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Krogh's Restaurant and Brew Pub
23 White Deer Plaza
Sparta, Sussex County, New Jersey
(973) 729-8428

By The Artful Diner
January 26, 2009

Krogh's ExteriorKrogh's is infinitely more than just another local happy-tappy... more than just a microbrew or National Historic Landmark... Perched on the shores of Lake Mohawk, formerly Brogden Meadow, Krogh's is, without doubt, an institution. It began life as a tea room and small gift shop in 1927, morphing into Krogh's Restaurant and Tap Room 10 years later. It was purchased by its fourth owner, Bob Fuchs, in 1981 and became Krogh's Restaurant & Brew Pub, a state-of-the-art microbrewery, in 1999.

There is no question that Krogh's chow has had its ups and downs through the years; however, under Mr. Fuchs' proprietorship, it has obviously found its own comfortable culinary niche, offering patrons a casually diverse eclectic menu augmented by first-rate handcrafted brews and a plethoric variety of live entertainment.

My wife and I have lunched here on numerous occasions and have always found the food to be to our liking. It certainly is not cutting edge -- then again, no one expects it to be -- but it is generally well prepared, generously proportioned, exceedingly satisfying, and reasonably priced. Throw in exuberantly personable youthful service, rustic log walls, and a family-friendly atmosphere (a kiddie menu is available) and you have a recipe for success.

The luncheon menu offers a variety of hot & cold sandwiches, salads, burgers, grilled chicken dishes, variations on Mexican themes, and personal pizzas. This, in turn, is supplemented by a list of daily specials, which incorporates more of the same and also a limited number of entrées. During our most recent visit, these included the likes of baked flounder, blackened catfish, beef stew, and stuffed shells.

On the other hand, always keep your eyes peeled for the wraps of the day, which are particularly recommended. The Italian version, for example, encompassed salami, ham, pepperoni, provolone cheese, and lettuce & tomatoes kissed by olive oil and red wine vinegar. But even better, in my opinion, is the maple-glazed chicken wrap served up with shredded cheddar. The catalyst that brings it all together, though, is an incredible honey-mustard mayo, which tantalizes the palate with just the proper commingling of sweetness and spice.

The various incarnations of grilled chicken are also worthy of consideration. All are moist and tender, not the least bit dry, and topped with an appetizing array of accoutrements. My fave, however, is the rendition smothered in a rich and tangy Welsh rarebit, a sauce comprised of sharp cheddar cheese, spices, and beer. Totally addictive.

PizzaMy wife, of course, always finds it difficult -- if not impossible -- to resist pizza. And here the personal-size pizzas are right on the money. They begin with a thin crispy crust, a splash of tomato-basil sauce, and a generous apportionment of mozzarella. You may then travel the vegetable, spicy Cajun chicken, or Mexican route... or create your own with individual toppings. In my wife's case, it was the pepperoni; and the pie was simply impossible to resist.

When it comes to sides, the fries are good... but the coleslaw is spectacular. Mundane, to be sure, but obviously prepared with special care. For starters, there's just the right combo of sugar and vinegar incorporated into the mayonnaise. But the real kickers are provided by touches of buttermilk and sour cream, both of which add decidedly mellifluous notes to the mix. A great accompaniment to any sandwich or burger.

And it's always wise to leave room for dessert. Krogh's mud pies -- cookies & cream, coffee royale, chocolate chip mint, and turtle pie -- are surely the pick of the litter. On the other hand, the peanut butter pie and Key lime pie are also very much up to the mark.

Additionally, if you arrive in the evening, there are a numerous "after-five" dinner selections, including seafood, steaks & pastas, and daily specials.

Krogh's cuisine isn't about to set the world on fire. Be that as it may, for what it is, and what it seeks to accomplish, it is eminently and consistently satisfying. And this is one of those restaurants in which the whole is infinitely more than the sum of the individual parts. It is totally unpretentious, slightly on the funky side, and always a pleasant dining experience.

Cuisine: Pub Grub/Eclectic
Hours: Lunch: Mon - Sat, 11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Dinner: Mon - Sat, 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. On Sundays, the restaurant is open from 12:00 noon - 9:00 p.m. The bar is open daily until 2:00 a.m.
Credit Cards: All major
Attire: Casual
Reservations: Strongly recommended for dinner
Parking: Ample street parking
Alcohol: License; microbrews
Price: Inexpensive/Moderate
Handicapped Accessible: Yes
Website: www.kroghs.com

The Artful Diner is an independent, freelance food writer.  His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.

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