One 53, Rocky Hill, NJ – A Review

by artfuldiner on April 25, 2018

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Breaking News, New Jersey, Review, Wining and Dining

One 53

153 Washington Street

Rocky Hill, New Jersey

(609) 921-1053

Returning after a long absence to a restaurant upon which a food writer has previously bestowed a glowing review is always an interesting and, occasionally, a disappointing experience… One never quite knows what to expect. A recent revisitation to One 53 after a nearly eleven-year hiatus, however, proved both delightfully pleasant and gastronomically rewarding.

One 53 - InteriorThe restaurant’s interior, accented with modern lighting and bare tables adorned with crisp white napkins, remains quintessential bistro. And, in true bistro fashion, accommodations along the side wall banquette are in particularly close proximity, adding to the feeling of esprit de corps.

The menu, created by proprietors Caron Wendell & Joseph McLaughlin and supplemented and beautifully executed by executive chef Juan Mercado, begins with an assortment of breads and a garlicky white bean hummus that is every bit as irresistible as it was over a decade ago.

One 53 - Chicken Liver PateApril special starters include Lentil & Garlic Sausage Soup, Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Truffle Deviled Eggs and Cod Fritters; as well menu staples such as Mussels in Tomato or White Wine Broth, Escargots en Croute and Seared Foie Gras. My nod for table favorite, however, clearly goes to the decadently rich and silky-smooth Chicken Liver Pate with Bacon-Onion Jam. Slathered extravagantly on rustic toasts, these enticing little gems prove to be the perfect prelude for the good things to come.

One 53 - Spinach LasagnaEntrées are neatly divided into Pasta, Grill, and Cooktop categories. All the pastas, it should be noted, are made fresh daily at Lucy’s Kitchen & Market in Princeton. Recently sampled, for example, was the eye-catching Spinach Lasagna, a luscious combo incorporating spinach, mozzarella, and a fabulous tomato sauce. Unfortunately, this item does not appear on the April menu; but, hopefully, it will put in another guest appearance in the very near future. In the meantime, diners may revel in dishes like Mint Ravioli with Spicy Lamb Sausage Ragù and Tortellini with Peas & House-Made Sausage in Parmesan Cream Sauce.

One 53 - FlounderIn the Cooktop category, the Sautéed Flounder is a first-class effort. The golden-brown filet arrives pillowed on an island of perfectly sautéed spinach surrounded by a sumptuous sea of lemon-butter sauce. This is classic bistro fare at its very best… simple but not simplistic; as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.

One 53 - Brussels Sprouts w BaconThe kitchen also turns out some nifty side dishes. Headlining the possibilities are the addictive Hand-Cut French Fries with House Truffle Mayo and rich and creamy Mac and Cheese. When they are seasonally available, however, nothing quite tops the extraordinarily tasty Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.

One 53 - Choc Chip Cookie w Vanilla Ice CreamAnd speaking of extraordinary… while dessert choices vary, the Chocolate Chip Cookie with Vanilla Ice Cream, which is more than suitable for sharing, is something of a must… ditto a look-see at the interesting wine list. There are a number of excellent – and somewhat pricy – vintages to be had here. The recently sampled 2013 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, for example, is absolutely spectacular. And if you happen to dine on Tuesday or Wednesday evening, the restaurant will deduct a hefty 25% from the price tag.

One 53 remains one of my all-time favorite bistros… the perfect restaurant for every occasion. And, even after a decade-long absence, I felt at home the moment I crossed the threshold. If you should find yourself anywhere in the Princeton area, be sure to pay a call. Highly recommended on all counts.

Bon Appétit!


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