Monday, February 16, 2009

Lahiere's Restaurant - Princeton, NJ

Well, with it being President's Day, and both of us having the day off, we figured we'd take a ride down the road to Princeton to walk around town, enjoy the sunshine, and run a few errands. So after a quick stop at at the Princeton Running Company to get Zelda some new shoes for her upcoming 5K, we walked around the corner, and saw Lahiere's. After walking past Lahiere's Restaurant a million times in the last few years since moving to New Jersey, today would be a great day to give it a whirl for lunch.
I have never been to Laheire's, but Zelda has had client dinners there in the past, and said that they food and service were impeccable. I have also been very intrigued by the "Einstein Table," that nobody is allowed to sit at, yet is always set, and where Albert Einstein used to sit when he used to frequent Laheire's way back when. Needless to say, the table is still there, and it is indeed still set, with a picture of Mr. Einstein himself overlooking his famed table.
So as we walk in, we are greeted in a very odd, sort of cold entry area. Behind where the host stand sits is a gated area with a white curtain, and upon a closer look, reveals some tables back there, almost as a little private dining room. This would make a great walk in wine cellar, but I am sure that they nee as many tables in the restaurant as possible. Down to the left was another small dining room, where we saw two gentleman dining. We were then brought up a couple levels to the main dining room, and sat on the back wall, with a nice view of Witherspoon Street. There were 6 tables or so with diners, and quite a few open tables. The tables themselves were lined with nice white cloths, and good looking polished silver. Needless to say, the dining room looked very nice.
It was a few minutes before our server came over, and this gave me time to look at their wine list. Being during the day, and having errands to run, we both opted for a few Coke's, but there wine list was rather impressive. Being located in Princeton, I would expect nothing less. A few notable bottles included 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, as well as wines from Chateau Petrus, Penfolds Grange, and Opus One.
So our when our server finally came back to take our order, Zelda opted to try try the Crisp Panko-Crusted Chicken Breast on Grilled Ciabatta, with Marinated Artichokes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Pesto Aioli. This was served on a nice piece of Ciabatta bread, with seasoned chips on the side. I am not sure if these were sweet potato or what they were, but they were tasty and lightly seasoned. I did not try her sandwich, but I will paste her notes soon.
I opted to try the Lahiere’s Cheddar Burger with Lettuce and Tomato, Served with Steak Fries. I know what you are thinking, but I am very much a "burger connoisseur." After all, it was lunch, but they did have some other good looking entrees on the menu. The burger itself came and as I cut it, the first things that I noticed was that it was served nowhere close to medium as I ordered it. Sure, I could have sent it back, but if they can't get it right the first time, what makes me think that they will get it right the second time. Regardless, the burger still have good flavor, and was no where near dried out. It was seasoned nicely, and the cheddar cheese was a nice tough. The fries themselves were far from steak fries as they were small, and very soggy. Regardless, they still had nice flavor, but I would not list them as steak fries on the menu, and I would serve them much crispier than the way I received them.
Overall, the food was OK, the ambiance was very nice, and the service was slow, and mediocre at best. For a slow Monday, with just a few tables, I would expect better service. I'm not sure that I would go back for lunch, but after hearing all the great things about their dinners, I might be willing to give it a try.
Lahiere's Restaurant
5-II Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542

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