A couple a Saturdays ago, we went to New Brunswick to catch a matinee showing of Bridesmaids. That movie can pretty much be summed up with these quotes…
Rita: What are we doing for the bachelorette party?
Becca: What about like, a princess theme?
Helen: Versacci meets the gold rush.
Rita: I’m thinking tanned gentlemen that swallow fire and where sarongs.
Megan: Female fight club. We grease up – surprise! Beat the crap out of her.
Rita: I don’t hate it—
Helen: Vegas it is. “
Given that New Brunswick is somewhat of a hike for me to begin with, I thought, what the heck, let’s just go to Princeton. 15 minutes later, we ended up near the Princeton Public Library and next to Theresa Caffe, which was most seriously praised by Will and Amy just only days ago.
Talk to anyone in Princeton or anyone deep into the food scene in New Jersey, and chances are they’ll know what Teresa is. The restaurant is named after Teresa Momo and is run by an Italian/Chilean family that immigrated to the US in 1960-180’s. Today, they own other restaurants including Teresa Ristorante, Witherspoon Bread Company, and Eno Terra. I ran into Felix (my so called “wine-guy” who just so happens to be anywhere and everywhere if there’s wine involved), and he said, “Oh Teresa’s? Yeah, that’s a fine place for dinner. It’s been around forever.”
Little to my knowing, it’s typically difficult to get a seat on a Saturday night. Mark and I walked in and were quoted a 15-20 min wait time so we just walked around the library. When we came back, the hostess immediately recognized us and seated us right away. We were seated in the back of the restaurant where there was some dim lighting. The restaurant was a moderate size and it was jammed packed. Tables were actually turning like crazy. The two couples next to either side of us both got here later than us and left earlier than us.
Lasagna Bolognese COGF beef, plum tomatoes, fresh herbs, mozzarela, béchamel ($18.00)
Theresa is known for their pizza and wine, but don’t discount the pasta. I wish I took a picture of a stray lying pizza to show you the size. It’s a “personal” pizza, meaning its just about the size of a dinner plate, which is a bit small for the steep pricing ($11-16). That’s the other thing. The pricing here is moderate, but still steep for Jersey (yes, i know, it’s Princeton!) Anyway, the dinner set us back roughly $60, which is something I’d expect to pay in NYC.
Something to note- following our entree orders, the server skillfully manuevered in “a salad or soup to start you off?” Mark and I both said no, but we got confused after watching EVERYONE get a salad. At one point, I thought it came with the meal. But alas, Will has just confirmed to me that there is no such thing as a free lunch after all. Their salads will set you back $6-10.
Getting on with the meal, Mark and I both ordered pastas. We wanted something hearty and savory. He settled on the lasagna.
I’m not the biggest fan of lasagna, so I’m not the right person to ask, but Mark seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Of course, his only complaint was that it was too small and that he could eat three of them. To his defense, I agreed. It was a whopping $18 after all. I’m sure I’ve had comparable lasagna for half the price.
I settled for the “C0nchiglie Balsamico” which translates to orechiette pasta (conchiglie means pasta shells)with chicken, tossed in this incredibly decadent creamy balsamic sauce. This pasta was out of the world amazing and completely made up for the price of the dinner. Man, I can’t even explain how the flavors exploded into a harmonic symphony in my mouth. First, the pasta was cooked perfectly al-dente. Second, the balsamic reduction added thing twinge of tanginess that completely balanced out the savory-ness from the cheese and chicken. Third, chicken was extremely tender as well as flavorful. I wonder if they let it sit in a brine before in the balsamic marinade.
If you go to Theresa, you MUST get this pasta!
Overall, a really good experience. We also got wine by the glass, which is reasonably priced at $9-12/glass at the low end (as is with most places). The house Rose I had was “eh,” but that was my fault. I should have gone with actually a red in this case due to the balsamic. In any case, I’m going to try to replicate this recipe at home and when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.
And do call before going on a Friday/Saturday night to avoid the wait!