Today was a fabulous day of sorts. I woke up and looked around the room. It was spiffy clean from books, pens, scrap-paper and the likes. It took me another second to savor the moment. MY EXAM IS OVER! Freedom for another 6 months!!
I had been doing alot of daydreaming while being holed up in that Starbucks next to my house. Most of the daydreaming consisted of me dillydallying outside, splurging on gourmet burgers, and improving my photography. With the help of Mark, I got to do all three today.
Following the 9:30am service at Liquid, we headed off to Princeton. I love Princeton for its grace, its neo-gothic structure, and vast beauty. I once spent a summer there, captivated by a beautiful college campus juxtaposed to the busy Nassau St and Palmer Square. We managed to sneak in a few pictures by Blair arch.
For the second year in a row, we happened to go during alumni day. Hence, it was frenzy and chaos that filled the streets, and it took us awhile before we narrowed down lunch options. Eventually, we settled on Mediterra, a sister restaurant of Teresa Cafe, which we love.
“Terroir” Burger on Brioche: Simply Grazin’ organic grass-fed beef sirloin, lettuce tomato, french fries & Swiss cheese ($16)
Of course we had both decided we wanted the burger before we even sat down. When Mark found out that it was a $16 burger, he was flabbergasted. Me? Such prices no longer faze me, but I could only hope for an uber delicious burger for that price.
Surprisingly, there weren’t alot of people around this Sunday at noon at Mediterra. Mostly everyone chose to dine al-fresco under the 72 degree F weather. There were a few two-top tables open so we didn’t even have to wait. Service was a bit off though everyone was extremely pleasant. The host (it looked like the manager) who seated us forgot to leave us with menus, and our server seemed a bit “out of it,” forgetting what to say and stumbling upon words. I think he was just having an off day.
They start you off with this generous fresh bread basket with a wonderful olive oil dip. There are three types of bread and when you walk into the restaurant, you can see the breads showcased in a middle island to the left of the greeting table. There, serves slice their own breads. It was simply to die for.
Our food came out relatively fast- probably under 10 minutes. The burgers came out on identical long plates, decomposed for the eater to build. It was quite a lovely presentation.
So the verdict?
- Taste: 8/10- The burger was flavorfully juicy though could have actually used a tad bit more salt. The beef was cooked perfectly to my request (medium rare) and you could taste/see the hints of garlic and parsley (?) in the mix. The brioche was perfectly toasted and was soft like a potato bun but robust enough to retain the juice without soaking through and becoming soggy. I’d put this on par with most of the other top burgers out there in NYC including Minetta Tavern ($27) and Spotted Pig ($17), though it did not beat the Brindle Room ($10) or Bobo burger ($17) experiences. However, I do think I need to revisit Minetta and Spotted Pig to be sure of this…
- HOWEVER, the fries were a letdown. They were very standard, a bit overly fried (with that oily aftertaste) and not crispy at all. I think shoestring fries would have gone will with this.
- Price: At $16, it was a wee bit overpriced. I thought pricing point should have been $14 on taste, but given it’s grass fed organic beef, I can’t really complain. Plus, it’s also in Princeton, which begs for a premium alone.
Strawberry Charlotte Russe: Lady fingers soaked in wine with strawberry bavarian and fresh berries ($10)
For dessert, we hovered between the Strawberry Charlotte Russe and the Cheesecake made with mascarpone and goat cheese but eventually settled on the former due to input from the server. Both of us loved it. It’s extremely light but tremendously flavorful. While it looks small, it’s really the perfect size to end such a filling meal. We actually didn’t realize that the strawberry was already deftly sliced but held intact by the whipped cream. Think of it has a fruity Tiramisu.
Mark and I plan on coming back sometime later in the summer but for dinner. This is a modestly expensive restaurant with entrees in the $20′s-$30′s but there’s a Taverna that serves tapas and wine. Someone put it best on Yelp- “This is a NYC lounge vibe with NYC prices.”
29 Hulfish Street
Princeton, New Jersey 08542