Monday, August 4, 2014

Perona Farms

There are some banquet halls in NJ that offer buffet style lunch and/or dinner on a regular basis. That is, when there isn't an event going on. One such popular place is Perona Farms. Supposedly their brunches get really busy especially since they can cater to larger groups. So one day, Mr. M&P, Ms. Pastry Chef, Ms. Cordon Bleu, and myself went in search of food.
The room is set up like a wedding with tables spread all around. But don't worry, there are small tables too. Plenty of 2 tops for the smaller parties. I also saw plenty of birthdays being celebrated so round tables holding 8 to 10 people was spread around as well. Once you are seated, a waiter comes around and takes your order. Then you're led to the room with all the food. It's buffet style so take as much or as little as you please. I always like to take a walk around the room first to see what's being offered. Then I go back for the items I want to try.

My first plate including the raw seafood bar like shrimp cocktail, oysters, clams, and smoked salmon. Each of these items were decent. Not the best but certainly just fine. I also tried the eggs benedict (this is very popular) and kale salad. The eggs benedict was much better than I assumed. The egg was actually properly cooked being completely runny in the middle. That is talent because these babies were just sitting in a warmed chafing dish. I think that the popularity of this item keeps the rotation fresh. And thus, the egg not being overcooked. The kale salad was really, really good. Refreshing, crunchy, and well dressed.

My next plate was more cooked protein with sliced prime rib au jus, fish, chicken, asparagus salad, chicken salad on endive, sweet potato salad, and a Manhattan chowder. These items were less impressive. Most of the meats were just okay. This is where the texture suffered from being in chaffing dishes. Interestingly enough, the fish was the best of this plate.
If you're more of a sweet person, don't fret. There are plenty of stations for you including make your own waffles, cooked to order pancakes, French toast, chocolate fountain, cakes, pies, cookies, and various other desserts. What I chose was a doughnut from the active doughnut machine. That's right. A machine that's making fresh doughnuts as you wait. Once perfectly fried, dip it into the topping of your choice. I chose cinnamon sugar. With that, I also tried the creme brulee, apple pie taquitos, and fresh fruit. The doughnut was pretty good as well as the fruit. Unfortunately the creme brulee wasn't. The custard tasted off and the sugar on top wasn't hard at all. The taquito was really sweet and basically inedible for me. But if you like super sweet apple pie filling like the kind found in McDonald's, then you would like this.
After the sweets, I wanted to go back to savory but didn't want anything too heavy. So I opted to eat more of the kale salad and some smoked salmon.
Interesting enough, if you don't find anything that you particularly like at the buffet, the kitchen will take a special order if it's reasonable. No, you're not getting pate en croute. But if you wanted scrambled eggs, then you won't be denied.

Overall, I thought Perona Farms to be okay. I'm not a huge fan of buffets in general due to the mediocre food that usual falls hand in hand with them. But if you wanted a venue that can serve a large party for brunch, this would be a very good idea.

Perona Farms
350 Andover Sparta Road
Andover Township, NJ 07821
(973) 729-6161
www.peronafarms.com

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