jersey Turnpike on the way to Tavern on the Lake, I didn’t expect the place do be a dive. But I should’ve known when I saw the Comic Sans font on the sign that I was in for a deeper than expected experience.
First off, the place smells like urinal cakes. I hoped that it was just the bar, but it actually got worse as we neared the dining area. The tables have white linen tablecloths, which seemed really out of place, and even stranger are the glass toppers that protect the tablecloths. There is a decent amount of wood paneling, and one really large pet fish in the front. This place doesn’t want to be a dive, but it just can’t help itself. All the divey details are there.
The place has a decent beer list with some rotating local taps, and a pretty typical pubfare menu. They boast large portions, and we started off with pierogies and chicken nachos as appetizers. The nachos were decent – generous on the toppings a a reasonable amount of meat. The pierogies were very strange – deep fried and swimming in oily fried onions. But this was only the start of a rapid descent in quality.
A few of us got some microwaved dollar store soups, and after about a half an hour, the entrees started coming out. The place was not busy, but there was a solid 5 minute gap between the first entree delivery and the last one. Finally, the real misery could begin.
None of us were particularly enjoying the food, but as any dedicated diver must occasionally endure, I was presented with the distinct honor of eating what may have been the worst food I have ever put into my body. I ordered chicken marsala. I received a pile of pasta so overcooked that it literally tasted like Play-Doh, a slab of unevenly cooked chicken meat, and a cold, gelatinous glob of mushroom-like paste. As a lovely garnish, I got three pieces of stale bread, each toasted on one side.
Perhaps the guy at the next table put it best when he complained to the waitress: “I’m sorry, but this literally tastes like a toilet.”
After finishing about 18% of my food, I sat there in misery for another minor eternity before the waitress returned. I should have just literally gone bottom feeding in the Peddie Lake. Avoid Tavern on the Lake at all costs, divers.
If you like congealed cream of mushroom soup and the smell of urinal cakes, then you’ll love this place!
I’m sorry – I didn’t even bother. Don’t go here.