Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Located in Princeton University’s new Arts and Transit neighborhood and across from The McCarter Theatre Center for the Performing Arts, Cargot Brasserie is a French inspired restaurant that opened in July 2017. We got invited there last week for lunch, an occasion to go to Princeton not just for that, but also to visit one of our friends, Livia.
You may think the name is French, but it is made up as they explain on their website:
"The name Cargot honors the fact that the building was used as the cargo hold for the train station, while playfully referencing the iconic French dish (escargot) in a made-up word. The 100-year old stone building was restored and expanded in 2017 as part of the University’s Arts and Transit Neighborhood".
Surely, the place is beautiful: they kept the structure of the old building and transformed the interior, mixing old and new perfectly, and it is quite bright benefitting from the large windows.
Food wise, looking at their menu, they have adapted French classic dishes, offering a somewhat different menu for lunch and dinner (escargot for dinner only unfortunately...for me!), with a wide range to appeal to a broader audience, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. This is what we tried:
I first started by ordering a cocktail: a Vieux Carré made with rye, vermouth, benedictine and bitters. Well made, this announced a good start!
For appetizers, we had the watercress and radicchio salad that had blue cheese, walnuts and pear.
But the best was the mushroom tatin, that was a puff pasty, with caramelized onions and mushrooms, topped by raclette cheese and frisée salad. I loved it: original, it was delightfully sweet, and had lots of cheese on top.
For her entrée, Jodi chose the Croque Monseigneur, that is their take on the classic croque Monsieur. It is made with brie, avocado and tomato. This was really good: crunchy with lots of cheese inside.
But the best entrée was for me the duck confit that was served with a stew called la garbure (made with cabbage and other vegetables), pancetta and brussels sprouts. That duck was so good! The skin was slightly crispy and deliciously fatty, with the meat being not too salty.
Last was dessert. We opted for their apple tart, served with a creme fraiche ice cream.
And the chocolate tart, made with a dark and milk chocolate ganache, and served with a pistachio ice cream.
The chocolate tart was sublime: very chocolatey, dense, it is the perfect dessert if you are a chocolate lover. The apple tart was good, but not as good as that dessert.
We finished the day with a necessary walk after such a feast, glad that we could try Cargot Brasserie. If you are in the Princeton area, it is a very good address to know.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Cargot Brasserie - 98 University Place, Princeton, NJ 08540