THE NJ MONTHLY’S ANNUAL LIST OF THE ABSOLUTE BEST RESTAURANTS TO EAT IN NEW JERSEY.
Like the world-famous Noma in Copenhagen, Elements takes the concept of an open kitchen beyond the norm. As at Noma, the food at Elements is advanced in technique yet rooted in tradition (pickling, fermenting, foraging, seasonality, etc.), and it is brought to the table from the kitchen (even more visible and open than at Noma) and presented, with a brief overview, by the chef or cook who prepared it. That would be mere show if the flavors, textures and contrasts in each dish were not so well-knitted, rewarding and often surprising.
Compared to the old location on the outskirts of town, the new dining room is smaller, more comfortable, and quieter—actually serene—a superb environment in which to immerse one’s senses in the delicacies and delights created by executive chef Scott Anderson, 41, chef de cuisine Mike Ryan, 36, and their three chefs de partie, Vanessa Hernandez-Avellan, Staci Lopez and Karen Ryfinski. There is no need to invest an entire evening and $185 in the roughly 18-course Grand Menu, though it’s quite an experience. The sweet spot, we think, is the weeknight $79 four-course menu, with four or five terrific choices in each course.
A recent meal included an ethereal scallop crudo showered with crisp rings of fried shallots and an insanely sybaritic plate of ricotta gnudi in hazelnut cream, with caramelized cipollini onions and strips of meltingly lush jamon ham. Read the November 2015 Review. 66 Witherspoon Street, 609-924-0078.