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Jun 14, 2013 12:07 PM

Has anyone tried North End Bistro in Princeton?

I saw they finally opened and I looked online at the menu - nice standards, well priced. Wine list isn't anything exciting but the food looks promising. Was particularly taken by the fact that they source from La Frieda for their burger. We have a 1 year old so we're not going out as often...translation: when we do go out, it has to be really worth it!

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  1. Good reviews on Yelp. I have a tremendous fear of the unknown with Princeton restaurants and always end up at Winberies or Panera :(

    1 Reply
    1. re: ebchower

      Yes I have the same fear (which existed pre-baby as well).

      I saw the reviews on Yelp, many of them seem way too cheery. I did like one review where it was described as "Princeton good" which sums up many restaurants in the area.

    2. Another very nice addition to the Princeton scene. We enjoyed our first dinner here last night.

      Very good to excellent food. Dining room was welcoming but a bit loud with lots of cement and glass. Service was new and learning, expect they'll quickly improve with time.

      We shared the tuna bruschetta and the lobster mac to start, then I had the seafood linguini (excellent), J had the steak tacos (good) with a side wedge salad and our guest had the mushroom ravioli (very good) with a side caesar. Enjoyed all. Large servings well priced.

      Desserts weren't quite as good. Bread pudding was a bit dry. Berry cobbler was much better. Also they serve local Gelavino gelato, but the only flavors were vanilla and chocolate. We hope they get more flavors in the future.

      We enjoyed a bottle of Hopewell Valley Barbera - our local NJ fav and well priced at $21 with almost no markup. Truly a great wine made in NJ. (Note, they're BYOB but sell bottles of wine from Hopewell Valley Vineyards.)

      Expect they'll do very well as the place was packed and we look forward to returning.

      1. Tried North End Bistro tonight. Overall, we were disappointed.

        The service was the issue tonight. Specifically:

        1) We brought a bottle of wine. Wine was on the table. Waitress looked right at it and asked if we wanted anything to drink. We asked for water and then asked her if she could open the wine. Response was "oh, do you want me to open that?". They didn't bring an ice bucket until asked on follow up

        2) Sparkling water is apparently only available in large format bottle, although they didn't mention this when my wife asked for a seltzer. They just brought it

        3) I got the burger. The kitchen forgot to include the fries. Waitress took the burger back to get fries added. A few minutes later, she brought the same burger back to me, still without fries. "It will be a few minutes for the fries." Why she took the burger away is beyond me. By the time fries arrived, everyone was finished with dinner

        The food was ok, although there were some issues.

        They were out of avocado. The "caramelized" onions for the burger were barely wilted and certainly not caramelized. The crudite with the bean hummus was sad looking, not fresh. Chicken Rustica was very salty.

        We'll go back because we really like the menu and concept of the place. They will need to significantly improve the execution, though, to keep us as regular customers.

        So far, yet another Princeton dining disappointment.

        4 Replies
        1. re: freshmanjs

          Thanks, this sounds like what I was expecting to hear - except for a few restaurants in Princeton, most of them offer uneven service and execution.

          1. re: pellegrino31

            What are the few places that you find consistently good in princeton? thanks!

            1. re: freshmanjs

              Blue Point Grill never disappoints. It's not fancy, but it's good. We also like Tortuga's Mexican Village - again not fancy, just authentically good Mexican.

              1. re: freshmanjs

                I've always enjoyed meals at Teresa's and Peacock Inn (the latter has been just a few meals since it's so pricey, the former we've eaten at several times). I like the burger at Triumph and as long as I just consider that place for a burger and beer, then it's worked out just fine.

                That's pretty much it. Frankly we've been having our most enjoyable meals recently at Cheesecake Factory which I'm sure will downgrade my credibility but we've been surprised with how good it is. We've been several times and I've been happy with the service and consistency of the food. I know what I'm getting and it delivers. Whereas I feel like several Princeton restaurants want to be very ambitious but fall completely flat.

          2. My husband and I went out to lunch there today and had a good experience. Honestly I wasn't sure what to expect because I feel like so many Princeton restaurants over-promise and under-deliver so we were quite pleased. Nice to have a basic restaurant that delivers the standards without trying to be more than that.

            We didn't go nuts with ordering. I had the fish tacos and he got the turkey burger. Both quite good. Most turkey burgers you get in restaurants are really dry but this one was moist. If we weren't already planning to grill beef burgers tonight, we would have gotten the regular burger for lunch. I love La Frieda mix burgers.

            Our lunches were preceded by a very nice bowl of complimentary homemade potato chips. If they served them with dip, I probably would have made that my entire lunch.

            Service was professional and efficient. No complaints there.

            My one complaint is the choice of tables and chairs for the patio. The patio is a really nice space but the chairs are so uncomfortable and flimsy. I'm a small person and I still felt the chairs weren't big enough to sit comfortably. The outside tables are quite narrow and the square plates they serve on are enormous, so the fit doesn't quite make sense.

            Definitely interested to return and try more things off the menu.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pellegrino31

              nice report.

              I'm jealous - our server never brought the chips when we were there and I forgot to ask. I love homemade chips!

              Agree about the patio seating. We checked it out and it didn't look comfy. I'm thinking they were going for the smallest solution to maximize the available space. Hope they upgrade to adult sized chairs.

            2. I hadn't been there for about 6 months. went there last night....BIG MISTAKE!!!! I ordered the Sunday special...chicken parmesan. After about 1/2 hour, it finally came. A breaded chicken slice with a small helping of mozzarella and a dollop of tomato sauce. Even airline food is more appetizing and better tasting than this monstrosity. The service was good. But, to wait this long for this garbage is unacceptable. You may say that I made a mistake in ordering Chicken Parm at a non-Italian restaurant. You're right. My bigger mistake was coming to North End Bistro.