From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Revisiting the Ryland Inn

Sohm looks at the color and how fine the mousse is — the fine streams of bubbles — a sign of great quality.

Wine and Spirits

How to Drink Grower Champagne

Legendary sommelier Aldo Sohm on rarer bubbles.

Tonga Room, San Francisco.

Wine and Spirits

The Sweet Escape

On the enduring allure of the tiki bar.

The Write Stuff


The Write Stuff

A dip into the world of luxurious fountain pens.

It would be hard to overstate the significance of the original Ryland Inn, which had its run from 1991 to 2007. Patrons flocked to central New Jersey from Manhattan and Philadelphia; the 2000 New York Times review, titled “Reaching for Perfection,” opened with the line “Words fail me.” Chef Craig Shelton was the first to win a Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic James Beard award for the Garden State, thanks, in part, to the on-site garden he was cooking from two decades before farm-to-table became a cliché. Then, in 2007, a pipe burst in the middle of service. Debts mounted, permits expired; the place never got back on its feet. Five years and $2 million later, the Ryland Inn, an hour west of Manhattan, is back in every sense. Shelton handpicked his successor—a young chef named Anthony Bucco who had been moving from place to place and making fascinating food that was ready for a larger stage. Bucco raids the resurrected garden for the sliced peaches on a flawless fluke crudo, the muddled harvest cherries in a sake-and-Champagne cocktail and the fresh herbs and edible flowers woven into his signature intermezzo salad. A posh, polished and encyclopedically stocked bar occupies the space between the dramatic entrance and two serene dining rooms. It’s the kind of place where you can stop in for a Harvest margarita—which employs a shot of beet juice as an earthy, unexpected foil to the citrus and silver tequila—even if you don’t feel like a seven-course tasting. But the tasting is the thing. Forget the menu, forgo the wine list; let the Ryland call the shots and words will likely fail you, too. At 115 Old Hwy. 28, Whitehouse Station; 908-534-4011;


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