I am completely embarrassed that it took me so long to get to elements. I have visited Mistral downstairs numerous times for drinks and for dinner and have been impressed each time. I thus went into this dinner with high expectations and they were actually exceeded. I somewhat still can’t believe that I had this meal in the suburban town where I spend far too much of my life working. I am looking forward to a return visit as soon as I can talk another colleague into going!
Fluke – horseradish and lemon balm
Spanish mackerel – sunchoke, pickled ginger, mizuna
Lobster – chive, trout roe, parker house roll
Foie gras – brussels sprouts, apple, bacon, acorn squash
Squab – huckleberry, pine mushroom, potato
Ostrich – cumin, shallot, pork jus
Ribeye – hickory smoked, NJ rice, shiso
Wintergreen – custard and berries
Farmers cheese – caramel, hemlock, hazelnut
Each time that I visit Jockey Hollow I wish that I lived closer. On this particular date luckily a family get-together put me about half way there and so seemed like a perfect excuse for another meal in the Dining Room. I hate to repeat previous posts so I can summarize to say that this was a fantastic meal as always. My favorite dish turned out to be the one that on paper should have been my least favorite – the gnocchi with oysters and white asparagus, the latter two ingredients ones that I generally dislike. I love when that happens. But the two other pastas incorporating one of my absolute favorite ingredients – spring peas – were a close second. If you haven’t been here yet do yourself a favor and go!
Grilled Spanish Octopus – eggplant, black olive and ‘nduja
Buffalo Milk Giuncata – spring produce, toasted yeast and romaine vinaigrette
Fluke Crudo – caper gremolata and vegetables sott’aceto
Squid Ink Garganelli – sliced calamari, neonata and bottarga
Spring Pea Agnolotti – king crab, asparagus and bernaise
Sheep’s Milk Gnocchi – Forth North oysters, white asparagus and crispy speck
Lamb Confit Cappellacci – spring pea broth, mint and pecorino pepato
Dry Aged Filet Mignon – potato puree, grilled romaine, ramps, and tendon ragu
Poached black bass – salsify, wild mushrooms, bulgur wheat and saffron nage
Kurobuta Pork Filet – roasted carrot, mushroom ragu and baby turnips
Sicilian Pistachio Tart – pistachio brittle, lemon curd and honey ice cream
Chocolate Date Cake – coffee anglaise, cacao nibs, and buttermilk sorbet
Creme Caramel – carrot pecan cake, coconut sorbet and toffee sauce
Cardamom Rice Pudding – poached rhubarb and rhubarb sorbet
I’m not quite sure why the original Carrino Provisions did not really catch on when Talde next door seems quite popular. And based on this one visit I’m not sure if the re-do into Bell & Gray will catch on either. Something about the front space just isn’t very cozy and when empty it seems VERY empty. Service was incredibly friendly and everything we ordered was good. But overall the menu leans a bit too sports bar or heavy for my personal taste. I would definitely go back but perhaps not as frequently as next door.
The Jazzy Jeff Flatbread – crushed avocado, confit tomato, corn, pickled red onion
Kale taco salad – salsa verde, cheddar, onion, cilantro crema, tomato, black olive
Shaved apple, roasted beet, peanuts, cheddar, cherry vinaigrette
Spare ribs – Dr. Pepper, black pepper, smoked paprika almonds
Crispy chicken wings, smoked molasses, chilis, gorgonzola ranch
Black zuchette, blue crab, garlic fondutta, jalapeño
I can’t believe that I find myself trying to talk anybody into heading into the depths of New Jersey for dinner. Continuously fantastic and worth the drive more so than perhaps anything else in the state. We ended up with quite a lot of food on this visit and I am proud of my dining companions who aren’t quite the professional eater that I try to be. Thank you Chris James for the fantastic cocktails. When I ask to be surprised with something gin based as my first drink and get my absolute favorite, the Last Word, it was obviously going to be a good night. Congratulations on the well deserved recognition from Esquire magazine!
Braised Octopus – tomato asopao, green olive gremolata
Autumn Salad – roasted root vegetables, almond cracker, brown butter gastrique
Hand Cut Sirloin Tartare – potato rosti, cornichons, egg yolk
Fusilli Pasta – spicy sausage, broccoli rabe, controne beans
Arancini- mortadella, pistachio, pomodoro sauce
Caramelized Squash Crostino – gorgonzola and ricotta, toasted pumpkin seeds
Yellowtail – chicken skin, scallions
Cheese Plate – robiola fiorita, gorgonzola dolce, pecorino grand cru, castelrosso
Charcuterie – spicy sopressata, prosciutto, bresaola, pickled vegetables
Desserts (unfortunately missing descriptions)
I have no idea how many times I have driven by the Vail Mansion in Morristown and somehow never even noticed it. I suppose that is because it sits slightly back from the street but I am kicking myself for being so oblivious. I remember making a mental note when Jockey Hollow opened but then somehow forgot about it. Perhaps a bit late, but I am so glad I finally made it here. Such an absolutely beautiful building that it has been impeccably restored and is being utilized in such a fantastic way. I hope to check out the downstairs menus on a future trip although it will be difficult to miss out on the upstairs dining room. I do love how occasionally things come full circle. Many years ago I had lunch at L’Impero (and then Convivio) quite frequently as I worked only a block away and loved the brief escape into tudor city. So its no surprise that I would love a place where Chris Cannon, Ron Morgan and Chef Kevin Sippel have been reunited from those days. And its no surprise that all of the pastas were amazing. But actually everything was! Such a completely pleasant surprise to be in NJ and not feel like you are in NJ at all.
Yellowtail Toro Crudo – red radish, toasted quinoa and white asparagus
Scrambled Hen Egg – American caviar and accoutrements
Spring Pea Raviolini – carbonara, pea tendrils, smoked speck and king crab
Lamb Neck Casoncelli – wild ramp pesto and pane mollica
Duck Liver Agnolotti – fava beans, pecorino and mint gremolata
Monkfish Porchetta – pancetta, bean salad and adobo crema
Dry Aged Prime Sirloin – brussels sprouts and bone marrow au poivre
Buttermilk Spring Chicken – country ham, ragusano wild lettuces
Pavlova – cardamom rice pudding, rhubarb compote and rhubarb sorbet
Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese – cornmeal fritter, maple walnuts, huckleberries and frisee
On my first trip to Mistral a few months ago, I enjoyed each dish individually but the menu seemed very disjointed. Some dishes were very complex, others were very simple and they just didn’t seem to belong in the same restaurant. I’m very glad I made a return visit and happy to see what appears to be a lot of growth and a very cohesive menu. Now if only Elements would hurry up and reopen so I would have another option in Princeton!
Sunchoke tahini, warm pita, caviar, sieved egg
Squash & Kale salad, mole granola, queso fresco, chipotle , cacao
Charred squid salad, green curry, peanuts, coconut, puffed rice
Pork Belly Tteokbokki, jersey rice dumplings, fermented radish, shitake
Tuna tartare, turnip tofu, furikake, ponzu
Warm date cake, cream cheese ice cream, pecan crunch
I have to admit that my favorite part of this evening was seeing Joe Guidice at a table behind me with a tired stereotypical NJ blonde (and not the same one that appeared on the covers of tabloids a week later). I love seeing some redevelopment in Jersey City and hope this area continues to improve. Great food, although nothing was what I would have assumed. Unfortunately no photos as it was so dark in this restaurant that everything is just a messy black blob.
As I spend everyday there I am trying to visit the Princeton spots worth visiting. There were things I really liked about Agricola, but a few I just couldn’t get past. The cocktails were surprisingly good as were the starters. But in November I expect a ‘fall squash’ flatbread to contain butternut or acorn, not what I consider summer squash. And while the cranberry walnut bread pudding sounded delicious it was oddly flavorless and spongy (hence no photo).
Great Road Farm Slow Roasted Beets – coach farm goat cheese, spicy carrots
Kale salad – roasted delicate squash, shaved radish, toasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette
Manchester Farms Quail – polenta, salsa verde
Striped Bass – turnip chowder
Fall squash flatbread – sweet potato, arugula-pecan pesto, house made maple ricotta
I had been meaning to get Mistral for several months as I need to accept that I now work in the suburbs and make the best of it. But it took me far too long to find somebody to drag along and subject to my picture taking. I’m definitely looking forward to a return visit in cooler weather when I will want to sit beside the very cute fireplace.
Warm falafel salad – sprouted grains, black sesame, carrots cooked in barley
Blue crab salad – green curry, peanuts, coconut, puffed rice
Lamb tartare – kefir, spelt, marinated eggplant
Gulf snapper – tomato escabeche, crispy okra, pardon peppers
Poached egg – pomodoro, roasted squash, bottarga, crunchy pasta
Kali short rib – kimchi,mcicumber, scallion
Sweet steamed bun – plums, buckwheat, miso
Brown butter cake – banana, walnut, rum
Thirty Acres is still the best thing in Hudson County by a mile but unfortunately this wasn’t my favorite meal there. Thankfully the lemon bar always saves the day.
Seared squid – squid ink and roasted garlic sauce, oregano
Spicy eggplants – tahini quark sauce, za’atar, pine nuts, parsley
Shishito peppers – melon guanciale, basil
Fried corn gnocchi – shrimp, tomato sauce, chili flakes, basil
Pork neck – sunflower hozon jus, baby lettuce, chives
Because there can never be too much Bobby in 24 hours!