The Reuben says everything you need to know about Washington House. Not only does the kitchen staff bake the rye bread, it also produces the pastrami, ferments the sauerkraut and whips up the Thousand Island dressing for this capacious sandwich ($12), which comes with a house-made pickle.
That speaks about the dedication to quality at this well-thought-out spot, where evidence of careful planning extends beyond the menu to the drinks, the layout and the decor.
With a sophisticated new look and an elevated yet accessible new menu, a tired roadhouse turns into a lively magnet.
Built as a grand residence in 1860, Washington House in Basking Ridge soon became a hotel and got through Prohibition by smuggling Jersey Lightning (applejack). Post-Prohibition, the structure soldiered on as a pub under various names and owners. Since reopening last May after a six-month gutting and renovation, the reborn Washington House has been winning converts at a fast clip.