Where to eat in Princeton, New Jersey: Teresa’s Cafe Italiano

04. June 2007 New Jersey 0

We ran from the NJ Transit train to the Dinky platform in the rain while the bright, white lights flashed against the dark sky. I’ve never seen lightning like that before; never seen them flash one right after the other. For a moment, I wondered where I was. Was this really New Jersey?

Cameron and I walked across her alma matter’s campus and ended up at Teresa’s for dinner. We were famished and wet from the downpour. We just wanted to sit so we could eat and drink at the same time. There was already a group waiting for a table with their wet umbrellas. We stood for less than ten minutes to be seated at the bar but it felt longer because the maitre d’ let another couple behind us sit first. We kept our New York cool and didn’t make a scene until another couple tried to do the same thing. It was time for some dirty martinis.

We started with the fennel and arugula salad with shaved black peppercorn cheese. I often make this salad at home but I can never seem to say no whenever I see it on the menu. It’s so simple and satisfying. The meat and cheese plate consisted of some prosciutto and soppresatta, plus small wedges of hard and semi-soft cheeses.

It took a while for us to finish both plates because we were chatting, but as soon as we cleared our plates, our pasta dishes were served. We knew one bowl would have been enough for both of us but we always end up ordering more than we can eat whenever we’re together. We ordered the linguine with mussels, Manila clams and scallops. We also ordered the ricotta and Berskhire sausage-filled cannelloni. The former was better than the latter. The pasta had a clam juice taste and gave the dish a little bit more oomph. The cannelloni was just so-so even with the tasty sausages in it. It was more substantial with all the ricotta. I’ve never been a big fan of a big bowl of pasta with red sauce anyway.

Since we were sitting at the bar, we didn’t really get exceptional service. We interacted with our young female bartender twice: as soon as we sat down and when she asked me if I wanted another martini. (I said yes.) Our bill was about $80 without the tip after three cocktails, two appetizers and two pasta dishes. It was substantially less expensive than any complete meal we’ve paid for in the city. The rain was all worth it considering we just wanted a simple meal.

Teresa’s Cafe Italiano is at 23 Palmer Square East in Princeton, New Jersey. No reservations needed but their number is 609/921.1974.

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