Best of the Best: @elementsNJ



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.

Here, there, everywhere

2016-06-02_13-02-46New Jersey Monthly Magazine recently posted an article about the ubiquitous Hamilton. Not the Broadway musical but the man himself, Alexander Hamilton, was right here in Princeton.

The Mudd Manuscript Library discovers:

When discussing the cannonball legend, it has sometimes been suggested that Hamilton took a certain delight in firing on Old Nassau since he had been admitted to the college and then later denied entrance. The oldest reference to Hamilton’s alleged admission to Princeton is in the narrative of his life as told by Hercules Mulligan, a companion from his time at King’s College, which was later put to paper and printed in John C. Hamilton’s 1834 biography “The Life of Alexander Hamilton.” According to the story recounted by Mulligan, Hamilton met with John Witherspoon in September of 1772 and was granted admission to the College. The decision was then revoked by the Trustees on account of Hamilton’s desire to pursue his studies at an accelerated pace and earn his degree in less than four years. Mulligan reports that Hamilton was notified of the decision through a letter from Witherspoon; however if it ever existed this letter has never been recovered.

From the magazine:

If Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterful Broadway distillation of the extraordinary exploits of Alexander Hamilton has you thinking that “the ten-dollar/founding father/without a father” only ventured to New Jersey to meet his untimely end, think again. Hamilton also studied, dreamed, fought and loved on our side of the Hudson.


Arriving from the Caribbean in 1772, the brainy immigrant first lived in Elizabethtown and, like his future nemesis, Aaron Burr, attended Elizabethtown Academy on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church (42 Broad Street, Elizabeth). He also lived at Liberty Hall, William Livingston’s Georgian-style home in Union.

In 1776, an ailing Hamilton crossed the Delaware to the First Battle of Trenton (bas-relief of Hamilton, 1 West State Street, Trenton, former site of a Revolutionary-era tavern), and his artillery helped Washington surprise British forces at Princeton on January 3, 1777 (Princeton Battlefield State Park, 500 Mercer Road). At the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse (now Freehold) on June 28, 1778, Hamilton had his horse shot out from under him (Monmouth Battlefield State Park, Route 33, Manalapan). As part of Washington’s contingent, Hamilton stayed at the Gothic Revival Hermitage (335 Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus), where Burr later married the widowed Theodosia Prevost. And in the winter of 1778 to 1779, Washington, Hamilton and the rest of the rebels’ military brain trust made their beds at the Wallace House in Somerville (71 Somerset Street).

Read more at New Jersey Monthly