grubstreet.com – Alan Sytsma
Before closing last year, chef Scott Anderson’s Elements was one of the most acclaimed restaurants in New Jersey. The closure, thankfully, was only temporary, with Anderson planning to move the restaurant to a new second-floor space above his more casual spot, Mistral, in Princeton.
“It’s a lot more intimate,” Anderson says of the new restaurant, which seats just under 30 people at nine tables (the original restaurant could seat 80). Along with the new more luxurious digs, the daily-changing menu options include a 12-course tasting menu for $125, a $185 “grand tasting” that ranges between 17 and 22 courses, and, on weeknights, a simpler, $79 four-course prix-fixe menu. And, as you might expect, Anderson hopes new diners use the prix-fixe as an entry point if they’re unsure about going all in on the tastings: “We’re out here in the suburbs, and a fair amount of our diners work in New York City, so we didn’t want to lock people in for a three-, three-and-a-half-hour menu.” And, he adds, “The four-course menu is what we want people to try — it’s nothing too far out of the box,” he says. “The tasting menu’s really where we put some things that people have to think about.”
In another nod to the prevailing trends at the world’s fine-dining restaurants, kitchen staffers run the dishes to diners, allowing them to explain the ambitious plates and get a little face time with diners. “As long as the guests trust us,” Anderson says, “I think they’re going to have a good time.”