Bowman’s Tavern: New Hope, Pennsylvania

Near the historic site where George Washington crossed the Delaware sits a tavern the locals know well. It’s a mile from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and sits below Bowman’s Hill, where the Continental Army used the elevation as a lookout during the American Revolution.

Bowman’s Tavern offers a casual ambiance, delicious food, and live entertainment seven nights a week. It is one of those rare finds where you can stop in any night for a small plate, a light lunch or a hearty dinner, and never choose the same entreĆ©. The diverse menu has seasonal favorites, burgers, and chops, but also unexpected international ingredients that offer flavors to tantalize any palate.

Location: Bowman’s Tavern is located at 1600 River Road in New Hope, Pennsylvania. (website here.)

Menu: The menu at Bowman’s is extensive. The appetizers are so intriguing that you might make a meal of a few small starters. There are exotic dips, a decadent plate of mac & cheese with truffle bread crumbs, cornmeal-dusted oysters, and mussels with fennel broth.

The salads include a variety of toppings that change with the seasons. The sandwich list has a lot of variety and includes a hearty roasted lamb with a portobello mushroom or a grass-fed burger. Burger toppings are classic but one preparation described a spicy cajun coating with blue cheese and red onion jam. This one would make a diner pause. Butcher cut steaks and seafood entrees top the dinner menu alongside a Posole Rojo for those who adore Latin flavors.

Thoughts: Bowman’s Tavern switched owners over its long history, but loyal patrons demand that Bowman’s stay as true as possible to the original. Locals want to return time and time again for what the restaurant does best – fresh, delicious food, sourced locally, with an extensive wine and beer program.

Equally important, is the casual atmosphere and friendly vibe that diners feel as soon as they walk into the door. When the host greets you warmly you can request a table in the expansive dining room or a seat in a smaller section with six high top tables and a section of the famous bar. The extensive menu is available in either area.

My group decided to visit for a late lunch. We were beyond hungry and immediately drawn to several appetizers. Most meals typically begin with at least one starter but after reading the menu we ordered three.

First, we tasted the roasted honeynut squash, whipped Beemster cheese, pistachio dukkah, pomegranate molasses, and long hot salsa. Honeynut squash is a cross between butternut and buttercup squash and is pleasingly sweet. The roasting process enhanced the honey flavor and gave it a charred exterior that added a smokey taste. Dukkah, a traditional Egyptian spice blend, dots the mix of cheese, squash, molasses, and long hot salsa. The nut and spice mix tasted incredible. We spread the dip over toasts and it was one of our favorite bites.

Next, we ordered the whipped Fulper farms ricotta with local raw honey, burnt thyme, black pepper, and aged balsamic. The ricotta tasted creamy and luscious mixed with the raw honey and aged balsamic. It reminded me of savory ice cream.

Obviously, we couldn’t resist the comforting dish of macaroni & cheese, so we tried that too. The dish consisted of melted cheddar and parmesan cheeses draped over garganelli pasta. The final topping of truffled bread crumbs added crunch and an earthy flavor. It was addictive and really satisfying on a cold, rainy, winter day.

Despite stuffing ourselves on starters, a warm spinach salad with roasted honey crisp apples, blue cheese, crispy pancetta, spiced walnuts, and bourbon vinaigrette as well as two sandwiches; the roasted pork, and the fried chicken arrived.

The salad was a riff on a traditional warm spinach salad and the toppings paired beautifully with the dressing. It was deeply satisfying. The flavor combinations of crunchy nuts, cheese, crispy pancetta, and roasted apples were a winning combination of savory and sweet.

The roast pork sandwich, topped with broccoli rabe, provolone, caramelized onions and roasted garlic aioli on a sesame seeded long roll looked enormous. The pork sliced thin and piled high on the crunchy roll remained juicy. The bread soaked in the juices. The provolone was mild and covered the slightly bitter broccoli rabe. It was a delicious sandwich, but a huge portion. We wrapped half of it to take home.

Two buttermilk brined and fried chicken thighs topped a delicate brioche bun. The bread, slathered with jalapeƱo aioli and house-made garlic pickles added great heat. The chicken was tender and juicy, yet the crust remained crisp. The portion, also generous, was divided into four pieces to share.

It was a comfort meal on a cold day. The warm wood-paneled room felt homey and the lunch crowd lingered over their meals in quiet conversation. Best of all, there was no rush, just slow food in a relaxed ambiance. It was a pleasure to dine in a restaurant that takes pride in creating a place where you always feel welcome and always leave well-fed.

Price Range: Appetizers and salads run from $10-14. Sandwiches and burgers are $15. Entrees range in price from $17-30 with a 14 oz ribeye coming in at $43.

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