My lovely friend, M, who lives outside of Princeton, invited me to the opening of Elements restaurant. I’m always up for that. Anyone (anywhere) feel free to ask me, anytime.
Elements is a brand new, built from scratch, modern gem of a restaurant co-owned by chef Scott Anderson (formerly Chef de Cuisine of The Ryland Inn) and Stephen Distler. It serves “interpretive American Cuisine,” which means a little of everything – Asian, Latin and Mediterranean. All of it, judging from the tastes we had, was delicious.
The cardoon (cousin to the artichoke) soup was rich and delicious. The corn crepe was yummy and there were various other tastes that came and went much too quickly. Miniature jelly doughnuts were adorable.
One nifty feature is the chef’s table (actually there are two of them), with prime viewing of everything that’s going on in the kitchen.
Elements will also be offering tasting menus and there’s a private dining space for 8,
and a larger one located in a loft upstairs. There’s also a sensational 600 pound sculpture by Frank Bowman Krimmel, hanging high above the Chef’s tables across from the loft.
The hosting was warm and friendly. I got there early and chatted with the waiter. He told me that everything is made fresh everyday…no vats of pre-prepared vegetables are hiding in the kitchen. When I looked up, I could see people walking across the antique glass overpass, which is visible from the dining room.
L arrived and the feasting began with a spiced apple cider champagne cocktail. Ooh la la.
I shouldn’t have worried. The shrimp were fat and juicy butterflied little darlings set atop a perfectly dressed avocado mushroom and tomato salad. The vinaigrette was a champagne vinegar one, which I couldn’t particularly discern, but it was wonderful.
Thankfully, the slowly baked salmon didn’t come out medium, as ordered by L. It was still very pink in the middle. The truffled mashed potatoes were unctuous and so smooth I could have eaten a vat of them.
Coffee came before dessert. I have to remember this isn’t Paris. It was an absolutely exceptional cappuccino. (I know in Rome I’d get the evil eye if I ordered that in the middle of the afternoon.)
Dessert was pretty fabulous. The first was an autumn cheesecake that was served with yummy figs and a Concord grape sorbet. The sorbet tasted like just-plucked grapes that had been whirled into a sorbet moments before. The cheesecake was accompanied by a crispy black sesame tuile-like cookie. Divine, but I must have been on my 5th cocktail, when I took this picture.
This brings to 4 the number of Jean Georges restaurants I’ve been to. (I love having goals.) I really like them all - Jean Georges (visited in my pre-blogging days) is amazing, but Spice Market is probably my favorite (especially when I get to meet a blogging buddy). Vong comes next, but Mercer Kitchen is close behind. I thought the service was a lot warmer here than at Vong, although they did threaten to take away a plate before we both were through – one of my hugest pet peeves.
Just remember, lunch à deux or launching a new restaurant…I’m always ready and willing.