According to the dictionary, Mistral is a strong cold north-westerly wind that blows through the Rhône valley and southern France towards the Mediterranean, mainly in winter. But in Princeton, it is the name of an Award winning restaurant that contemporizes American food with a unique twist.
It’s not every day that I get to eat at an award winning restaurant. But it’s not every day that I get to eat with my daughters either .
With both of them busy with their careers and families, dining out with them is a treat. And the lunch at Mistral was all the more special because it was the culmination of a delightful visit to the University town of Princeton by Daughter No1 .
Our trip this September was mainly to spend quality time with Ms Papaya and her mother and to see how they’d settled down in New Jersey .
Since Princeton was close by, going there for a quick visit was a no brainer.
We planned to visit on a Thursday that also happened to be the weekly Farmers’ Market. The otherwise sleepy town parking lot that was almost full and the community plaza where the restaurant was located was a buzz with stalls and people basking in the sunlight , listening to a lone guitarist serenading the crowd
After a leisurely walk around the University’s Art Gallery and the campus, we went to Mistral, an American restaurant which describes itself as
Sophisticated, globally-inspired small plates in a serene & modern space with blond wood.
It was well past noon when we entered the restaurant that was buzzing with diners but we easily got a place to sit .
Since none of us were wine drinkers, we went straight for the food .
We were rather hungry and asked for the bread basket but were told that the restaurant didn’t serve bread. We were offered a bowl of wafer thin Rye crisps with a sprinkling of Shezwan sauce . I must admit feeling disappointed seeing the wafers that looked distinctly like the crispy wheat papads ( papdya) that we serve at our weddings and festive meals!
However that didn’t detract from the enjoyment of our first plate : The smoked cod beignets and the creamy sauce that accompanied it .
I preferred the second plate we shard though, the Gougeres which were more like profiteroles filled with creamy cloth bound cheddar and a tinge of sweet fruity fig.
My main dish was a healthy but hearty salad made with pork belly bits, cucumbers, watermelon, tofu and some crunchy croutons. Charred onion cream and almonds gave it yet another twist from the regular summer salads.
Daughter No 1 decided to go American and went with the Dry Aged Brisket Burger with a salad on the side.
Unsure of getting a veggie option Hubby Dear already had a starter with home made pasta salad ( which he ate in the car! ) but luckily Mistral offered to make the Tomato and Fig Flat bread without the fried egg. So he had a taste of Mistral’s famed food too.
With all these delightful flavours playing around in our palates , we were reluctant to have a dessert . But being weak of will and stronger of greed ,we decided to succumb to our sweet tooth ‘The Frozen Beehive’ which the server assured us was the piece de resistance. It was a delightful combination of flavours : the sweet taste of honey, lavender ice cream and lemon curd balanced on a cake base. While the creamy marshmallow topping was divine, I was a bit taken aback by the scent of lavender which I must admit reminded me a bit of Yardley’s Lavender soap.
But all in all, it was a great meal and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a nice place to eat in Princeton.
Apparently this is a very happening place with a vibrant bar . Reservations especially over the weekend are advisable to ensure a place at this popular restaurant .
Bon appetit mes amis.