The Boathouse At Verona Park

Thursday, Aug 27, 2009 12:02pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

When I found out that the snack bar at the Verona Park boathouse serves Middle Eastern food, I was intrigued, and decided to give it a try. When the manager/chef taking my order told me she was from Egypt, and my expectations soared.
I bypassed the traditional fast-food snacky menu of burgers, dogs, fries, and sandwiches, focusing on large photos of Middle Eastern fare. The Boathouse Cafe menu offers lots of choices – platters ($14-15) and sandwiches ($6-7) of pita with gyro, kebabs, and falafel. There are smallish sides of baba ganoush, houmous and tabouli ($6-10) and fattoush – a tomato/cucumber/onion salad enhanced with mint, garlic and lemon juice ($8). We decided on a falafel pita wrap ($6.50) and the chicken kebab platter ($14). After a bit of a wait, a friendly waiter delivered our meals lakeside.

Boathouse lunch.jpg
The food looked pretty good and portions were more than adequate. Despite the lovely setting – under umbrellas on the deck of the slate-roofed boathouse – lunch was a big disappointment.
Both dishes arrived lukewarm, at best. The falafel was dry, mealy, and bland. Missing were the pickles, tahini sauce, and marinated cabbage that my favorite falafel joints in Montclair serve. Rice was the only star on the the kebab platter. A mountain of yellow saffron rice, perfectly cooked, accompanied eight very tough chunks of lemony chicken, which tasted like they’d been in the fridge too long. The “salad” included with the platter was more of a garnish, consisting of 3 paper thin slices of tomato and cucumber and a soft leaf of iceberg lettuce. I went back to the counter to ask for a yogurt sauce, but what I got was a sweet dill mayo-based sauce. With our two bottled drinks, the bill came to $26.96 – way too much for a mediocre lunch.
I don’t plan on going back for another meal at The Boathouse, but there are some refreshments I’d try after a walk or bike ride around the gorgeous lake. Try the soft frozen lemonade, Italian ice, or Gifford’s ice cream in flavors like Wicked Good Chocolate, Maine Camp Coffee, and Mississippi Mud. Cups are $3, $4.50, and $6.00.
The Boathouse Cafe’s summer hours are 10:30 – 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. weekends. They serve breakfast sandwiches and bagels in the morning, and have several row boats and peddle boats for rent.


  1. POSTED BY cela71  |  August 29, 2009 @ 10:22 am

    I also was excited to try the middle eastern food. Unfortunately, 99% of the times I’ve been there, they are only serving “american food” or just ice cream (sometimes only certain flavors) or just coffee. They are even closed during their posted business hours. It is really frustrating to plan a day out to the park with children and elderly folks in wheelchairs – by the time you get all the equiptment out of the car and get to the boathouse, they are closed or not serving the food they advertise. I would LOVE to go there more often IF someone could enforce that they get it together. It would be a great bonus to have a place to eat in the park.

  2. POSTED BY lostnewyorker  |  September 23, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

    Stopped by a few weeks ago and thought I’d try it. I thought it was pretty good, not great. Far better than the usual stuff though. But to expensive for what it is.

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