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