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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Birthday Dinner at Elements

When you are stuck in New Jersey and are not willing to muster the effort to trek all the way out to the city (NYC of course), do not panic! The past few years the restaurant scene in New Jersey has really became excellent. One of the reasons this is so is because Elements opened in 2008.

Its seemed fitting that for my birthday I would enjoy a fabulous meal at a groundbreaking restaurant, Elements. Stepping out onto the parking lot I could not help but notice the beautiful herbs, vegetables, and fruits sprouting up. The fact that Elements grows some of their own produce shows how passionate and devoted the staff are.

The amouse bouche for the evening consisted of a trio of bites. Eating from left to right the flavors voyaged from a subtle vegetable soup to a robust goat cheese mousse. The soup's texture was opulent, but it's flavor was somewhat bland. A touch of salt and acid could have made the soup more enjoyable. Secondly, a simply cooked maitake mushroom was seasoned to perfection and very tasty indeed. Lastly, the final bite was my favorite - rich, tangy, and fresh.

Vegetable Soup, Roasted Maitake Mushrooms, Goat Cheese Mousse with  Cranberry

After the delicious "bites" our first courses shortly arrived. A perfectly cooked pheasant egg had a bright orange yolk that oozed all over the plate when cut into. The addition of the gluttonous lardo was transcendent. Fresh asparagus and pickled yellow pepper brought brightness to this masterful plate of food.

Pheasant Egg with Lardo, Asparagus, Aji Amarillo

After the great high of the first course, I was hoping for the bliss to continue and my first couple bites did. Unfortunately, I bit into a mushroom that was filled with grit that upset the mood. This was very displeasing because besides the gritty mushrooms the dish was wondrous. The scallops were cooked better than I have ever had, and the tart apple was the perfect accompaniment.

Scallops with Apple, Mushroom, Bok Choy

Once all the savory courses were finished and our plates were cleared, our desserts arrived. The sour lemon flavor went well with the sweet meringue. I also enjoyed the various textures that excited my palate. This was a refreshing and clean end to a very satisfying meal.

Lemon Tart with Meringue, Sable, Sorbet

Service was genial and very attentive to our needs. I have to give a shout out to my friend Sam, who was the runner for our meal. I worked with him for over a year and a half at Uproot before he left for Elements.

I want to thank Chef Scott Anderson and the rest of the staff for a delightful and pleasing meal.

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