Sunday, March 08, 2009

Elements, Princeton NJ

Princeton finally has a good restaurant! The biggest compliment I can pay Elements is that while we were there, we forgot we were in Princeton. It felt like New York or Philadelphia in every aspect -- decor, service, and most importantly, the food. And when we finished our 3 hour tasting menu at midnight, we only had to a travel a couple miles up the road!

We partook of the $75 Winter Tasting Menu. The guys got the wine pairings with it. We started out with an amuse of kobe lardo (made from the leftover bits from making other dishes - can't waste good kobe!) And tiny bites of the citrus salad, and scallop crudo. The scallop made me want to go back and order the whole appetizer - I've recently realized that I really prefer scallop raw over cooked.

The first course was a Kindai tuna tartare. Kindai is a new farm-raised bluefin tuna shipped over from Japan, which is supposed to have lower mercury levels and of course be more eco-friendly than eating caught tuna. I'm happy to eat sustainable tuna and do my part in the over-fishing problem.

We also got the pork belly appetizer for the table. God, I love pork belly -- nothing quite comes close to the goodness of pork. And the accoutrements for this dish - Bartlett pear, radish, and whatever was in that sauce - were excellent.

Next course were scallops. I'm forgetting exactly how they were served - with some vegetable puree, wild mushrooms and a foam. Different from the diver scallop dish on the regular menu.

Next course was squab (from the local Griggstown Farm). This was my favorite dish on the tasting. The broth was delicious, the squab was a perfect medium rare. And the last meat dish, was filet mignon with potato puree, maitake mushrooms, and Swiss chard -- also excellent.

Next, they brought out a cheese course, with three hard cheese all from local cheesemakers, starting left to right going from younger and milder to more aged and pungent. The accompaniments with each cheese complemented really well. For the last, most pungent cheese, it actually came with grape jelly and chocolate shavings!

The only disappointing item on the tasting menu was the dessert. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't quite up to the level of everything else, I thought.

Finally, they brought some miniature cookies and petitfours, and sent us home with a mini pound cake to have for breakfast the next day.

Again, all I can say is Hallelujah for finally having a place like this in Princeton!

163 Bayard Lane
Princeton, NJ


Seeking said...

Nicely put fougoo! I went to Elements in February, and concur with you about the kindai tuna and the scallops (I tried the appetizer and the main dish) were divine. The service was fantastic, and venue swanky. The only small weak spot was dessert. A treat of a restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Not one plate the entire evening was even close to being finished. Unseasoned, bland, over complicated food and extremely over priced. This was the absolute worst dinning experience I've had in a long, long time, the food sent out to the customers was embarassing. I'll give the Elements another 6 months before it closes. Stick to other local joints like the ferry house and Blue bottle cafe or take the train into NYC for fine dinning.

Anonymous said...

Ate there on Saturday night and was expecting a great meal, boy was I let down. I eat out often at some of the best restaurants in NYC and Philly, and was excited to see fine dinning come to Princeton. The four of us had probably the worst meal at Elements than I could remember. Starting with a terribly unseasoned amuse bouche and rude waitress. The appetizer course was beyond uneatable, especially for charging New York prices. Out of the 4 ordered, polenta, short rib ravoli, warm calamari salad and tuna tarte, one was worse than the next. From bland, unseasoned, to gummy, undercooked ravioli and over cooked chewy calamari.
The entire course was slightly better but not by much. the 48 hour short rib were cooked properly but the "chimicuri" sauce on the meat was repulsive. Both the lamb and steak died twice, asked for medium rare and received medium well. The steak was like eating sandpaper, obviously cooked off hrs before, sliced once off the grill and left on window too long. When talking to the waitress about the food served to us she gave snotty comments.
The worst dinning experience I had in a long long time, way too expensive for the garbage they send out from the kitchen. I'll give the Elements another 6 months before it closes. Stick to other local joints like the ferry house and Blue bottle cafe.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the 2 "reviews" above have obviously been cut and pasted by the same person on every single site that has a review of elements and not once by a member. They are all single postings. It is quite obvious this person is from one of the other two places mentioned at the end. Sadly trying to slag on a FANTASTIC restaurant. This place is the best dining outside of the city by a wide margin. And PLEASE, the Ferry House? Blue Bottle is ok but doesn't hold a candle to Elements.

Anonymous said...

Celebrated our anniversary with a fabulous meal. The kindai tuna appetizer was sublime - fresh and slightly sweet. Terrific! The pepper calimari was a sharp contrast to the tuna and was excellent. Our main courses were skate and monk fish. Both were perfectly prepared and were accompanied with an array of interesting vegatables. Our wine selection, Clos Julien Chardonay complimented the meal. We finished our evening with the kit kat chocolate plate. Wow, it was a chocohaulic's delight. The complimentary petifores were a pleasant surprise. The small pound cakes made a nice breakfast treat. Fabulous!

dining tables said...

Wow! Those foods are so mouth watering. I want to try that very yummy dish. I can't wait to try and eat those amazing foods. I am so hungry right now.