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30 best meals 2015: Mistral in Princeton

30 Best Meals: 2015

ON DAY 7 of our best choices in American cuisine, we offer…

MISTRAL

 Chef de cuisine Ben Nerenhausen made this summer announcement on Twitter: “Fresh huitlacoche for our new pozole dish.”

Nerenhausen complemented that tweet with a photo. Which didn’t help; you still didn’t recognize huitlacoche. Twitter offered to translate, but then was stumped as well.

Thus, Mistral — a restaurant that takes all these wild, zany particles, a double helix of ingredients and somehow creates an amazing, well-formed, astonishing dinner. (For the record: Huitlacoche is corn smut, a fungus. In Mexico, it’s a delicacy. Pozole is a hominy.)

Mistral continues to rack up national accolades — Nerenhausen as a semi-finalistfor a 2014 James Beard Award, the restaurant’s roasted Jersey fluke named one of 2015’s most visually exciting dishes in America by Grub Street.

But trust yourself — have the burrata or the chicharrones or the bucatini. This is how clever, intelligent, satisfying food is done. It’s genius. No one else comes close.

And the real beauty of Mistral is that you don’t have to be a food nerd or have a fat wallet to have one of the best food experiences in the state. You don’t have to understand huitlacoche or pozole.

If you do, terrific. If you don’t, that’s terrific, too. Spend $16 for the pozole, which is also made with pork and clams, and be mesmerized.

Mistral | 66 Witherspoon St., Princeton | (609) 688-8808mistralprinceton.com

Original Article on NJ.com here: http://www.nj.com/inside-jersey/index.ssf/2015/11/30_best_meals_2015_mistral_in_princeton.html