La Mezzeluna, Princeton, New Jersey

La Mezzeluna is an Italian restaurant on Witherspoon Street in Princeton. This was my second time at La Mezzaluna and the only reson I went was because I couldn’t get a reservation at 3 other restaurants I tried. I had remembered the food as being decent not great, but this time I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was, but more on that in a minute.

I was meeting Kedar and Swati for dinner. I don’t get to see them as much since they moved closer to the city so we occassionally get together for dinner, After numerous attempts at reservations elsewhere I suggested we go to La Mezzeluna. Neither Kedar nor I could come up with any other real alternatives. I managed to get reservations at 7.

When I got there the place was packed and when we left people were waiting in line for a table. I guess the place is more popular than I realised. I guess I have my finger on the pulse of things in Princeton!

I got there right on time and was greeted by someone in chef’s whites. Was he the chef and if he was what was he doing greeting me at the door and taking me to my table?

The restaurant itself is pretty tired looking. They have a couple of tables at the entrance whihc they kept warm with a space heater yesterday. Then they have a bunch of tables down the center of the restaurant which just seem uncomfortable and in the way. I would not want to sit there. They have a bunch of booths along the wall which is where we ended up and that was fine. The place is in serious need of a makeover.

Our waiter was a pretty friendly and helpful chap. He explained the specials and gave us plenty of time to decide. The last time I was here I had ordered the broccoli rabe and sausage special appetizer. It’s one of those things like pork belly for me. If I see it on the menu I order it. Unfortunately it was one of the worst renditions of broccoli rabe and sausage I had ever had. It felt like it had just been thawed. This time though we did well with our appetizers. We shared a crabcake with pesto sauce and portobello mushroon stuffed with sausage. The crab cake was ok, though sauce was good and the mushroom was pretty good. For the main course both Kedar and I went for the night’s special – linguine (and the waiter actually thought he had to explain what linguine was to us. Did we look that clueless? Maybe Kedar but me?) with lobster, scallops, clams, mussels and shrimps in a red sauce. This dish was outstanding. The seafood was fresh, and cooked perfectly. The sauce itself was light and just right. It did not overwhelm the seafood at all. The shrimp was sweet and lobster and scallops were just perfect. Last time I had the pork osso bucco with risotto for my main course. That too was good, but very heavy. The seafood was the way to go this time. For dessert I ordered the tiramisu which too was very good. The place is BYO so I had taken along a really good Australian cabernet sauvignon.

The chef made a reappearance with our check. He dropped it at our table and went off. I wonder if he really was the chef,

I was apprehensive about going to La Mezzeluna with its tired interior and average food from my previous visit but this after last nights experience I’m going back.

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