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Lahiere's, Princeton (closed)

Foody4life Nov 15, 2010 08:07 AM

the grande dame on Witherspoon Street served its last meal this weekend. Building was recently sold and the building's new owners are looking at options for the future.

Anyone with a scoop on what may be taking its place?

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  1. m
    Mr. Bingley RE: Foody4life Nov 15, 2010 08:55 AM

    we used to eat there in the mid-90s when it was still pure french. it was quite good. after not being there for many years i took a look at the menu a few months and was surprised they had kept the name, as it bore little relationship to what it was before but had morphed into another asian fusion mess. a pity.

    1. NJDolfan RE: Foody4life Nov 17, 2010 03:57 PM

      new owners are looking at all options. Maybe smaller restaurant and have some retail space as well.

      3 Replies
      1. re: NJDolfan
        Foody4life RE: NJDolfan Nov 18, 2010 09:35 AM

        Always wondered what happens to the wine when a restaurant closes - do the owners keep, or is it sold privately? Lahiere's had one of the better cellars in town.

        1. re: Foody4life
          m
          Mr. Bingley RE: Foody4life Nov 18, 2010 11:30 AM

          i guess it depends on the reason the restaurant closed. if they go bankrupt it's an asset and the lawyers fight over it; if it is because the owners decided to close then I suppose they keep it.

          1. re: Foody4life
            njfoodies RE: Foody4life Nov 20, 2010 11:44 AM

            They did have some great bottles there, but storage conditions were always a worry to me on some of their older wines. Last time we were there, they had some gorgeous aged Bordeaux. But even so, the exectution of the cuisine here never did anything for me. -mJ

        2. j
          Just Visiting RE: Foody4life Nov 18, 2010 01:45 PM

          Just went by there last week after visiting my father in the hospital...and cursing the fact that it can take 20 minutes to drive two blocks on Witherspoon. Since you all seem to know the area, can anyone remember the name of the red-and-white oilskin tablecloth with candles in raffia chianti bottles Italian place on the other side of Witherspoon? I think it was where the Alchemist and the Barrister is now located.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Just Visiting
            h
            Heatherb RE: Just Visiting Nov 18, 2010 02:15 PM

            How long ago are you talking about? A&B has been there as long as I can remember...

            1. re: Heatherb
              j
              Just Visiting RE: Heatherb Nov 18, 2010 02:34 PM

              Heather, my savior re: Fernando's! I am 55 and when I lived in/left Princeton in approximately 1985, Alchemist and Barrister was on the right-hand side (same side as Lahiere's). Damn I am so freaking old.

              1. re: Just Visiting
                h
                Heatherb RE: Just Visiting Nov 18, 2010 02:49 PM

                :) Are you talking about Mezzaluna maybe? I thought that was kinda new-ish though... I'm very vague on Witherspoon St restaurants though...

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                Mezzaluna
                25 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ 08542

                1. re: Just Visiting
                  p
                  pltrgyst RE: Just Visiting Nov 22, 2011 01:10 PM

                  I'm a lot olfer than you are, and the A&B was on the opposite side from Lahiere's long before 1985. 8;)

              2. re: Just Visiting
                Foody4life RE: Just Visiting Nov 18, 2010 03:13 PM

                Italian place across from Lahiere's was "The Grotto". It closed around 1993 and became Quilty's, then Les Copains, now it's a Subway.

                There was another Italian place further down Witherspoon, called La Casa di Napoli. It was by Able Bagels which is now the cupcake place but I don't recall if it was in the A&B location or maybe the Ferry House location.

                1. re: Foody4life
                  rockhopper RE: Foody4life Nov 19, 2010 11:20 AM

                  I liked the Grotto and miss it. Two things stand out in my memory. The cook's sister was a waitress who wore what looked like J.S. Bach's wig so we called her Madame Bach. She never wrote down your order and never got it wrong. I always asked what was for desert because she used an unusual pronunciation for spumoni. It came out sounding like spermoni. Just in case I never ordered it.

                  1. re: Foody4life
                    j
                    Just Visiting RE: Foody4life Nov 19, 2010 12:04 PM

                    Bingo! The Grotto! That was it. Boy we ate there a bazillion times. Thank you all so much.

                2. t
                  trenches RE: Foody4life Jan 18, 2011 06:30 PM

                  For historic reasons, I'm a bit sad, but as a chowhound, I'm not, not one bit. I went there 3 times, hoping on the 2nd and 3rd tries that it'd be better, but it was just mediocre, dated stuff, sad pieces of meat or fish, swimming in lackluster blah sauce, at exorbitant prices (thankfully, I wasn't the one to pick up the check the last 2 times.) If it weren't for this town full of rich people with dull palates, this place wouldn't have survived so long.

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