Eno Terra - Kingston NJ
Does anybody know what's the buzz on this place? I thought it was opening in March '08, but... not a peep lately. I like most of the other Terra Momo places, and I like the concept for Eno Terra.
Called them last night. They are "soft" opening on 9/15 and taking limited reservations. The place looks beautiful! Can't wait!
We went the opening week. I didn't post anything because it was only the first visit and since it's so close by, we'll be going back to sample more of the menu.
I agree with frackit that it's design and atmosphere are great. However, the meal wasn't all that special. We paid a lot ... $193 for two people - sampling wines and different dishes. Unfortunately, the best were those items that weren't cooked including the Salumi and Formaggi (outstanding) and the Bent Spoon gelato! Sausage sampler entree was meh, Pork chop was OK but nothing memorable.
There's a lot to choose from here, it's all locally sourced and deserves a second (for pasta) and third (for their tasting menu) visit. I see us returning again soon.
We had dinner at Eno Terra the opening weekend, since I live less than a mile away. By Princeton standards, this restaurants is fabulous. The atmosphere is one of the most comfortable in the area. The bar/lounge area, with the glass-enclosed wine storage and exposed beams, is a step above anything around here. Eno Terra is a very special place and one that will no doubt be very successful in this area. Highly recommended.
This "upscale newcomer" touts local and organic seasonal foods, and has a lot of pretentiousness upon entering the building.
The food was well below decent, and I will not return. The mushroom bruschetta, while tasty, was served fridge-cold, really too cold to enjoy. The skirt steak (at $36) was burnt and bitter, with stale corn bread and chard that was cold and, also, bitter. The super-hyped gnocchi was bubblegum-soft and bland, with cualiflower completely dominating the dish.
Desert (peach-cranberry cobbler) was plain, just decent, but can only be ordered for two. To top it off, the cappuccino looked and tasted like soapy water, and the espresso was cold, flat and tasteless. Both coffees were re-made, with only little improvement.
The service was sub-par, pretentious, clumsy. The Maitre D made us feel unwelcome for being 10 minutes late, repeatedly. And your valet-only parking is clearly because you lack sufficient parking spaces. We could hardly get out of the lot. Shame.
Well, I shall weigh in on this with a positive review. Aside from a few service issues, Mrs MercerChow and I found our first meal at Eno Terra to be delightful, and we would go back in a flash.
We sat at a deuce in the bar, a spacious room with high ceilings. The bar scene was distracting but surprisingly not that noisy. Nonetheless in the future I would ask to be seated elsewhere.
We did have a good view of their two-story, glass-enclosed wine storage area, however. The wine list is longish and diverse, but manageable and not unreasonably-priced. There is a large Italian selection, but we ordered a bottle of the 2005 Descendientes de J Palacios Corullon, from the Spanish region of Bierzo. It was excellent.
Mrs MC started with the grilled little neck clams with roasted tomatoes, arugula, lemon, and pancetta. The pancetta gave the clams a nice smoky flavor, although they could have been cooked for a couple of minutes more. I had the baby beet salad, with arugula and Valley Shepherd ricotta. The beets (from Gravity Hill Farm in Titusville) were roasted and flavorful and the ricotta was just tangy enough to provide some contrast. The pile of lightly dressed arugula I could have done without. Lovely presentation, though.
My entrée was the grilled Griggstown Farm poussin with braised fennel and winter squash. The poussin was quartered and piled high. It was crisp on the outside and cooked perfectly inside – just spectacular. The fennel was soft and caramelized and a nice offset, though the cubes of squash didn’t add much. Mrs MC had the Barnegat Bay flounder with celery root puree, local pea tendrils, and (more) little necks. The fish was sautéed nicely. Overall the dish was good but a bit on the bland side, with the celery root flavor apparently not surviving the pureeing process very well.
For dessert we split the chamomile flan with mixed citrus slices, basil syrup, and peach sorbet (from the Bent Spoon in Princeton). It was a fine ending, with the basil syrup and sorbet playing nicely together. Finished with a nicely prepared espresso.
As for the service issues, we thought the youngish server was on the annoying side of attentive – dare we say intrusive? Had a few gaps in knowledge, too, but it is still early days.
Eno Terra is a fine addition to the local scene, with the potential to be in the top tier if they can keep it up. We’ll be back to see if they can deliver this quality consistently.
We ate there this week wanting to try this new place. The atmosphere was good, interesting decor, and we felt that it would be a promising new restaurant. We ordered several appetizers, a main course, side dish, and a mezzo of wine. The chicken was clearly undercooked, and the waiter indicated that the chef prepares it this way. Upon receiving the bill, it seemed high, and we aren't in the habit of doing a careful review, but decided to look closer. We were charged 2 1/2 times the menu price for the wine. Upon pointing this out, they adjusted it back to the menu price. Oversight? Mistake? Not sure.... We missed another slight overcharge on a side dish which was caught once we got home.
To follow up on my post of a few weeks ago, we went back to Eno Terra with a couple of friends and I remain a fan of the food.
This time we sat in the main dining room. It was pretty noisy, so I’ll retract what I said before; maybe the bar is better. The service was fine but the server bordered on arrogant while discussing the menu’s locavore approach. My advice, when you are asked if it’s your first time there, is that it’s best to answer “no” to avoid the propaganda.
That said, we were all quite happy with our meals. I wasn’t taking notes, but for starters the baby lettuce, artichoke, and baby beet salads were all fine. For mains, the grilled vegetables, east coast salmon, Nantucket Bay scallops, and big eye tuna are recommended as is, from the wine list, the Laurus Gigondas.
N.B., the valet parking does not seem to be mandatory. The parking staff was perfectly happy to see us self-park in an open space.
Several of us from work celebrated a couple of coworkers birthdays today at Eno Terra. Very attractive rooms, good service.
Three course business person special for $19.00. Salad of mixed greens, arugula, figs and a wedge of brie with a nice viniagrette dressing. Main of large grilled scallops with a variety of veggies and mini sliced potatoes. Dessert of a fresh peach panne cotta.
All three courses were delicious, nice sized portions and at $19.00 worth every penny and then some.
Tom, Eno Terra is a good hour's drive from my house. Are reservations necessary for a weekday lunch? I imagine this place attracts business people from the surrounding area and the recent review in the Times has probably increased business significantly. Better to be safe than sorry?
Ambrose, we were a party of 5 without a reservation and had no problem sitting in the main dining room. We arrived about 12:10 and only a couple of tables were taken. After about 30-45 minutes the room was about half full. At no time did it fill up.
There is also a beautiful bar area with tables in another room. It would take quite a crowd to fill the entire dining area during lunch.
Having said all that, setting a reservation is probably a good idea. We didn't because we decided to go there last minute.
Ok, so I was invited by a business associate to join him and a couple of his friends for their “steak” night. They go to a different restaurant every month for a boy’s business/pleasure steak dinner. This was my second time joining them, the first time I was invited we ate at my suggestion, Ship Wreck Point, and this time one of them selected Eno Terra. I don’t spend much time in the Princeton Area, so I had no previous knowledge of this place, I accepted the invitation and visited the web site to get the address to put into my navigation. Much to my delight the picture attached was featured on their web site, looks DELICIOUS.
The greater Princeton Area (this is actually in Kingston) is what I consider to be a bit of a snobbish area. I personally think they resent us Monmouth County folk, especially a hoity toity type like myself, venturing onto their turf. I am the kid from the other –or- bad side of the tracks in the Ivy League’s back yard. Lock your doors, hide your daughters and load your shot-gun, Junior is in town.
Anyway…the place if very nicely laid out. The floor plan is open and airy and very “homey” feel to it. The bar area is very nice with a center glass wine room displaying their extensive selections. We met at the bar before being seated in the dining room. (Side note to story, I am currently “on the wagon” something I do from time to time, just to always make sure I still can. A side benefit of my going on the wagon I’ve lost close to 30lbs just from not consuming massive amounts of vodka on a daily basis, which would mean theoretically 10% of my body mass is vodka!!!!…..sorry I digress)
We are seated and greeted by our server in her faux flannel Urban Outfitter shirt. She asks if we have been there before to which 4 of us answer no, one yes. She explains they are a “locally sourced” restaurant and everything they serve comes from within a 50 mile radius of the restaurant. (Ok whatever, this place is starting to get on my nerves, this is NOT what I was expecting) The server, who was very lovely and efficient, begins to tell us of their “Formaggi” selections. A few questions later and I have to ask; “Do you have a Formaggi Chef?” she responds “There is a person who is in charge of the Formaggi selections” at which point she turns around to the “cheese bar” area and shows me the person in a white chef jacket manning the station. Rather impressed by this I then ask: “he is in charge of the cheese?” she smiles, nods, and responds “yes”. I then asked if I could pull his finger the next time he has to “cut the cheese”. The warm smile immediately vanished from her face and was replaced by a look of semi-disgust and a familiar look in her eye that said; “You must be from Monmouth County you vulgar swine”.
We did order the Granda Fromaggi platter which consisted of; 3 Italian Meats, procciutto, bologna type meat, procciutto type meat. After my previous comment I didn’t have the courage to ask if the procciutto was sourced with-in 50 miles of the location. The three cheeses were; stinky parmesean type, mild munster type, some other cheese that was completely lost on me. This was served with some raisin bread, olives, two bread sticks, honey and some chutney. I took the raisin bread, some bologna, some cheese and made finger sandwiches; I really wish I had some spicy mustard. If this is your kind of thing, you might appreciate it, I didn’t. (Give me the cheese and meat platter at Basil T’s/Un-Dici any day of the week)
After the Grande Fromaggi we shared the meatballs and fried duck ball appetizers. The meatballs were veal and tasty, although very small, 3 to an order and about ping-pong ball sized. The fried duck balls were interesting, think of an Italian rice ball (golf ball sized) with some sort of duck filling. They were tasty, as anything fried would be, but really lacked any duck taste. They could have been stuffed with that bologna from the Formaggi platter for all I know.
I ordered a caesar salad which came with anchovie filets draped across the salad. This was one of those “caesar inspired” salads, it wasn’t a traditional caesar salad, I didn’t like the very mild dressing nor the unidentifiable lettuce (reminded me of kale) that was used. There was also a squash soup ordered at the table which was enjoyed.
We will reflect now on why I was getting annoyed from the time we sat down. Although when I went to the web-site I saw the attached picture, which I found to be VERY appetizing, AND this is suppose to be a “Steak Night, the menu only had 1-Steak Entrée. This was a grass fed rib-eye, not even what they showcase on their web-site. Had I been a little bit less of a Neanderthal when on the web site and actually read the menu I probably would have not even bothered accepting the invitation. Princeton + Faux Flannel + Cutting the Cheese Guy + Local Sourced + Not Drinking + No Porterhouse = Sober Cranky Junior. Anyway…..I ordered the Rib Eye medium (3 total ordered) 1 grilled chicken French cut, 1 lobster pasta entrée. Everything was good there were no complaints. The Rib Eye was off the bone which of course annoyed me further…but it was a good cut, cooked a perfect medium. It was served over a bed of white canalini beans and haricot verts. (why can’t they just be string beans?)
While the steak was very good, I can’t criticize it, it had a maitre d’ procini butter topping which took more away than it added to the steak. There were a few deserts ordered but by this time I had mentally checked out of the dining experience, they might have loved or hated their desert, I could care less at this point.
All in All it wasn't a bad experience, but one I would never care to have again. You know when sometime tries to break up with you without hurting your feelings “It’s me it’s not you”………..that’s how I feel about this place. It’s me…..it’s not them. I wouldn't discourage you from trying this place….from everything they are trying to do….it just doesn't seem they are doing any of them well.
You nailed this place with that report. Couldn't agree more and glad you survived your visit to the dark side!
We broke up with Eno Terra after our third date and have no desire to return.
The night of our break up, we were cut off mid check in at the host stand - by a breathless manager needing to secure a table for his favored guest. No worries mate, we'll step aside for you.
We were then waited on by a waiter who sprinted across the room (as I was refilling my sweeties wine glass) yelling "...put that bottle down, I'll get fired if my manager sees you pouring". I continued my pour and he managed to stay employed thru dessert.
Our evening was topped off by them giving us someone else's leftovers.
We called to let them know our lobster pasta and tuna weren't in the bag and they asked us to bring back what we were given and they'd give us ours. Yeah, right.