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Big decision! Agricola or Mistral?

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coldbeer Nov 20, 2013 09:41 AM

If I had to pick one of these two shining beacons of Princeton goodness which should it be? Will only be there one evening.

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    yCf RE: coldbeer Nov 20, 2013 11:26 AM

    Never been to Mistral but did enjoy Agricola the one time we were there.
    Also with the "small plate" format, i felt Mistral is more suitable for lunch - just my 2 cents.

    1. Foody4life RE: coldbeer Nov 20, 2013 02:04 PM

      Short answer: Check out the menu's and see what appeals to you or simply flip a coin, try one now and the other later!

      Either way, it's a tough pick. I'd probably go with Agricola and request the kitchen dining room.

      Both have equality in terms of cuisine. Smaller plates than what most are used to, frequent menu changes, executive chef (Josh Thomsen at Agricola and Scott Anderson at Mistral) is typically always in the kitchen, etc.

      Mistral encourages small plate sharing and we typically order 3 plates per person. Great way to sample a lot if you're with a group.

      Mistral also gets the slight nod in service as Agricola has cycled thru a couple GM's and service seems to suffer as the evening and crowd grows.

      Agricola would be our pick for the intangibles including well made cocktails and a growing wine list (mistral is byob), more seating options, etc.

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        madgreek99 RE: coldbeer Nov 20, 2013 03:50 PM

        The food is very good at both. I give Agricola the edge for ambience.

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          pellegrino31 RE: coldbeer Nov 21, 2013 08:57 AM

          Agricola has a great atmosphere and full bar but the food has been underwhelming on my visits and the service can be so-so. It's not that the food I had was bad, it just wasn't all that exciting. For example, everyone and their mother has been doing kale salads forever. Agricola's was good but not a standout. Same with the scallops. The beef in the burger is good but the onion roll that it is served on is impossibly chewy.

          I admit the only time I've sampled food from Mistral was from their booth for Jazz Feast but I was super impressed by their ability to make fried chicken to order - on the street. The chicken was delicious (served with homemade kimchi which was very fresh tasting) and way more ambitious than what you'd expect for a booth on the street.

          Not to make the decision harder, but it really depends on what kind of experience you want because they are quite different. If you don't care about cocktails, then I'd give Mistral a shot.

          1. b
            BigGeorge RE: coldbeer Nov 22, 2013 09:16 AM

            Choice for me would be easy. I like Agricola's warmer atmosphere. The food is good but not outstanding. There is a decent wine list and good mixed drinks. Mistral's room is not very welcoming. In the colder weather you can't eat outside. The food is hit or miss. Of the 6 plates we ordered last time, I only liked 3.
            My overall answer would be none of the above. I would go to Elements instead.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BigGeorge
              c
              coldbeer RE: BigGeorge Nov 25, 2013 07:33 AM

              Have already been to Elements...went to Agricola and was very happy. Second best venison I've ever had, the best being at D'Floret and I'm pretty sure that Dennis Foy shot it himself. Agricola reminds me of all that is good in Napa Valley...just very crisp and professional and delicious. The whole farm to table thing can get a little tiresome with the self-congratualtions it seems to inspire, but the package works here.

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              gwh912 RE: coldbeer Nov 26, 2013 07:31 PM

              MISTRAL without question. Interesting and delicious food (many hits, some misses). Outside of a decent flatbread and (used to) have Pappy Van Winkle by glass , Agricola is a great concept that to me has fallen flat. Service, especially in bar, leaves a lot to be desired

              2 Replies
              1. re: gwh912
                Foody4life RE: gwh912 Nov 27, 2013 06:27 AM

                Agree about the bar service - Agricola's slow, personality lacking and inattentive bartenders makes it truly the "no fun bar". Really too bad since it's a great room with a large bar and a wall of windows on Witherspoon. It should be the best in town.

                We put up with the service because we do enjoy the cuisine and it's a great gathering spot.

                1. re: gwh912
                  Foody4life RE: gwh912 Nov 27, 2013 10:40 AM

                  qwh912 - things might be looking up for you, looks like Agricola once again has PVW. Posted yesterday on their facebook page:

                  "We just got in a full house of Pappy Van Winkles 10, 12, 15, 20 & 23 year old Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey"

                  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...

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