I have no idea why it took me so long to eat here. It took me four years of living in Jersey just a few miles away from here, and a friend from NY inviting me to go, before I even set foot in the place. I had seen their menu outside and I had seen a glimpse of it from the Nassau Inn lobby when my friend and I had gone in to use the restroom months ago. Back then I had this image of a very stuffy, dark mahogany wooded, cigar room filled with old alums of Princeton University.
It definitely wasn't as dark as I thought, and was actually brighter than it should be. It definitely wasn't stuffy, and though there was wood, it wasn't the kind you'd find inside any professor's office. Actually the tables in the booths were all etched out in narcissistic and juvenile carvings that judging by the tables you'd think you were at PJ's Pancakes. On the side, there were some little appliques announcing that John Doe proposed to Jane Doe on such and such date at this very booth. Actually the scene at the bar was more like something out of Cheers than anything else, and there was only one sighting of a snooty-looking Princetonian dining a few tables away from us.
Side note: in Staten Island, they wear their hair like lion manes; in Princeton, they are like poodles.
We asked our very loopy waitress what they had on tap, and she could not even remember what the specials were, so how did we expect her to recite all the 16 beers they had? We ended up getting old standbys like Stella Artois and Chimay, despite her suggestions. Plus she mangled the specials so badly that we ended up ordering from the menu instead, though one of them sounded intriguing. We started off with some hummus and our friends ordered a burger and the cranberry & chicken salad, while my husband and I shared a steak salad and the herb crusted tilapia which stole the show for me.
I loved, loved, loved the tilapia sitting on top of asparagus and wild rice, soaked in citrus butter. Maybe because it reminded me of the fish course at our wedding, it was like eating my memories?