Big decision! Agricola or Mistral?
If I had to pick one of these two shining beacons of Princeton goodness which should it be? Will only be there one evening.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.