MISTRAL without question. Interesting and delicious food (many hits, some misses). Outside of a decent flatbread and (used to) have Pappy Van Winkle by glass , Agricola is a great concept that to me has fallen flat. Service, especially in bar, leaves a lot to be desired
Not trying to be argumentative, but living in NJ and splitting balance of time between Philadelphia and NY - I wouldn't recommend 90 acres or Bernards Inn as a destination restaurant.
Both are good, especially considering other local options. Maybe even destination worthy within their respective areas of NJ.
But coming from NYC, I think you'd be slightly disappointed in the food. Not that its bad; but in relative terms...
I second Northfolk or Blue Hill. Or Basement Bistro (iirc?) if you are super lucky or willing to make a weekend of it. Or head up to Maine and do White Barn Inn and Arrows ?(though I didn't care too much for latter my two times there, I am in minority)
it wasn't as good as the first time I went. Some dishes were great, some were trying to be so much but just flopped.
I don't understand why there wasn't enough surprise on the old menu when you chose a few items and the stream of amuse (to me, highlight of meal) seemed to keep things plenty interesting
I will also say on last visit - noise was way too loud
Still like the restaurant, love the value, but seems like a step in wrong direction
Friend and I went here before the new Sushi Nakazawa - again, unfortunately still in office so limited time for a review - but wanted to get a few thoughts out.
Truthfully, the main issues with JUNI involve its "packaging". Being touted as vegetable-forward is deceiving at best, and to be candid, this new fine dining establishment doesn't reinvent the wheel entirely - but all that said, its still really freaking good.
Amuse started a bit strange when me and my buddy were asked to split three amuse bouche - with one on each of our plates and one in the middle to "fight" over
(Cold) Foie Gras with Frog Hollow Peach Tartare, Pistachio Dust and Housemade Brioche - 4/5 - delicious and perfectly done, although nothing we have never seen before. I'm a sucker for peach and the beautiful foie made it all the better
Haas avocado – peekytoe crab – californian caviar – coriander
A reiteration of flavor combinations I've seen before, the addition of perfectly cooked quail eggs on the edge of the plate, and the perfect execution of an albeit tired theme, still worked for me and was thoroughly enjoyable 4/5
summer squash – langoustine – naval orange reduction – marigold
Langoustine was great, and addition of squash blossoms (I believe?) inventive, but I found the reduction and squash combination a bit sweet.
anise hyssop – grimaud duck – chef’s garden candy beets – hibiscus jus
I will say, outright, that for traditional "fine dining", especially with appetizers, that despite delicious, seemed to stay within the lines a bit too much for my liking - the entrées were spectacular.
This is a great duck dish - super flavorful, and unfortunately, I don't remember quite enough about it, as however it good it was, it was overshadowed by the venison to follow
quinoa – veal tenderloin – burdock – mizuna – hon shimejis
I will go out and say it. After being served the duck, we had resolved that this was a talented kitchen (plating as beautiful as the best in NYC) that needed to just think a bit more outside the box. I'm okay with traditional, especially when it tastes this good, but it wouldn't hurt to show us something, within the premise of restaurant, that exemplifies a willingness to take a little risk - or do something a bit different.
This venison dish did just that. Pickled hon shimejis, black truffle emulsion, perfectly cooked veal tenderloin, I have to put it out there - this is one of the best entrees I've had in awhile (even though the veal could have used a tiny bit more salt for my liking) - The earthiness, and umami in this dish is crazy - and fitting as a perfect cap to the meal, I would come back just for this dish
I think, with a few more risks taken, this can join the ranks of the top echelon of the better, refined, fine dining in the city
Crab Salad with Avocado and Quail Eggs
I went last night for the opening. At work, so I don't have time to write up a detailed review, but a few key items to mention -
Definitely a new top contender for great sushi, despite a few missteps. Sardine (from Oregon) was definitely the overall favorite from the meal (and one of my favorites ever) with pieces like King Salmon, Scallop, Sweet Shrimp, and various pieces of toro also top notch. Actually, I had one of, if not, the best toro hand roll I've ever had.
A lot of the shellfish was cracked open right at that counter - full fish broken down and sliced right in front of you, which I think added something to the overall experience. You were able to choose your sea urchin (somewhat gimmicky) but an ode to the quality and freshness of the ingredients (though for some reason, we much preferred the uni from 15 EAST and found the iron/metallic flavor and texture of the version here slightly offputting)
All in all though, it was a great meal, and if a few of the rough edges can be worked out, this could be a contender for one of the top spots in the city.
Sparkling Wines, Wines, and Sake - as well as flights of the three - are available - we did a sake pairing and although we enjoyed it, the pacing was strange as we had three glasses for the first three pieces and then noticeable gaps in between.
We ordered a few additional pieces but were cut off at three as it appeared, since they were breaking most of the fish down to order, that they cut us off. Oh well
Get there before it becomes totally nuts.
I thought it was great (agree with below posters that crab dip mediocre and to be avoided) but the chicken liver curry, betel leaves, and green curry (been a long week and can't remember details) were all fantastic.
I have always loved Craft for what it is - incredible ingredients, cooked simply, but perfectly. My only gripe is that the prices are somewhat high, but I think again, it goes back somewhat to the quality of product being used.
Can't answer why it doesn't at least have one star (domestically) as I think it is better than a number of those...that being said, if I were in charge of Michelin on this side of the pond, I wouldn't be tossing stars to every reasonably good restaurant in NYC; especially since many of the one stars, to me, are operating at very different levels. It takes away some of the distinction IMHO
Annisa by a decent margin.
Went tonight for dinner. All in all - a lot of promise, and going to be another great addition to Princeton dining scene (and steps away from new Agricola) To be candid, it has the potential to be my favorite restaurant in Central NJ that I can comfortably wear jeans to - but it does have a few kinks to work out
The menu and ambiance truly feels like a more casual Elements. Many difference influences on the menu, with some dishes (such as Octopus with patatas bravas screaming of Spain or the Mediterranean) while others ("kimchi pancakes" or "korean short ribs") more Asian inspired.
Best part - its byob, shaving my typical elements bill in half.
Clam Chowder Mushi - Wow - this was great. All of the flavors you'd expect in clam chowder, but complimented with "smoked potato" and razor clams. A perfect example of elevating cuisine with different techniques but with a purpose
Korean Short Ribs with Morel Kimchi - Best Dish of the night (for me) by a long shot. Unexpectedly simple - but a total knockout dish with an amazing flavor profile.
Onsen Egg with Asparagus, Fragola, and Roasted Maitakes- A close second for best dish of the night. Soft poached onsen egg - with the earthiness of mushrooms and spring notes of the crispy asparagus - a true comfort dish, somehow elevated.
Fluke Crudo with Tomatillo Jelly, Avocado Puree, Szechuan Pepper (I think - getting hard to remember?) Loved the balance and freshness of this dish. It reminded me of the type of raw dishes that I've grown to love at Momofoku Ko - where the fish is the star but still complemented by aggressive flavors not typically associated with raw seafood dishes.
Bucatini with Soft Shell Crab - My wife liked this much more than I did but it was a simple pasta, with some fresh soft shell crab - this dish was most like what I had expected from the restaurant - which upon booking my reservation, I had assumed was going to be simple, Mediterranean flavors. Only complaint that it was served somewhat lukewarm
Chicken Yakitori - Not what I expected (no "stick" served") and to be candid, I can't fairly evaluate as I do not like orange flavors with savory foods, but my wife said it was good, not great. I took her word for it for the most part but tried the chicken and felt it was fine.
Not so great
Octopus with Patatas Bravas - Just having returned from an eating tour of Spain, I am probably (unfairly so) critical of this type of dishes. Unfortunately, the potato component was more like a latke; which would be fine, if the spicier sauce that unites patatas bravas worked. The octopus was inconsistent, with some pieces tasty and others way too tough - and the sauce never came together. We both kept detecting a really off-putting metallic taste to the sauce, which made the whole dish taste medicinal. The dish has potential but didn't work in its current iteration for me.
Sweetbread Canneloni - Bland sweetbreads. Chewy, gummy Pasta. A rare total miss on an otherwise delicious menu
Desserts were tasty but not yet memorable - favorite was Rhubarb tart with Buttermilk Ice Cream which was nicely balanced.
Only gripe was that they don't accept AMEX. So despite my glowing review (yes, it is a worth a 2nd and 3rd (....) visit, I will stomp my feet in frustration that they don't accept AMEX
So.....go. It looks like they have plans to put a fireplace in the outside area and with only 45 inside seats, it may not be easy to get in to in the next few weeks
Thanks! Looking forward to making it back to Spain once work slows down a bit
I'll be in your great city from Wednesday-Friday this week, and the boards have been very helpful in helping me craft the few meals I have free, with August and Stella! in the works, and a few of the good ol' standbys
That being said, I have a 5am flight on Saturday morning - and expect to be out already on Friday until 12-1am easy with some colleagues. I initially intended on getting a hotel but thought maybe $300 would be better spent elsewhere, especially since I am leaving for airport around 3am the next morning.
So, my question is this - is there a place with good food, cocktails/wine list, etc - where I can snack at bar until 2:30-3am until I have to leave for flight? I am staying at the JW Marriott in FQ I believe and will likely want to be in the general area, though worst case, I can always take a cab.
Gastropub type food and atmosphere would be great, but really just focused on good food and drink
Have you looked at 41 degrees? (experiences menu)
Capping off a trip which included amazing meals of Martin Berasetagui, Arzak, El Cellar De Can Roca, Asador Extebarri, Alkimia, and more - 41 degrees remains the most memorable and consistent (amazing feat considering it ends up being over 50 unique tastes)
Best meal of my life, perhaps.
On a different note altogether, we hated Quimet and Quimet. While it was slightly skewed, having come from San Sebastian, nothing we ate at Q&Q was great - and the shrimp appetizer was bland and low quality - and the mushroom croquettes cold in the middle.
Interesting. Breslin remains my favorite brunch in the city - between delicious pastry basket, lamb burger, and any of the egg or pancake based renditions we have had, it always satisfies..
unfortunately, food is nothing special for the prices (not bad, per se, just not memorable) and with better restaurants in surrounding areas/towns, its not worth the hassle
still believe 15 East is the best.
Ichimura (within Brushstroke) may be your next best bet.
and the wine list is as awesome as ever....
Dave Santos is opening a restaurant in West Village so I believe Um Segredo is suspended, for a few weeks at least
Ate at Atera last night and Jungsik tonight (this is my third time at the latter)
Hard to compare since they are so different in experience but I will say Jungsik keeps getting better and the Wagyu course and the smoked pork jowel were two of the best things I've eaten this year
American Cut is great cut - skip dessert and save some room for "tacos de lengua" from distrito cantina
So, after abandoning our efforts to make our 9:15 reservation at Lincoln in NYC, we decided to stay relatively local and check out the new Menu format at Elements in Princeton.
Now with a 4 course, 6 course, and Chef's Tasting menu, the experience in my opinion has been truly elevated. You can still order any of the courses a la carte (although the prices are pretty high to do so), but with the smallest of the menus at $69 and the larger six course menu at $89, those appeared to be the better route. I imagine the Chef's tasting is similar to the one they usually would do in the kitchen.
Before getting to the food, Justin has really developed an awesome wine list with an amazing depth and some awesome values, especially for a restaurant program in NJ. With options for someone looking to splurge (Sine Qua Non at $495 or the venerable Domaine Romanee-Conti '02 Grands Echezeaux at $1900), I was more impressed by some of the better valued and more obscure offerings, with about fifteen options from Corsica, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Provence as well as some inexpensive bottles blessed with some more bottle age, like the '90 Villa de Vetrice, Chianti Rufina at $89. After a glass of bubbly, my wife decided she was going to be drinking much more than a glass, so we opted to try and pair a white wine by the glass for the first few lighter courses, and then move into a half bottle of red.
Trying to peruse the options for white wine's by the glass, we were offered 1994, Schloss Schonborn Kabinett by the glass and easily accepted. With our meal was off to a great start, we decided on the six course menu.
First noticeable change was after the usual bread assortment, we had three different amuse bouches. While the details are a little hazy, I know it began with a perfect raw tuna sashimi dish, followed by a really tasty vegetable egg roll, and ending with a Squid Ink Croquette with Mizuna (our waiter stumbled over this last one, but I will tell you - it was delicious)
HAMACHI SASHIMI, Japanese Plum, Macadamia Panna Cotta, Radish
Like most of the raw preparations at Elements, this was great, with enough texture and crunch from the radish and the plums to balance out the delicacy of the sea food. While Hamachi would not be my first choice, preferring crudo preparations with a more flavorful fish, the balance of these flavors made for a perfect introduction to the 6 course meal
SOURDOUGH AGNOLOTTI, Chicken of the Woods, Yogurt, Pimpernel
My favorite dish of the night, this dish was entirely unique and something I had never had before. The tartness of the sourdough in the aglonotti, combined with the richness of the mushrooms and Yogurt, made for a memorable and raveworthy pasta preparation, demonstrating the kitchen's talent in tasting aggressive flavor profiles and combining them in a way that somehow just works. After licking my plate clean, I hoped to bum some of her leftovers but she had beat me to it.
MADAI, Arugula, Oyster Mushrooms, Puffed Rice
Another great exercise in texture, this fish preparation, coated with puffed rice, and paired with oyster mushrooms was a close second. The mushrooms were cooked to perfection, and in many ways, were the show stopper, but having the puffed rice over the fish to provide that textural contrast almost served as a foil for crispy fish skin. They poured a sardine broth tableside, further amplifying the umami flavors, while no single component overwhelmed the dish
At this point, we switched to the half bottle of red, enjoying a bottle of 1993 Ridge Montebello ($120), which opened up beautifully.
STONYBROOK MEADOWS DUROC PORK, Peekytoe Crab, cabbage, New Zealand Spinach
Elements has always been great at cooking pork. With a crab foam on top, though, and the bitter cabbage greens on the bottom, this was my least favorite of the courses, with the cabbage, for me, overshadowing the crab, and the pork, while beautifully cooked, somehow lost in the middle. I know my wife liked it, and others appeared to be enjoying it as well, and it was a fine dish - but it didn't impress me as much as the rest of the meal did (tall order)
LAVA LAKE LAMB, beet, saskatoon berry, black trumpets
A simple preparation, the lamb was beautifully cooked to a medium rare, and a perfect end to the savory components of our meal.
For desserts, my wife opted for the KUNIK with Whipped Honey, herbs and anise bread, and out came an unbelievable slab of aged goat cheese, with its accompaniments, for a simple, but delectable plated cheese course (judging by the one taste I was allowed, this is something that for cheese lovers may be worth passing up dessert for....)
I had the OPEN FACED SWEET CORN ICE CREAM SANDWICH with Peaches, lemon thyme, black pepper, and caramel, which proved to be innovative and not overly sweet. My only issue with it was of my own fault, having paired it with the 1998 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes which ended up being too sweet for the dessert.
Ending with some petit fours (including a scrumptious chocolate chip brownie, coconut macaron, oatmeal cream cake, and a chocolate chip cookie dough ball, we settled the bill and began the trip back home.
All in all, an excellent meal with great wines, at a great value for what you get. Naturally, at the price point with these new menus almost directly matching up to Nicholas's three course and 7 course meals, the comparisons will once again begin.
To me? Elements is fresh, new, and always changing - while some preps may be better than others week to week, the new menu format, combined with the amuses is more exciting. The overall experience with an awesome staff and much less pretentiousness, a far superior wine and cocktail program, and a beautiful yet relaxed atmosphere, pushes Elements over the top. Having always really enjoyed my meals at Nicholas, I've left the last few perfectly satisfied, but a tad uninspired. Walking out of Elements last night, I was taking the whole meal in and felt excited about the new menu format and the potential of things to come, relishing the sourdough aglonotti and the croquette amuse, knowing albeit bittersweet, that in a few weeks, these dishes would be replaced with other new and exciting options.
That ability to keep things fresh and new is what keeps us coming back.
any takers, it should be listed now......
Try the donuts (graffe) on Sunday if you haven't already! They are sublime.
Yeah - I think I remembered the name of the Mexican drink, and the flavors of the drink I actually ordered, which was the Autumn's Breath, that Harrison mentioned. Maybe I ordered one too many = P
To Harrison's other point, about cutting the kitchen slack...
I totally understand that a new kitchen deserves some patience which is why I stated, "I have heard great things about Chef Carrino and hope these are just some of the growing pains of opening a new restaurant" in my earlier post. I usually try to avoid being too negative when reviewing new restaurant, especially considering the blood/sweat/tears (and money..) that go into a new endeavor, and I do think that with some substantial changes, the concept and the space could perservere as a solid dining option long term.
That being said, the whole purpose of these online boards are to provide both honest feedback to fellow diners, and the tuned in chefs/owners/etc that are looking to improve. Having spent an hour in transit to go to the restaurant, I think a fair and frank assesment of how we perceived the dining experience as a whole is important to all interested parties.
Yep, you are right about the wine list not having a lot of depth of older wines, but I would imagine that as the restaurant grows and continues, it will be able to add depth and age to some of its offerings
Semantics, really. Especially since we are not talking about his Parisian outpost.
And pedigree aside - Pierre Gagnaire in France and Twist in Las Vegas may be cut from the same cloth, but they are altogether two very different experiences, and the diversity of reviews in Las Vegas should suggest that its "possible" that something was lost in translation crossing the Atlantic. IMO
As a huge fan of Marc Forgione's Sunday Supper menu in the city, we decided to try American Cut before the Eagles concert at Revel last night.
All in all, from our experience, it is a great addition to Atlantic City .
We started with an addictive bread that was a play on an everything bagel, paired with vegetable butter. Almost like a foccacia in texture, it was a familiar flavor pairing that will resonate with the NJ/NY crowd.
The filet mignons' were spectacular and superlative worthy- perfectly seasoned and cooked to specification. On the other hand, my boneless ribeye was very tasty, although the middle was slightly chewier than I would prefer and the fried egg on top had cooked while resting on the steak, leaving the yolks solid and not runny.
(You can choose foie gras, chili lobster, bacon, and farm fresh eggs to top steak, while also being able to choose from the standard sauces as well)
Appetizer of Chili Lobster was actually pretty spicy, sitting in a chili lobster broth to be paired with some toasted brioche and plump lobster meat. Extremely flavorful (and the same rendition if I remember correctly as what has been served at his NYC outpost)
Housemade bacon with MF Steak House was tasty and flavorful. The steak sauce reminds me of Peter Lugers (although not quite as tasty) but with a bit too much sugar for my personal preference. Still, everyone agreed it was delicious and was taking turns dipping the brioche, alternating between the chili lobster sauce and the MF steak house.
A good side note - for those not in the mood for steak, I've had his version of Chicken Under a Brick in the past, and enjoyed it so much that I almost ordered it tonight.
As for sides, the Dry Aged Potatoes with bacon were absolutely delicious and a must try - may be the best steakhouse potatoes I've had. They also serve "potatoes robuchon" - modeled after the infamous silky, buttery potatoes served at L'Atlelier du Robuchon in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, the special of brussel sprouts were nothing special, and were a small blip on an otherwise delicious meal.
Desserts were nothing memorable but there is always the warm chocolate cookie that is cooked to order that we've enjoyed at his other restaurant (hard to not enjoy a cookie right out of the oven)
We shared a bottle of 2005 R Lopez de Heredia, Vina Cubillo ($50) and some other Spanish wines by the glass. Wine Bottle list is particularly strong for Atlantic City.
In the end, is is the best steakhouse in Atlantic City? Having always preferred Bobby Flay's over Old Homestead, I believe this is a slight margin better than both, with a potential to be much better. Time will tell but judging by the crowd last night (including Charles Barkley !!) that packed the restaurant to capacity, it should be a great long term addition to the casino dining options. The steaks themselves, judging by the filets, are the best in AC, and the diversity of apps and sides are a breath of fresh air for those looking for something other than oysters and wedge salads (although ironically, gourmet new renditions of both, IIRC, are on the menu)
Le Cirque over Twist. I was at both about 9 months ago and had an extremely disappointing meal at Twist. Definitely style over substance - with too much emphasis on obscure flavor pairings or molecular techniques, and not enough on cohesive and tasty flavors. Le Cirque delivers, although it still wouldn't be my first choice.
And for what its worth, I have heard it said that naysayers "don't get" Twist - but living close to NYC, it felt it was like Corton but with less tasty food...(I love Corton) I have loved many an adventurous meal, but the first and foremost requirement at that price level should always be unbelievable food, and it just didn't work for me
E would be much more memorable, as would Joel Robuchon or Guy Savoy.
Just wanted to provide a quick shout out to the team at Daniel for the Scottish grouse dinner they held about a week back.
Starting with delicious langoustines and escargot canapes, and some welcome champagne, the meal felt like being a guest at Daniel house. The people were extremely friendly, the hosts entertaining, and the food and wine, as expected, was delicous.
Wild Scottish Rabbit Terrine with Purple Mustard, Young Vegetables and Tarragon Gelee:
Known for their work with terrines and pates, this didn't disappoint and to my memory, included some mushrooms and foie gras in the rabbit terrine and the wine pairing worked perfectly. The young radishes on the plate made it look like a piece of art, as much as it did food.
Oven Baked Scottish Blue Lobster with Curried Wild Rice
Who would have thought that such succulent and flavorful lobster could been found across the pond. The flavors of the near perfectly cooked lobster, along with the accompanying bisque, reflected the quality of the ingredients procured for this event.
The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the tempura sea bean, which seemed out of place, although not a huge deal.
Grilled Scottish Salmon with Zucchini Gremolata, Iberico Ham Shavings and Red Ribbon Sorrel
While this was not my favorite dish, it was still well executed and perfectly cooked, although it was not nearly as impressive as the other savories, feeling somewhat "expected" and "tired" in context. That being said, there were no flaws, and with the 2nd Rhone wine in three courses, I was more than enjoying the meal at the midway point.
Roasted Scottish Grouse with Brussel Sprouts Fondue
Not knowing what to expect from Grouse, Daniel and company explained that in order to hunt this game bird in Scotland, it costs $50,000 to take out 8 guns hunting for the day! They also explained the high red blood cell count with its need to fly up to 60 miles an hour at the blink of an eye, which explained the extreme gaminess in the dish that followed.
Tasting like liver, it was an unexpected taste, but cooked beautifully over a well conceived brussel sprouts fondue. At first, everyone was surprised by how potent the flavor was (I think most of us were expecting it to be more like squab) but soon, we were all licking our plates clean, appreciating the perfection of the quality of the ingredients and cooking methods for such a difficult protein to cook. After the initial surprise, the flavor was incredible.
Soon to follow was a cheese plate with Blackberry Farm Singing Brook, Capriole Farm Mont St Francis, and Twig Farm Goat Tomme. What stole the show in this course was the pairing of the sheeps milk cheese with the Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco, Rioja 1996, which brought out the nuttiness of the cheese and was a perfect pairing in every way, leaving both the wine and the cheese better having met.
Finally, we were treated to an OUTSTANDING dessert. The delicate Wild Blueberry and Fromage Blanc Vacherin was light, but had amazing texture, fresh wild blueberries, and what our table believed to be a blueberry "caviar". It was paired with the delicious Chateau Pajzos 5 Puttonyos, Tokaji 2000 and was a great finish to a memorable meal.
Having already prepaid for the event ($350 all inclusive), we also received some madeleines and petits fours, as well as some french macarons and a can of "fresh tea" in a take home bag.
I will be back for the game dinner at the end of October!
This ended up serving out purposes perfectly. Maybe not destination worthy from a food perspective, but a great ambiance, some really tasty comfort food, an extremely well priced wine list, and AMAZING service.
I had to post this, as I blown away by the level of attention we received. Outside of the gracious and attentive service from our wait staff - the next day, I received a call from the manager checking on our experience and ensuring we were absolutely satisfied.