Named for a character in the children’s book “The Wind in the Willows,” Rat’s Restaurant at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, offers every bit as much charm and whimsy as the park itself.

Step inside the old-fashioned French countryside-style café or choose a seat outdoors with a view of Monet’s Bridge (a real-life imitation of Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s work).

The food itself at Rat’s is modern and seasonal, with items inspired by French countryside classics, such a trout almondine, potato-leek ravioli, escargot in garlic butter, roasted beet salad with avocado and steak frites.

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Some items, such as the chicken salad sandwich with tarragon mayo, are delicious in their simplicity. Others, including the grapefruit meringue tart with pistachio mousse, are masterpieces.

To drink, you can choose from wine, beer, cocktails and several non-alcoholic concoctions like the watermelon and cucumber fresca that are just perfect for a warm summer day.

Rat’s is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Reservations, available through Open Table, are recommended.

Learn more at RatsRestaurant.com.

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Got a story you'd like to see on NJ Flavor? Email Jackie Lieberman at jlieberman@tapinto.net.