Saturday, March 27, 2010

Restaurant Underground - Princeton, NJ

After reading about Underground on Chowhound, today we decided to give it a shot for ourselves, to see what it was all about.  Underground has a nice Bulgarian/Middle Eastern flair to it, and that is what they pride themselves on. 

We actally tried to come here I would guess 2 years ago, and I remember walking down the lit stairs, and going inside to a dark, but gorgeous room.  We stood there for probably 10 minutes, and were never helped, so we ended up leaving.  Today, we walked down the steps, and were greeted right away.

The restaurant was bright, with all the light shining in the two long windows in the front.  The first thing I noticed was the glass floor and steps, and we were seated at a table along the wall.  A long bench seat wraps around and adorns the entire wall.

The tables are made of cracked glass, and there is a stacked stone bar with some nice fiber optic lighting elements worked in.  A large piece of fabric drapes a portion of the ceiling, and adds an elegant touch.  It is nice to look at, and adds a nice Middle Eastern element to the restaurant.

Our server David came over and took our drink order.  He also told us about the specials, and brought us samples of the Spinach and Sirene with Feta Cheese Croquettes.  Wow were these tasty, fried to a golden crisp, with incredbile spice and flavors.  I would go back for these along, as they were so tasty.  The also put samples outside, to draw in the customers.  Not a bad thing in the least, and we could see many people grabbing them as they walked by.

After we ordered, David also brought over a taste of the Chicken Paprika Soup, their signature soup.  This had a nice rich, red stock, with large chunks of chicke, vegetables, and rice mixed in.  To me, this didn't have as much Middle Eastern flair as I would have expected, but it was still a nice soup.  The paprika seemed really subdued, but I don't think that is a bad thing.  To me, the soup had more of a Tuscan influence, but again, it was tasty.

For lunch, we opted for sandwiches today as not to spoil our dinner tonight at a restaurant that we have been asked to review.  Zelda, always on the search for the perfect falafel, ordered the Falafel sandwich.  This was a traditional style falafel sandwich with lettuce and tomato, served in a pita with Bulgarian dressing on the side.  It also came with homemade chips.

From the bite that I had, the falafel was fried up nicely, and had some really nice spices to it.  Zelda really enjoyed this, and I cannot blame her in the least.  It was some of the better falafel I have had in this area.

Against my better judgement, I opted for the gyro, in hope that it would be the traditional, spit cooked meat, shaved off fresh, and put onthe sandwich.  I really should have asked, but figured I would take my chances.  Unfortunately, it was the processed meat, and was a 50% mix of lamb, and 50% beef.  It definitely did have nice flavor, but could have used more meat as there were only 3 or 4 thin slices on the sandwich, along with some lettuce, tomato, and shaved red onion.  I will however say that the tzatziki was by far the best I have had in this area, with nice garlic and cucumber flavors, with a really nice flavor.

All in all, a good lunch, and a good place.  I would be really interested to go back and try some of their entrees from their dinner menu, as it looks like they have some great stuff.  David provided us with great service, and was very knowledgeable of the menu.  Good flavors and nice spices make it worth a trip back in the future, but I will be ordering something other than the gryo.  Cheers!  -F. Scott

Restaurant Underground
4 Hulfish Street
Princeton, NJ  08542
Phone:  (609)924-0666

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