Cozy Princeton Grill serves posh dishes

Even though I was only in Princeton, the Salt Creek Grille has a metropolitan atmosphere. The outside has small wicker coves next to burning, two-sided fireplaces. Inside, the bar is the centerpiece of the room with floor-to-ceiling shelves. Decorative bottles gleam from the soft, golden lighting. My dining companions and I were seated on the lower level of the rustic-chic space. The noise level in the room was a bit high, but fine for a group intending to catch up on the past summer.

Yum! The tuna and avocado dish is delicious and artistic. (saltcreekgrille.com)

We started the evening off with the ahi tuna stack appetizer for $19. The dish was decoratively surrounded by four sets of chopsticks. The beautiful piece of food-art had alternating layers of fresh, sashimi-style tuna and avocado. The fish was exceptional. The combination of tuna and avocado provided smooth and refreshing textures.

The next course was the bread. We had to wait a little longer than normal for our bread to arrive because it was still in the oven. After a genuine apology from our waiter, it arrived and we discovered it was well worth our wait. The Salt Creek Grille’s unique bread was a round loaf cut into wedges. Baked in the center was asiago cheese and garlic butter. The cheese was warm and easy to spread on each wedge of moist bread.

For my meal, I had the pear and warm goat cheese salad. For $14 it was a good value. The salad’s size was tremendous (I couldn’t even finish it) and it was spectacularly presented. On top of the baby greens were tomatoes, candied walnuts, pears and four warm, flakey phyllo-wrapped goat cheese triangles. I wasn’t sure what the proper technique was for tackling phyllo-wrapped anything, but I chose to break up the pieces and eat them with my greens. The warm savory cheese, cool greens and tangy sherry vinaigrette were an unexpected yet well-wedded combination.

On a very full stomach, I ended my meal with a hot cappuccino. It was delicious. Compared to the coffee at Eick, the white mug was filled with bliss.

Salt Creek Grille is the place to go for a special occasion. Although the entrée prices are a bit above broke-college kid, the burgers, salads and sandwiches are just right.