By SUSAN ERICSON
From outside, the Lincroft Inn, located on Newman Springs Road in the Lincroft section of Middletown, appears a lot like many of the buildings in the strip malls surrounding it: blandly contemporary.
But step inside, and the exposed rafters and wood-paneled walls exude an Old World charm that’s real, because it dates back to 1697, according to the backstory provided in the vast tome of a menu.
As PieHole discovered on a recent What’s For Lunch outing, the inn offers a range of dishes, from elegant Continental fare to a grubby Jersey favorite: a porkroll and cheese sandwich.
PieHole was leaning toward an option on the daily special page: a Corned Beef Reuben ($9.95) served with fries, until waitress and Brookdale Community College student Gina DeGennaro asked if we would prefer pastrami instead of the corned beef. Added flavor to a sandwich? Well, that was an appreciated surprise. The Reuben, an international meld of Russian dressing, heaped with sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and plenty of meat on rye, was a tasty winner.
Another lunch special, Chicken “Murphy Style” ($10.95), had the right mix of spicy cherry peppers and sweet yellow (in this case) bell peppers. The roasted potatoes were delicious too, but the cut-into-pieces chicken paillard, a pounded-flat chicken cutlet, was a little tough and didn’t stand up to the zesty garlic pepper sauce.
A complimentary bread basket offered a happy mix of multigrain crackers, fresh, moist banana bread and warm Italian bread served with sweet butter.
The Lincroft Inn on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.