There’s a new place in Morristown named End of Elm and it’s a keeper. This is precisely what Morristown has needed since Urban Table opened and forever tainted the gene pool with lackluster service and poor food. True, End of Elm is formulaic and still brand new, but they tried darned hard to make me happy with something that’s missing at most other places in town – good old customer service.
End Of Elm, Morristown, NJ
First, let’s take a look at the space. With broad windows overlooking the spot where Elm hits Morris Avenue by the NJ Transit station, the constant flow of traffic outside makes the interior a very cheery place. The bar is in the rear of the room, and there’s comfortable seating by the windows to the right as you enter. There are also stand-up tables, and good lighting from mono-filament bulbs.
I asked for a cocktail list and was greeted not with a “we don’t do cocktails,” but with a refreshing “yes sir.” The bartender introduced himself as Vinnie and shook my hand with confidence. Cocktails are my forte – and mangled cocktails my desire – but that was not meant to be at End of Elm. The list is not overwrought, nor overly intellectual; good ingredients are used simply, and there is a careful hand behind the stick.
I ordered a drink named the Montucky. It was good enough, with fine ingredients, like Buffalo Trace, the ubiquitous Luxardo Liqueur, a sweet vermouth of uncertain provenance (I think it was Martini and Rossi), and a Luxardo cherry. The drink was stirred not shaken and the ice used was a 1/2 cube for the mixing glass. Vinnie was confident in his bar tending skills, and he makes a fine cocktail using jiggers for measurement (nice touch). I think it was on the weak side, but I like my drinks made strong, especially when they are served “up.” My cocktail was served up in a nice clean glass. A plus!
cocktail list at End of Elm
Next time I go, I’m attracted to the Sweet Devil with an egg white, which should have a bit more kick than the Montucky.
On back-bar shelf they had BOTH Aperol and Campari. Again, nice touch. I didn’t check out their rum selection, or their Scotch selection, but they certainly had a nice variety of bourbon whiskey. They seem to carry the usual suspects for beer with quite a few craft style beers- all with their correct glassware- nice touch, again!
In a nutshell, the owners may be young, but this room attracts an interesting crowd for Morristown. The service gets a B+ for remembering my name and shaking my hand. I’m sure they will always remember my name now that I’ve reviewed it for the Devil Gourmet.
Montucky at End of Elm
End of Elm creates flirtatious food that speaks to a commitment to use simple ingredients made with love. The food is a modern take on tapas with items like chicken and waffles, and a prime beef burger with a Comte cheese fondue that was much better than it had to be. The Prime burger sported nice grill marks, tasted very freshly ground, and was well seasoned with both salt and pepper. The fries are shoestring, served with real ketchup, and the roll was very good.
Again, End of Elm goes further than they need to – after all this is Morristown. It is not Hoboken, nor Montclair. But times are a changing. And hopefully I won’t have to travel to far to find a drink that hasn’t been mangled into submission first. I can only hope that more places in town know how to craft a fine cocktail. End of Elm, neither an Irish bar, nor a beer and shot joint, deserves to succeed, and by crafting good food coupled with fine liquor and craft cocktails, I know they will.
That is what this column is about! The art of the cocktail. No, not a Scotch and soda, nor a Cosmo. I don’t drink those, and you should try to break out of your mold at least once! Over the course of this column we will certainly find the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s what cocktails are all about, unfortunately.
I don’t have an agenda, nor do I want to hurt anyone’s feelings with this column. I’d like to see all bars do better! It’s my topic after all. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to order a Ramos Gin Fizz or a Sazerac and not be served a milkshake or a shaken Sazerac? In conclusion I offer a lovely cocktail quote: A Bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory. And speaking of pharmacists that mix cocktails……
Cheers! (Please forgive my photos, I was trying not to be obvious that I was reviewing them.)
140 Morris Street
Morristown, NJ 07960