I was in New Brunswick Sunday-Tuesday and had two wonderful meals.
Sunday night I went to Due Mare in New Brunswick, which was within walking distance of the Hyatt where we were staying. I had their clam chowder which had bacon, celery, onion, peppers & potatoes - it was a perfect start for the wet rainy evening. Our local host advised us to go for the fish, and it was good advice. But some of the meat dishes being served at the next table were looking very good, and I realized it was perhaps his prejudice for fish that steered us in this direction. Next visit (if there is one), I will surely try something other than fish. In any event, I had their grilled Mediterranean Branzino with escarole, oven roasted tomatoes, Caribbean white shrimp, and black olive vinaigrette. The presentation was quite unique - with the central bone and the roasted tail separated from the grilled flesh. The white shrimps were very generously served, and the escarole, oven roasted tomatoes were very tasty.
One of my dining companion had Mussels Marinara - east coast mussels, garlic, chilies, white wine, pomodoro, basil, grilled foccacia. She also ordered a roasted root vegetable side dish, which I tasted to be competent, but nothing to write about.
Our local host had a salad to start and salmon made in the grilled swordfish (which they were out of) style - grilled swordfish steak, broccoli rabe, toasted almonds, Sicilian pesto. We had a bottle of a red - I am thinking either a Valpolicella or Amarone - but somehow can't remember what! Overall a very pleasant meal.
On Monday night I drove to Princeton to have dinner with my daughter and 3 of her friends. We went to Teresa Caffe in Palmer Square next to Nassau Inn. The place is very rustic, but the meal was excellent. We had one vegetarian in the group, so we shared their Mozzarella di Bufala, roasted red peppers, spiced olives with Prosciutto di Parma on the side, and their Antipasto Misto - assortment of artisanal cured salumi and formaggi, spiced olives, membrillo (quince paste). Both were excellent! The cheese assortment contained Asiago and a Taleggio among others, and the salumi were also all very tasty.
I had Pollo Rosmarino - natural chicken breast, wild mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, rosemary, marsala, whipped potatoes, seasonal greens. It was very well prepared - succulent chicken with a nice crispy skin, and the accompaniments were all very taste - specially the seasonal greens. My daughter had Gramigna - braised lamb, butternut squash, ricotta. I had a taste of this and thought it was not as good as my chicken - and she agreed that the dish had a more gamy taste than we were expecting. And being from India, perhaps we have an extra sensitivity to lamb dishes when they are not well prepared.
Her friends had Penne all' Arrabbiata plum tomatoes, garlic, peperoncino, basil (the vegetarian), Conchiglie Balsamico - natural chicken, asparagus, balsamic reduction, cream, and the third choice I forget. They all liked it.
We had a bottle of a Chianti which was quite good for its price.
Once again a very nice dining experience.
Teresa's Cafe Italiano
21 Palmer Sq E, Princeton, NJ 08542
78 Albany St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901