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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.

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  1. Drove by last night and spoke to Carlo Momo - one of the owner's. They're opening Saturday 9/13. Website front page is up. Can also register for more info.

    www.enoterra.com

    1. Called them last night. They are "soft" opening on 9/15 and taking limited reservations. The place looks beautiful! Can't wait!

      1. Anyone been?

        1 Reply
        1. re: RPMcMurphy

          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.

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pruiter

              I'm surprised. We went with another couple who ended up being over 1/2 hour late (soccer practice ending late) and they were very gracious about it. We sat for quite awhile with drinks, and they never made us feel like we were imposing.

            2. 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.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MercerChow

                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.

                1. re: MercerChow

                  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.

                2. Positive write-up on Eno Terra in the NYT today:

                  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/nyr...

                  1. 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.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: tom246

                      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?

                      1. re: ambrose

                        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.

                        1. re: tom246

                          Tom - Thanks for the post. I've got to remind myself to give this place a try for lunch when I'm in the Princeton area.

                          1. re: bgut1

                            I would bet that you will like it based off our lunch yesterday. Also a very impressive wine list although we passed since we had go back for some important meetings :)