Bon Appetit kiosk opens by Carnevale Plaza
Princeton’s newest kiosk has been a long time coming. It was late 2016 when Bon Appetit, the longtime purveyor of gourmet foods at Princeton Shopping Center, announced plans to construct a kiosk outside the Carnevale Plaza apartments being constructed at the east end of Nassau Street. The apartments opened in 2017, and a kiosk appeared in the plaza, where it sat, shuttered and unadorned, awaiting equipment and permits — until May, 2019. Now it’s time to bring your appetite.
The menu is heavy on carbohydrates, and the servings are sizable. Stop by at breakfast time and chalkboard crepe and waffle menus hang from the brick exterior. Crepes, $6.99 to $9.99, are divided between savory options such as the Popeye (prosciutto, goat cheese, baby spinach, roasted red peppers, and tomato) and sweet options such as the Italian Banana (nutella and fresh sliced banana). The waffles operate with a similar dichotomy: savory options include the Pig and Cloud (creme fraiche, bacon, and salted caramel sauce); sweet options come topped with fruit, chocolate, and other treats. The kiosk also serves croissants and other pastries.
In the afternoon the kiosk offers baguette sandwiches, from the classic tomato, mozzarella, and basil to turkey, brie, and mango chutney. Sandwiches are $6.99 to $8.99. Also available throughout the day are a range of hot and iced espresso and coffee-based drinks.
New restaurant tries its luck at 182 Nassau
It’s been a revolving door for restaurants at 182 Nassau Street since the Carousel Diner closed in 2012. Most recently it was the Middle Eastern spot Marhaba, which closed its doors one day last October and never reopened; before that it was Cheeburger Cheeburger. But the proprietors of its latest incarnation, Spice Grill, are hoping the third time is the charm.
Like Marhaba, which already had a popular location in Lambertville, Spice Grill has already established its presence in Parsippany, where it first opened in 2006. The Morris County-based couple behind Spice Grill has years of restaurant experience. Gajinder Singh Chauhan worked for years at restaurants in his native India, then spent five years working on cruise lines before moving to the United States in 1993. He managed a restaurant in New York for 13 years before opening the first Spice Grill with his wife, Hazel Dias, in 2006.
The Princeton restaurant offers lunch, dinner, and takeout and catering options. The dinner menu includes traditional Indian stews like vindaloo, korma, and saag, served over rice with vegetarian, chicken, goat, and seafood-based options, ranging in price from $11.95 to $19.95, as well as kababs, breads, and appetizers. Spice Grill also offers “Indo-Chinese” appetizers such as chicken and vegetable spring rolls. The lunch menu offers kati rolls — lamb, chicken, or vegetarian wraps — rice-based biryanis, and special lunch platters ($12.95 to $16.95).
Spice Grill joins Princeton’s sizable contingent of existing Indian restaurants, the closest of which is Mehek at 164 Nassau Street. It will also compete with Chennai Chimney at 19 Chambers Street, Tandoori Bite at 36 Witherspoon Street, and Cross Culture in the Princeton Shopping Center.
Spice Grill, 182 Nassau Street. Open daily, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10:30 p.m. 609-250-7152.
Chinese food with a Louisiana twist
Another in the recurring theme of the ever-evolving restaurants in downtown Princeton is the Chinese restaurant at 238 Nassau Street. While the decor has remained largely unchanged, the spot has gone through numerous name changes since Ivy Garden left the spot seven years ago. Earlier this spring the Eps Corner sign that most recently hung above the restaurant’s front door changed to a sign that reads Seafood Boil.
The new restaurant still serves the Chinese specialties that restaurants in that spot have long been known for, but it has also added its namesake seafood boil. The concept: take your pick of 11 shellfish options — different varieties of crab and shrimp, lobster, clams, or mussels — a seasoning, a spice level, and any add-ons like mushrooms, lotus root, or sausage, and receive a massive plate of fish prepared to your specifications. Costs are based on market prices for most items.
Seafood Boil, 238 Nassau Street. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 609-921-2388.
Diesel and Duke takes 30 Burgers’ spot
After 30 Burgers left its Nassau Street location in favor of a spot at Quaker Bridge Mall, it didn’t take long for a new burger joint to take its place. Diesel and Duke, which already has locations in New Brunswick, Jersey City, Caldwell, and Montclair, offers cleverly named burgers ranging from the standard — lettuce, tomato, American cheese, ketchup, aioli — to the one-of-a-kind, like the S.P.B.B., which combines sriracha, peanut butter, and bacon.
Diesel and Duke is also one of several area establishments that now offers the “Impossible” burger, a vegetarian burger invented by California-based Impossible Foods that has achieved massive popularity for how well it imitates the taste and texture of a beef-based burger. It’s also served with lettuce, tomato, American cheese, ketchup, and aioli. Burgers cost $7.49 to $10.49, extra toppings are $1, and an extra patty is $3.
Diesel & Duke, 124 Nassau Street. Open Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. 609-921-3300. www.eatdiesel.com.
Waiters’ Race returns
On your marks, get set, spill! The ninth annual Princeton Waiters’ Race honors the hard workers in Princeton’s restaurants and puts on a show for onlookers on Thursday, July 18, at 4 p.m. at Princeton Shopping Center. Waitstaff from Princeton’s restaurants will race while balancing trays with glasses full of water. At stake? Cash, prizes, and bragging rights until next year. The event is organized by the Princeton Merchants Association.
On the horizon: Kristine’s is coming
Progress is being made on Kristine’s, the latest restaurant from Jack Morrison’s JM Group, which will be located adjacent to Witherspoon Grill in the former Rouge space fronting Hinds Plaza. Princeton Council was set to approve an ordinance allowing for outdoor seating for 24 on the plaza adjacent to the restaurant. The website features the tag line “Fresh, Simple, French,” suggesting that the new spot could compete with Cargot Brasserie’s French-inspired fare.
Terra Momo Bread Company expands
And another notable Princeton restaurant group is spreading its influence. The Terra Momo group, which includes restaurants Mediterra, Teresa Caffe, and Eno Terra as well as the eponymous bread company, is set to open a new branch of the bread company at the Trenton Farmers Market, where it will join an eclectic collection of shops and eateries.