Thursday, March 29, 2012

Elements of style...

elementsplural of el·e·ment (Noun)

  1. A part or aspect of something, esp. one that is essential or characteristic.
  2. A small but significant presence of a feeling or abstract quality

On a late afternoon, I finally took the trip to Elements in Princeton, a restaurant that has been open since 2008. My trip was long overdue...inspired by a brief interaction with chef/owner Scott Anderson on Twiiter. Elements has garnered a reputation as one of the very best in New Jersey.

 The definition defines the place. Each aspect of a dish played a unique role, often surprising, always intriuging.

 On the menu, a composed salad consisted of burdock, spelt, apple, goat cheese and duck prosciutto. A suprising combination of sweet flavors and creamy textures, beautifully arranged on the plate. Pieces of torn bread tasted of chocolate. A creamy puree hid beneath everything. This dish deftly piqued my palate for what was to well as leading me to wonder what will come from the beds of hebs and lettuces that line the outside of the restaurant...
  Fromage de tete croque madame.
Allow me to inform you...

 A croque-monsieur is a hot ham and cheese  grilled sandwich. It originated in France as a fast-food snack served in cafes and bars. More elaborate versions come coated in a Mornay sauce. A croque-monsieur served with a fried or poached on top is known as a croque-madame.

And fromage de tete is head cheese.

That wonderfully porky, gelatinous flavorful wonder that makes me glad to be a carnivoure. That providence of foodies that causes most companions to turn up their nose and refuse to try it. But, those of us who know are rewarded for our diligence with a combination of flavors and textures found in few foods.

So...yeah...I love the stuff. 

 So the head cheese nestles beneath a silky Mornay, perfectly poached egg and a welcome addition of avocado that brought a rich, yet bright quality to the dish. Happy me!

But I do you an injustice by neglecting to mention the accompaniment of house made tater tots.
 I am a sucker for refined versions of Americana comfort food...and these were ethereal. Light, airy mashed potatoes fried to a crisp and perfectly seasoned. Sorry just got served.

Dessert was a pistachio parfait, with madiera cream and the best damn brittle this side of Carmelo Anthony's interior defence. (Sorry, ESPN is on right now)

 The only drawback was the too small 4 seat bar. The collection of tinctures and unusual spirits was impressive, as was the collection of cocktail books. But, I suppose that is just one element in a delightful composition.

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