Triple threat: taking italian food to another level

I know at least one person was inspired by my Valentine’s Day food review: my boyfriend. To celebrate our love and our love of food, we ventured to The Princeton Forrestal Village in search of Tre Piani. After a few roundabouts of the restaurant (some signs will keep pointing you in the wrong direction) we found our “glorious” – to borrow my boyfriend’s words – destination.

According to, Tre Piani has been in business since 1998. The literature reveals its goal of aiming to be the finest dining and banquet facility the area has to offer.

The restaurant is all about the best quality food, service and ingredients. It works with local farmers and fishermen to make sure that the food is always fresh. There is also an award-winning wine list with over 75 selections and a full bar that stocks all of your favorite beers, spirits, port wines, scotch and cordials.

Tre Piani means “three floors” in Italian. When I walked into the restaurant, I was awed by the high ceilings, fresh, vibrant plants, the multi-level structure and the warm, comforting light. I entered on the first floor, which has an outdoor patio area. We obviously did not get to use it, but we plan to in the summer season.

The second floor hosts a fine dining room. The third floor seats up to 100 guests for all types of parties. Definitely keep this destination in mind for lavish graduation festivities.

The restaurant offers a lunch menu Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. In the evenings, its dinner menu is available Monday through Friday from 5-9:30 p.m.; on Saturday and Sunday it’s open until 10 p.m. The restaurant is available on Sundays for private functions.

With all this information in hand, we found the food as titillating as described and the service outstanding. We noticed that the atmosphere was quirky as we were seated at a row of two-person tables. The guy on our right started dancing and singing Will Smith to his date. Yes, this really happened. If seated here, be prepared for a variety of neighbors to accompany your date. I happened to love it.

We started off our meal with Gnudi di Vitello, a dish of veal and spinach meatballs. The meatballs were semi-stuffed, the outer layer crafted more from spinach and the inner layer containing the soft veal meat. The meatballs were in a brown butter with sage.

My main course consisted of rigatoni with filet mignon tips and gorgonzola cheese. This course is a cheaper option at $23, compared to the $37 for the full filet mignon, and offered a generous portion of steak. The tender meat, paired with the robust taste of the cheese, was an explosion of flavor and texture.

We shared our final course, a triple chocolate cake. This little bit of glee literally looked like a giant chocolate candy decorated with furls of chocolate and surrounded by a pool of deep chocolatey goodness! When cut, there was a thicker chocolate layer in the middle and then two layers of smooth and creamy chocolate. This may have become my new favorite dessert.

It seems like good things come in threes in this restaurant: three floors of entertainment, three enchanting courses and three layers of chocolate to seal a wonderful night. Tre Piani is an upscale choice for a lunch out on the town or a beautiful night at dinner. Reservations can be made over the phone or online.

A quick visit to its Web site can also lead to some free food; Tre Piani offers a free antipasti for the table with the purchase of one entr?e per person if you successfully complete the crossword puzzle found at Buon appetito!

Tre Piani

120 Rockingham Row

Princeton, NJ

Reservations: (609) 452-1515