French fries. I love them. Some people are chocolate and sweets people. I love French fries. That and caviar.
— Cameron Diaz
My friend Russ Salazar and I had planned on giving the New Haven, the restaurant at 6396 Pony Express Trail in Pollock Pines, a try last week, but he got sick (no, not from food). I was about to move it to another day when a young lady I know who had some errands in that area offered to join me for lunch. Let me see, Russ is an old geezer like me and she is much younger and way more attractive. I didn’t have to think about that too long.
Jim O’Keefe, owner and chef at J and J’s took over the Haven last year, renovated it and renamed it the New Haven. It looks very nice, is very clean and, if that Friday was any indication, is very popular.
I asked O’Keefe what it was I really liked when I reviewed J and J’s a couple of years ago and he immediately said “The Philly Cheesesteak.” He then recommended the lobster roll, which was the lunch special that day, but I am not that wild about lobster and when I eat it prefer to eat it at the shore in Maine when it is only a few hours out of the ocean. He also said that if I like fish and chips, his are the best (well, Jim, I will be back just for the fish and chips).
I ordered the Philly and my lunch partner ordered the the Prospector, which usually comes with beef, shrimp, cheese and secret sauce on whole wheat. “It was originally made with ham and I liked it that way,” she said, ordering it with ham.
The sandwiches came with a side, she ordered fries and I onion rings.
Now, I have to stop here and talk just about the fries and onion rings, even though the two sandwiches were excellent (I took half of mine home for dinner and it was still great reheated).
O’Keefe uses an outstanding beer batter on his onion rings and secret seasoning on the fries. The onion rings, which were made with whole pieces of onion were the best I have eaten in a long time and the fries, well they were still crispy and delicious even when no longer hot. I usually eat the fries first to get them while they are hot, but I didn’t have to there.
The New Haven specializes in great sandwiches, steaks, pasta and especially seafood, serving both lunch and dinner six days a week (closed on Monday). Looking over the lunch and dinner menu, both of which are being updated, I found a lot of things I would really like to try.
The hours at the New Haven are from 11:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from noon until 8 p.m. on Sunday. They have both indoor and patio seating. For more information call 530-644-3448.
“We are going to reopen J and J’s as a sports bar,” said O’Keefe (who’s chef’s jacket is way too clean). “It is going to specialize in sandwiches and pizza to take and bake at home, but no dinner.
“The people in Pollock Pines like our pizza, especially in the winter. If they buy one already baked, it is cold by the time they have gotten home and lit a fire in the stove to warm up the house. With ours, they can light the fire while it is baking and eat it hot, like it should be.”