BY COL. ANDREW J. SMITH
Mark the calendar because for once I’ve broken completely with my tradition. First off, I went to The 76 House in Tappan where I’d never been before (although had driven past many times). Then I perused the menu and saw that they offered Cobb salad and fish and chips, both of which are my lifelong trusted standbys. But I felt like a change in my new surroundings, so I departed from old habits. Instead, I ordered their wild boar with beans and onions appetizer and the hot roast beef sandwich, with my usual seltzer and lemon.
As I waited for my appetizer, I wandered around and took in all of the history as The 76 House is as historic as it gets for local history—and national history too. I found where Maj. Andre’s cell was and I admired the hand-hewn native chestnut timbers and the original floors, which had that familiar wave to it that all old buildings of that vintage have.
I couldn’t help but think that where I was Washington once ate, as did Lafayette, Hamilton, and others. Built in 1686, it has to be one of the oldest buildings still surviving in the nation. I was served by the very hospitable Katerina, who took time to chat with me, as did the owner, Robert Norden (aka Neunteufel) who I spoke German with briefly. Katarina has told the owner that I spoke a rusty German so he came over and we had a very nice relaxed chat.
My appetizer arrived and was a brand new experience, as I had never had wild boar before. It was a lot like pork sausage except it tasted grilled instead of fried. The beans and onions were barbecued, which was also a different experience. I may try to recreate it on my own.
The entrée was nicely sized with a good mound of sliced beef and onions on a grilled roll and very juicy, served with French fries and a pickle. I liked it very much and recommend it. There was a bottle of Saratoga spring water on every table, which I had heard of but never had so I sampled it with lemon and found it very refreshing. By then I was too full for dessert, as usual. As I finished my meal and spring water, I continued to chat with Katarina and the very nice bar tender from South Africa whose name I didn’t get.
The tab came to $34.90 and I have to say that the historic atmosphere was unparalleled as was the very friendly service and management. I expect to stop in again next time I’m passing by. It is a combined experience you won’t find anywhere else around here.