Imagine a building dating back to 1836, the site of the only civil war “battle” fought in Bucks County. Now imagine that same building transformed into an upscale contemporary restaurant with the atmosphere and cuisine of a Center City fine dining establishment located right in historic Newtown, PA. Welcome to The Saloon…
Sitting on a side porch is an old-fashioned carriage, a relic of the old general store from the early 1900’s. While the outside of the building has remained pretty much the same over the years—it has transitioned from a tavern to a general store, moving and storage business, a lawn equipment store, a speak easy (The Maennerchor Club), the Township House and eventually The Saloon—the inside has changed drastically with the times.
Although our reservations this balmy Friday evening were for seating on their spacious outdoor patio (which they added about 5 years ago), the reception area is outfitted with cushioned seating and modern low-lighting sconces augmented by soft votive candles. This ambiance carries into the dining areas, where the tables are covered in linens and the walls are painted in a blend of maroon and varying lighter colors, providing a contemporary upscale atmosphere.
As for the menu, it is extensively Italian-American complemented by an ample selection of seafood items that include fresh fish. There is also a “lighter-fare” menu and a few nightly specials. While we tend to favor BYOs, they have a full-scale bar that features the martini in about every combination possible, with the Stoli Doli (vodka with pineapple) being the most popular.
Admittedly our waiter was a bit of an odd duck, but certainly friendly and capable enough. While waiting for our glasses of wine, we received a bread basket (nothing special) and perused the menu. For starters, from the Light-Fare menu, we decided to split the Crab-Stuffed Portabella Mushroom chock-full of jumbo lump crab meat and topped with aged provolone and a pesto drizzle. Not only was it fabulous, it was ginormous!
Under the fish selections they offer a choice of either salmon or tilapia, so I went with the Olivia style salmon sautéed with black and green olives, zucchini and roasted red peppers in a white wine sauce. Portions were adequate and the fillet was perfectly cooked and tender.
Russ wasn’t as quick to decide but finally settled on Chicken Scarpariello sautéed with Italian sausage, hot and sweet peppers bathing in a roasted garlic sauce. He enjoyed the mix of ingredients and the melding of flavors. Instead of a side of pasta, we both chose an accompaniment of sautéed vegetable medley.
They have been more of a destination restaurant but with all of the recent building on Sycamore Street (i.e. The Promenade), it is much more pedestrian-friendly—however, almost 5 miles from home, it’s not necessarily walkable for us. We use to frequent this establishment often in years past, but it’s been quite some time since we’d been back. But the plan is to make sure we don’t let that happen again…