Ever since I learned about elements, a Princeton restaurant serving modern American cuisine with tasting menus designed by the Owner/Chef Scott Anderson, I knew I wanted to go. It took a while for us to get a chance to make reservations and get down there but my birthday turned out to be just the right time. The restaurant won Best Restaurant at the 2nd Annual Garden State Culinary Awards in April so it was fresh in my mind. In fact, when Ed asked what I’d like as a birthday gift, this is the only thing I asked for. Who needs more things to clutter your life when you can have a mind-blowing meal with the love of your life??
Because it was my birthday (Ed said they asked if it was a special occasion when he made the reservation), the entire staff knew my name and wished me a happy birthday as each of them came to the table. The icing on the cake was a birthday card presented to me at the end of the meal and was signed by the entire staff. We saw that the special attention wasn’t just lavished on me, either. The entire restaurant only seats 28 people and all nine tables of guests were attended to with great care.
We’ve had many great meals in New Jersey but it’s less likely you’ll find us at the higher end restaurants around the state. We’ve always believed that you can find great food at any price point. But, sometimes you see the carefully-crafted plates filled with local and seasonal ingredients and you just have to go for it. We’ve watched tons of cooking shows and those little bites always look great.
elements has a less expensive five course option to choose but we went for the Chef’s Tasting Menu which was 12 courses of some of the most delicate and balanced food we’ve ever eaten. These dishes combined with the most thoughtful service we’ve ever received made the whole evening an event and something we definitely won’t be forgetting for quite a while.
Despite our penchant for taking pictures of our food and sharing it with you guys, we chose to just take a few photos and take a little break from the usual. So, here are a few dishes that we thought were particularly beautiful. Up above is a wood-ear mushroom dish that was tucked into a little plated forest.
Ed’s favorite dish was this surf clam in a celery root foam. Who knew Ed would turn out to be a foam guy?
This multi-layered citrus dessert served inside a blood orange grown right here in New Jersey. We certainly were very surprised to hear that anyone in NJ could grow oranges.
And, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever eaten and was my favorite of the night. Flowers from the black locust tree which only blooms for about ten days a year, dotted over farmer’s cheese ice cream and topped with honey made from bees who have eaten the same black locust flowers. The honey is scraped—right off the honeycomb—tableside by Chef Scott Anderson. If that’s not a special dessert, I don’t know what is.
We’ve already decided that we’d like to come back and try the tasting menu along with the wine pairings menu that they offer in addition to the food. We were seated next to a couple having the wine pairings and they sounded amazing. Twelve small glasses of wine for each of us will mean we need a designated driver or a hotel room nearby to be safe getting home. Hey, I think I just thought of what I want for our next anniversary…
I had the best birthday meal ever at elements and whether you’re celebrating something special or just want a really great meal you should make your reservations today. As one of our great friends in the restaurant industry once said, “You’re not only selling a great meal, you’re selling an experience.” elements is the embodiment of this spirit.
66 Witherspoon St., Princeton
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