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163 Bayard Lane, Princeton, NJ, USA

Elements Princeton Reviews

mrgishi mrgishi
134 reviews
Excellent new restaurant in Princeton Dec 30, 2009
Finally a worthy restaurant opens in Princeton. Princeton has a number of decent restaurants, but most of them have been around for a while. Elements brings a cutting edge and excitement to the local dining scene with experienced chefs from the vaunted Ryland Inn. Here you will find a few items that you won't see anywhere else in New Jersey such as real Kobe beef, real wasabi, and Kindai tuna. This rare farm raised tuna comes direct from Japan and they are one of the few restaurants in the US that serve it (which includes places like Per Se and Le Bernardin).

Needless to say, I had to try the tuna, so my first course was a special of the Kindai prepared two ways. One was a slinky serpent of sashimi that was only slightly amped up with herbs, oil and scallions ... a dollop of real wasabi on the side. The other was a tataki seared perfectly crisp on one side, but still delicately raw on the other side. This tuna has a clean, smooth and delicate taste that starts off mild, but becomes more flavorful as you eat more of it. I had this course with a dirty lychee martini made with sake, lychee juice, and yuzu that went perfectly with the tuna.

For the entree, I had to get the short ribs because it was sous vide for 48 hours. It was not fall-apart, melt in your mouth like I thought it would be, but it was tender enough, very flavorful, and surprisingly still rare in the center. It was served on a tasty potato puree and with shishito peppers, that went surprisingly well with the meat. While this dish was screaming for a great red wine, I opted for the Aecht Schenkerla Rauchbier Marzen because I was very curious about it. This beer is what is known as a smoke beer, and oh my, was it ever smoky! It had an incredible cinder smell to it. The beer is dark, but not sludgy and has a chocolate/coffee taste in addition to the smoke. It was very smooth and not as bitter as you would think. While it was overpowering for the short ribs, it actually went well with the dish when I would eat the meat with the shishito peppers.

We opted not to try dessert, but they threw in petit fours and mini pound cakes were handed out at the door as we left. One of the things I really like about the place is that while some things are very expensive, it is possible to have a reasonably priced meal. The cocktail/beer/wine selection is vast and they are plenty of good values. The service is professional, but not pretentious whatsoever. They also offer a six course chef's tasting menu and special nine course meal served a table in the kitchen. I might just have to try that at some point.
Kindai tuna
48 hour short ribs
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