Daylight Savings Time is such a bittersweet thing. Shifting the clocks requires adjustment, which is a pain, but sunlight further into the evening is wonderful. That could be diluted by my fondness for nighttime, but I digress. I’ve been craving American cuisine since flying back over the Arctic, so I’ve indulged myself with a restaurant above my usual pricepoint.
Skipjack Dining, just up Paper Mill Road from downtown Newark, was the perfect candidate. I’d heard that they serve wild game burgers before, but I was equally as excited to find venison meatloaf served daily, not to mention all the different places duck shows up in their menu’s pages.
However, don’t let all the interesting meats fool you. Becoming close to someone who steers as clear of animal products as possible has taught me to pay attention to other limited diets (gluten free, dairy free, unadventurous), and there was a lot to look at. Gluten free rolls are available on any sandwich (for a slight upcharge). Provided you remove the cheese, several appetizers (and all the salads) become vegan friendly without compromising the overall composition of the dish. For the unadventurous (in no way a dis) there’s seafood done right and several beef, pork, and chicken dishes that are as delicious as their ingredients are familiar.
Questing as I was for American food, my eyes locked up when they saw the Certified Angus Beef (C.A.B) Ribeye Cheesesteak (with wild mushrooms, rosemary onions, poblano smoked gouda fondue and served on a pretzel roll). It goes against my very nature to pass up an opportunity, however, so I only ordered it once I inquired after the game meat du jour. It was goat, and Skipjack doesn’t need to compete with nyamachoma (a Burundian goat feast), so I stuck with good old beef.
As I awaited my sandwich, I enjoyed a pint of Skipjack Captain’s Ale, brewed by 3rd Wave Brewing Company exclusively for Skipjack Dining. It’s dark amber in color, with a malty, yeasty flavor profile, and I’d have gladly ordered another had I not driven there alone.
When my sandwich hit the table, I realized I hadn’t realized it would be a vertical sandwich. Traditionally, the cheesesteak is served horizontally, on a sliced hoagie roll, so the bread is on three sides of the filling. This is important, as the filling on a cheesesteak is (normally) very heavy and in no way dry (ketchup, melted cheese, pepper and/or onion juice). Here, the pretzel roll successfully did an Italian hoagie roll’s job in supporting the sandwich. Not only that, but this was the first sandwich I’ve had where the pretzel roll’s flavor complimented and blended with the rest of the flavors.
I also didn’t realize (though I should have) that the Gouda fondue would come on the side. As the beef—which was marvelously tender—had been cooked with something creamy (I’m assuming more cheese), I didn’t need all the fondue for my sandwich, so it also made a phenomenal dipping sauce for my parmesan herb fries. I definitely ate more of those than I needed to, and I regret nothing.
Seeing new places and eating new food is something I never plan to stop doing. However, as much as I love the weird and the new, the familiar things become familiar for a reason. It’s always a relief to come back to the States after being abroad, and never forget that there’s incredible food to be eaten right in your own backyard.