confess I felt silly when the hostess, welcoming us to the long-awaited
new Elements in downtown Princeton, escorted us into the private
elevator and pressed 2. I think I could have handled that—there was no
other button to push. Then she rode up with us and turned us over to
another hostess who led us to our table, a distance of about 20 feet.
I know of only one other restaurant in New Jersey that escorts you into
a private elevator for the briefest of rides and then all but leads you by the
hand to your table. That is Restaurant Latour in the Crystal Springs Resort
in Hardyston. Neither frets that you might lose your way unaided. While it’s
coincidence that both dining rooms are one level above the ground floor, in
both cases the journey is metaphorical. You are rising above the everyday,
entering a rarefied realm for an experience you will long remember.
The tasting menus in our two visits to Elements began with an ineffable
amuse bouche, presented in a small, covered bowl: a single, fresh-picked
shirohana bean flower. It was small and white, smelled a bit like jasmine,
had a mild, moist crunch, and the flavor equivalent of one hand clapping. PHOT
EDITED BY ERIC LEVIN
REVIEWS BY ERIC LEVIN AND SHANNON
Finally reopened in its new downtown
home, Princeton’s Elements brings depth,
daring and delight to high-end prix fixe.
FOOD: Globally influenced New American
AMBIENCE: Serene, minimalist luxury
SERVICE: Swift and efficient. The chef who
cooks your dish serves it and tells you about it.
WINE LIST: Few bottles under $50. Many
treasures, such as Williams Selyem Sonoma
pinot noirs. Excellent course-by-course
wine pairings by wine director Carl Rohr-bach, $55 to $125 per person, depending
on menu. Four signature cocktails.
PRICES: Four-course menu (Tuesday
through Friday only), $79; five-course (
Saturday only), $99; 12-course Chef’s Tasting,
$125; 17-to-20-course Grand Tasting, $185
(reserve one week ahead). Gluten-free and
vegan menus available with 24-hour notice.
HOURS: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 to
9: 30 PM
AX, DC, MC, V X
66 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, 2nd floor