Our Annual List of the State’s Finest Dining Experiences
Original Article: http://njmonthly.com/articles/eat-drink/the-25-best-restaurants-2015/3/
In the last year, Mistral, one of the most engagingly inventive (and scandalously affordable) restaurants in the state, has quietly increased in size from 45 seats to 130. Owners Stephen Distler and Scott Anderson, the latter the executive chef, did this by three-season weatherproofing the patio and creating a Mistral bar with the liquor license they brought over from their first restaurant, Elements, now located on the second floor, just above Mistral. (Elements, by the way, long a fixture on the Top 25, reopened too late for consideration for this year’s list.)
“It’s a whole new can of worms,” jokes Mistral chef de cuisine Ben Nerenhausen, 32. “Increasing seating capacity that much brings all new challenges, but we’re finally hitting our stride.” That’s an understatement. Mistral now has four menus: dinner, lunch, brunch and bar. Each is loaded with oohs and aahs, meaning things you really want to try. They range from bar bites such as chickpea fritters with romesco sauce and Yorkshire pudding with bone marrow gravy to dinner entrées like lamb breast navarin with ricotta gnudi and roasted cabbage with sauerkraut cream and guanciale.
Though the Mistral Bar has its own room, basically any drink or menu item can be ordered there or in the original restaurant. The drinks and food at Mistral live up to Nerenhausen’s avowed goal: “exciting flavors, things that are a little different, a little thought-provoking, and fun.” 66 Witherspoon Street, 609-688-8808.