Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beyond the Wa: Witherspoon Grill

Witherspoon Grill seemed like a cheery quintessentially Princeton establishment, with patrons chatting or looking comfortable as they lunched on traditional American fare outside on the public square. Thus I determined it’d be a terrific place to bring my cousins, aunt, and uncle for lunch when they visited this past weekend. The rain shattered any ideas of having lunch outside under the sun. It also contributed to the dim lighting inside which didn’t match the late brunch atmosphere. But on to the food:

I ordered the crab cake with chopped salad from the lunch menu. The presentation was weak: the plate had a washed out appearance. The chopped salad was nothing more than glorified coleslaw—slightly larger pieces of lettuce, carrot, and cucumber lathered in a light cream sauce. The crab cake had crispy browned edges and was appropriately flakey (all seafood is bought fresh from the Nassau Street Seafood). However I could barely discern the taste of the crab under the salty mayo mixture that held it together. The side sauce, a sort of tartar sauce, lent a bit more dimensionality to the test, but I found the meal disappointing.

My aunt and uncle each ordered a mushroom omelet and one of my cousins ordered a hamburger. Again, Witherspoon Grill delivered traditional, bordering on bland, items. My youngest cousin got the best plate by far—homemade macaroni and cheese baked with breadcrumbs on top. Unfortunately, you have to be under 12 for that dish. The portions are refreshingly reasonable—you’ll leave full, but not have leftovers.
Dessert however, is worthwhile. My other cousin and I each ordered vanilla caramel ice cream, which Witherspoon Grill gets from Bent Spoon. The presentation was sleek, but the ice cream lacked the freshness of Bent Spoon ice cream straight from the Palmer Square shop. What Witherspoon Grill finally gets right is the ‘Warm Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cake.’ The warmed Lindt peanut butter gushes from the center as you break into it, and the chocolate cake, high quality peanut butter, and vanilla ice cream complement each other perfectly.

If you’re interested in traditional American fare, fresh food, and don’t want many frills or surprises, Witherspoon Grill is for you. If you’re interested in creative, flavorful food, take your patronage elsewhere.


Tasnim Shamma '11 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Great job there, buddy. Solid review of a place you had to go to anyway, and couldn't bother to take pictures with a real camera. What's that, your iphone?
Your just reviewing a place without any real palate sophistication but pretending you have it. The only thing you ever approve of in your reviews are the deserts, which just means you have a sweet tooth. I'm sure the Witherspoon Grill takes your opinions to heart.

Stop doing these things, its just embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

I've dined at Witherspoon Grill a number of times, and I found the review to be spot on, perhaps charitable. It's a pleasant enough place, but the food borders on mediocre. For the prices they charge, the food should be much better. Perhaps the next time, I'll have dessert. No, make that a short walk to Halo Pub.