The weekend before Hurricane Sandy slammed the Eastern Coast, Mark and I headed to Princeton once again to catch the autumn leaves. It was a gorgeous day, marked by a gentle breeze and blue skies. Initially, we thought that there’d be a slight chance that PJ’s Pancake House wouldn’t have a wait, given that we arrived a bit before 2pm on a Saturday. We were greeted by a giant line. So, we dove straight for Witherspoon Grill, which was on our list of “to try” restaurants. We thought we made it in time for brunch, but we must have been just a tad bit too late, as we were served the lunch menu.

Witherspoon Grill

You couldn’t tell from the outside, but Witherspoon Grill is gorgeous on the inside. It’s a homey yet classy sort of place, which I think comes from the deep tones of the wood. This is most definitely not a cheap place; in fact, it’s priced comparatively to NYC restaurants. For us, it was completely worth the ~$60 we spent (one appetizer, one beer, two entrees) because everything tasted so spectacular. The service was also great and the lady let Mark taste a couple of beers before making a decision. Many on Yelp comment that it’s overpriced, and I do have to admit that our lunch was above average for Jersey, but hey, we had a great time.

Website
57 Witherspoon St
Princeton, NJ 08542

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Four Cheese Spinach Dip ($11)

This was the most bangin’ spinach dip of all time. The dish comes out piping hot and right from the oven. The crust is charred to perfection and upon peeling, it reveals an inch of gooey goodness. Mark and I agreed that it was salted perfectly that helped bring out the flavors of the cheese. Our only wish was for more toasted bread, but a limited supply meant that we were able to load each bite with a ton of that dip. This is a MUST HAVE and completely worth the $11 in my book.

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Pumpkin Ale ($7)

Mark wavered between the the seasonal lager and the Pumpkin Ale, but eventually settled on the ale after sampling. Drafts range from $6-9.

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The Witherspoon Burger: 10oz Angus Prime & fries with Swiss cheese ($14 + $1 for toppings)

When it comes to the menu, this is one of the cheaper items for lunch, but it is deeply satisfying (as most burgers are). Mark ordered it medium-rare, and each bite was full of this juicy, tender beef. While Mark thoroughly enjoyed the burger, he did admit that my short-rib sandwich was the winner of the meal. I’d say that this burger was better than Mediterra’s Terroir Burger, priced at $16. The bun was better, the fries were better and the meat was better seasoned.

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BBQ Short Rib Sandwich: “first eld” bbq sauce, crispy onions & sweet potato fries ($16)

Ok, so I am nearly sure that these short-ribs were beef but, they tasted so much like pulled pork that I can’t be 100% sure. I’d expect them to be beef because, heck, $16 for a pulled pork sandwich is quite hefty!! Taking price aside, this was an amazing sandwich, filled with a tremendous punch of BBQ. It came with a side of cole-slaw and it tasted nearly as good as Scott’s authentic North Carolina pulled pork sandwiches that he brought to work one day. The sweet potato fries were also on the mark. Highly recommended.

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The Bent Spoon

Believe it or not, this was my first time at The Bent Spoon. While there are definitely several options for dessert in Princeton, the two must popular ice cream shops are The Bent Spoon and Halo Pub (Thomas Sweets is outside of the Palmer Square area). I think it’s safe to say that Halo Pub is popular due to its friendly pricing. You can walk out with a giant bowl of ice cream for just under $3. Prices at The Bent Spoon are easily double, but you get what you pay for. Flavors at Halo Pub are abundant but ordinary and even boring (although you have options of fro-yo and sorbet).The Bent Spoon has fewer flavors, but quite unique and very good if I may add. Being the ice cream snob that I can be, the win goes to The Bent Spoon, but Halo Pub wins if you’re going to feed a soccer team. Halo Pub also only accepts cash, which we learned the hard way.

The Bent Spoon was named of the “Ten Most Memorable Bites of 2007 (Outside New York)” by Ed Levine of Serious Eats.

Website
35 Palmer Sq W
Princeton, NJ 08540

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Pumpkin Mascarpone, Caramel Apple, & Chocolate Orange (+$4, sorry can’t quite remember the price)

Pumpkin Mascarpone– Like digging into a pumpkin pie. It’s a thick consistency, closer to gelato than any of the other flavors we got (The Bent Spoon is supposedly a gelateria, but food snob here doesn’t feel like the consistency is up to gelato standards), filled with rich notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Easily the favorite of both mine and Mark’s and we’d get this again in a heartbeat next year when fall rolls around.

Caramel AppleThis was a really interesting flavor. It tasted like roasted apples combined with swirls of silky caramel. Best of all, it was SALTED caramel! Still, it was a bit too sweet for me, but the apple was definitely there- there was no missing it. I think it paired really well with the Pumpkin Mascarpone, which while intense in flavor, wasn’t as sweet.

Chocolate Orange- I am normally not a fan of chocolate ice cream, but I can’t resist chocolate orange. I think they’re that awkward couple that somehow ends up being brilliant together. Mark wasn’t a big fan though. I, however, as expected, loved this. It’s made with 61% chocolate and organic orange. So you get a pretty dark and bitter chocolate coupled with citrus. Awesomeness!

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