Elements Asia

Ganges Authentic Indian Cuisine

Mehek Indian Restaurant

Sunny Garden

More Dining Options

Corrections or additions?

These advertorials were prepared for the May 4,

2005 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Dining Around

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Elements Asia

Haute cuisine meets Asian elegance

‘We wanted to create a restaurant that was totally different from the

traditional Chinese restaurant," says Tiffany Chu, co-owner of

Elements Asia with her husband and chef, Tom Chu, and her sister, Amy

Liu. "We want people to know that Asian food can be both delicious

and healthy. We try to bring a little bit more contemporary Asian

food to our menu."

The menu, which spans the foods of China, Japan, and Thailand,

features many contemporary dishes – Asian-Style Pumpkin Soup with

Shitake Mushrooms, Stuffed Eggplant and Shrimp, Thai Mango Shrimp,

Grand Marnier Shrimp, Taiwanese Pot Stickers with Pork and Shrimp

Filling, Grilled Rack of Lamb, Chicken and Shrimp Bahamas, Ribeye

Steak with Pineapple, and Stuffed Shitake Mushrooms with Crabmeat.

All of these dishes – called "Creations" on the menu – are the

invention of chef Tom Chu, a native of Taiwan who majored in art in

college and then came to America 25 years ago. Not long after coming

to the United States he returned to Taiwan to go to cooking school,

then came back to open highly-successful restaurants first in

Westport, Connecticut, and then in New Jersey, including Seafood

Empire, now seven years old, in North Brunswick, which has earned a 25

in the Zagat’s Guide since 2003. (After earning an MBA at Central

State University in Oklahoma, Tiffany wanted to be near New York, and

spent a summer as a hostess in Tom’s Westport restaurant. That’s how

the two met. They are married, have lived in West Windsor for 10

years, and have a 15-year-old daughter.)

"Our food is tasty, light, and healthy," says Tiffany. "We use only

fresh ingredients." The restaurant gets all its mushrooms from a farm

in Pennsylvania,

and its fish and meat from Chinatown in New York. What you think

looks like a lovely aquarium set into the back wall of the

restaurant is really home to striped bass, crab, and lobster, living

in the aquariums’ divided sections. The chef simply plucks your order

right out of the water. They use low-sodium soy sauce and no MSG.

In many ways, Elements Asia is the perfect marriage of elegant design

and fine food – thanks to Tom’s art school background and extensive

restaurant experience. Tom designed the interior – as well as the

menu and the elegant, creative presentation of the dishes on classic

white square Asian plates. The decor is "transitional," striking just

the right balance between traditional and contemporary with a palette

of rich, warm woods – the tables are maple, the chairs beech wood;

elegant, comforting colors on the walls, including Princeton Gold; a

long, high banquette against one wall upholstered

in warm red and gold, richly-textured fabric; a charming collection

of tiny Chinese teapots set into the open square nooks in a dividing

wall; and cool blue textured slate against the back wall of the sushi


If the true indicator of a well-designed restaurant is the bathroom,

then Elements Asia hits the mark: the sinks, imported from China, are

modular in design, and fashioned from clear tempered glass. "One

person from the table goes to the bathroom, then everyone at the

table goes," says Tiffany, adding that she has received so many

inquiries about the sinks from customers who are architects and

interior designers that she is now representing the Chinese

manufacturer here (she has already sold several).

"Customers don’t want to leave," says Tiffany of the restaurant’s

welcoming, special ambience. "They feel so comfortable here." The

music is subtle and calming, present yet not intrusive. "I call it

medication music," says Tiffany. "Many of our customers have said,

‘Thank you for opening this restaurant for us.’"

Elements Asia, 4110 Quaker Bridge Road, Lawrenceville. 609-275-4988;


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Ganges Authentic Indian Cuisine

New twist on Indian food: Hyderabadi specialties

Chefs who hail from various regions of India have come together at

Ganges Authentic Indian Cuisine to offer unique food, including the

"royal" Hyderabadi specialties.

"Hyderabad is a southern region of India," says owner and executive

chef Sri Chandupatla, who comes from that area. "It’s a unique way of

cooking using spices and sauces from Hyderabad."

Those who enjoy "traditional" Indian cuisine tend to be familiar with

dishes such as Masala and Paneer. Hyderabadi puts another twist on

Indian food with the use of tamarind, sesame, and other exotic spices.

Chandupatla decided to open Ganges based on her passion for cooking.

Armed with her mother’s authentic recipes and a talent for cooking,

Chandupatla created Ganges one year ago. She is at the restaurant "90

percent of the time," and supervises every aspect of the business,

from the chefs to the decor.

Ganges enjoys a strong customer base. These "regulars" know that

Ganges’ chefs will prepare orders to suit their tastes, even if that

means preparing a signature dish with mild spices. "Everything is very

fresh, and made to order each day," said Chandupatla. Besides the

extensive menu, Ganges also offers weekend specials.

Among Ganges’ more popular dishes are Mirchi Bhajji, peppers stuffed

with tamarind sauce and spices; Bhagara Baigan, oven baked eggplant

cooked in a special sauce of tamarind and sesame seeds; and, of

course, Chicken Hyderabadi, marinated chicken in a spicy curry sauce.

Ganges provides diners with vegetarian choices, as well.

While Ganges is fine dining – rated "Good" by the prestigious New York

Times – Chandupatla emphasizes that the restaurant is family-friendly.

That will come in handy on Mother’s Day, when Ganges is featuring a

Grand Buffet. On Sunday, May 8, Ganges Grand Buffet for Mother’s Day

will be available for only $15.95 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

But Mother’s Day isn’t the only time the buffet lover can enjoy

Ganges. Each Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., a wide range

of Indian specialties is available on the lunch buffet. At only $8.95

during the week, and $11.95 on weekends, the bunch buffet is a great

way to sample new and exciting Indian cuisine.

Thursdays from 5:30 to 10 p.m., customers can enjoy the Southern

Indian and Hyderabadi Dinner Buffet for only $13.95. And those who

like a bit more ambiance can enjoy light classical music one night per

month (usually the second Friday).

Ganges’ specialties are available as catering items, as well. "We can

handle parties from 50 to 400 people," notes Chandupatla. "We’ve done

many parties and events in our first year, and expect to do more as

the popularity of this cuisine grows."

Ganges Authentic Indian Cuisine is open for lunch Tuesday to Friday

from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.;

for dinner Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m., and

Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 11 p.m.; and is closed on Monday.

Ganges Authentic Indian Cuisine, 33 Princeton-Hightstown Road,

Princeton Junction, 609-750-1550. Fax: 609-750-1540.


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Mehek Indian Restaurant

The owners of this cozy Nassau Street eatery are plan special events

One of the bets we had made in the dining issue of U.S. 1 last fall

about Mehek, the then newly opened Indian restaurant, was that "no

matter how many times one visits this restaurant, it is never the

same, discovery just gets better." Well, we continue to maintain that

as Méhék comes of age and surges ahead to bring Indian food "just as

to be had only in India" to Princeton.

As the restaurant taps into its seventh month, patrons from Princeton,

Montgomery, West Windsor, Lawrenceville, and South Brunswick, as well

as other neighboring towns are consistently being delighted. Méhék has

come to be well known for its creative yet fresh and healthy offerings

and it is attracting connoisseurs from as far as Westchester, NY, who

visit on regular basis hoping that Méhék might, one day, open

operations in their own beautiful town.

Diners have adopted frequent caterings in their homes, offices, and

university departments on top of their routine dining experiences at

Méhék. "Méhék Catering is a delight, (anyone) interested in the most

healthful food experience must try their dining and catering" was

quoted by one of the regulars at Méhék. The most enchanting thing is

that they can bring Tandoor, the clay oven, to your premises to

prepare fresh breads and kabaabs in front of your eyes to delight your


One of the owners, Sunita Midha, has just returned from a trip to some

of the best health resorts in India and the east. She had gone there

on an intense culinary training tour and got involved in the

Maharaja-styled labyrinth kitchens at a few of the 5-star resorts.

Sunita explains that she got trained under the head chef at Ananda Spa

Resort in the Himalayas, where the most healthful Indian food is

served to customers. She can’t wait to introduce guests to some of

that magical mouth watering treat. Ananda, www.anandaspa.com, was

named the best Spa resort in the world by Condé Nast magazine in 2003.

Méhék has recently been adding numerous vegetarian and non-vegetarian

kabaabs and tapas-like items to its repertoire of fresh, aromatic, and

sumptuous dishes that have never been enjoyed before at any of the

myriads of Indian restaurants in North America. Kabaab-Mahan (Great

Kabaab) was the talk of the guests during one of recently organized

nights. Delighted and encouraged by the success of these innovative

items, the owners are about to start Wednesday Kabaab night, when many

vegetarian and non-vegetarian specials will be made available on large

round griddle-like servers in all-you-can eat offerings.

Backed by the popular demand, Méhék recently switched its platter

driven lunch style to a lunch buffet with weekend grand buffet being

another notch higher. "We look forward to adding to the delight of

even more diners," Seema Chopra, the co-owner predicts. The owners are

also proud of the fact that they have already secured the trust of

more than 500 regulars who have chosen to make the takeout section

their address.

Their recent sponsorship of Ravi Shankar’s concert and Balinese night

at Princeton’s McCarter Theater introduced hundreds of theatergoers to

Méhék’s mouth watering finger food and Biryanis. Méhék has also

continued with its tradition of holding events on noble topics like

Yoga, Meditation, Rebirthing, and fascinating live Sitar music, and

the owners are intent on bringing more events to their cozy but

bustling quirky family oriented eatery.

Méhék Fine Indian Dining, 164 Nassau Street, Princeton. 609-279-9191.

Website: www.mehek.us.

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Sunny Garden

Moms keep coming back for Mother’s Day Buffet

For the past decade, local families have been treating moms and

grandmoms to the Deluxe Mother’s Day Buffet at Sunny Garden.

"We see the same customers, year after year, at our Deluxe Mother’s

Day Buffet," said Yu-Lien Yen, owner of Sunny Garden. "It’s so

popular, that reservations are strongly encouraged, as we sell out

rather quickly."

Yen calls the feast "no ordinary buffet. We do it once a year, and do

it right." A wide variety of Chinese cuisine is available, including

Seafood & Asparagus Soup and South Asian Pumpkin Soup; dozens of

salads, dim-sum, cold and hot appetizers; traditional and creative

sushi such as Dragon Roll, Crispy White Tuna Roll, and Roasted Pepper

Roll; and fine Western desserts like Italian Gelato, homemade rainbow

Jell-O, lemon cookie, almond tulles, and crepe.

Sunny Garden has been serving creative Chinese cuisine, Thai

specialties and superb sushi for 17 years. The restaurant relocated to

a "quiet haven just off Route 1 in Princeton" 11 years ago, and takes

pride in the "delightful" views of the garden afforded to every diner.

According to Yen, "We bring you the finest and freshest ingredients

and expertly prepare them to your taste," Rated "Very Good" by the New

York Times, Sunny Garden is a constant on the Zagat ratings.

"Sunny Garden offers a variety of sushi, cooked or raw. Our sushi has

been rated as the best in the area," Yen said "We like to take fresh

ingredients, prepare them skillfully and develop new items for our

customers. Our sushi chefs not only make good traditional sushi like

Dragon Roll, but also create delicious and beautiful sushi such as

Torch Seared Toro Steak with Sweet Wasabi, Seared Salmon Rolled with

Mango in Citron Soy, Eggplant Roll and Tuna Sashimi in Garlic Soy."

Sunny Garden patrons also will find a heavy dose of creativity on the

regular Chinese menu. Each month, chefs create signature specials to

delight guests. Yen noted that recent monthly specials have included

Eggplant Dumplings, Eggplant Stuffed with Shrimp, Grand Marnier

Shrimp, Oolong Tea Smoked Duck, and Cumin Lamb.

While Sunny Garden is considered fine dining, the restaurant is known

for its pleasant atmosphere and friendly staff. "The attentive service

in elegant dining rooms provides the quiet ambiance our guests truly

enjoy," Yen states. "But we are also family-friendly, and very

reasonably priced."

Catering is another Sunny Garden specialty. "We can handle offsite

parties, or entertain in our private room, which holds up to 60 people

comfortably," Yen explains. His staff works with each client –

corporations, families, individuals – to develop a customized menu.

Sunny Garden is a handicapped accessible, non-smoking facility. Guests

are invited to BYOB (wine or beer). Those who can’t wait can check it

out at www.sunnygarden.net.

Sunny Garden, 15 Farber Road, Princeton, 609-520-1881. Fax,

609-520-8998. www.sunnygarden.net

Top Of Page
More Dining Options

Blue Point Grill, 258 Nassau Street, Princeton. Seafood restaurant

with 20 to 25 fresh specials daily.


Holiday Inn Princeton, 100 Independence Way, Princeton. Full service

hotel withCafe Nicole restaurant.


Ichiban, 66 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. Japanese cuisine and sushi,

catering and party trays, open 7 days.


Independence Cafe & Catering, 3 Independence Way, Princeton. Corporate

catering and food service management.


Java Moon Cafe, 4110 Quakerbridge Road, Quakerbridge Village Commons,

Lawrenceville. Open seven days for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Kalluri Corner, 235A Nassau Street, Princeton. Fine Indian dining,

lunch and dinner buffets.


Lahiere’s, 5 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. Contemporary American and

European cuisine in an intimate atmosphere.


Main Street Bistro & Bar, 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton

Shopping Center. Custom-catered luncheons, dinners, and receptions,

with inhouse dining room and bar area.

609-921-2779 or 609-921-2777.

Palace of Asia, 540 Quakerbridge Road, Lawrence Square Boulevard

South, Lawrenceville. Fine Indian cuisine.


Sahara Restaurant, 1325 Route 206, Montgomery Center, Skillman. Middle

eastern food.


Shogun 27, 3376 Route 27, Kendall Park. Sushi bar and Hibachi room.


Sunflower House, 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton Shopping Center.

Vegetarian restaurant with Taiwanese cuisine, open Monday to Saturday.


Teriyaki Boy, 3535 Route 1, MarketFair, Princeton. Japanese food

including sushi, open daily for lunch and dinner.


Teriyaki Boy, 15 Market Hall, Princeton Forrestal Village. Japanese

food including sushi, open daily for lunch and dinner.


Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, 201 Village Boulevard,

Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton 08540. Hotel with 294 rooms,

indoor pool, ballroom for up to 1,600 guests, and gourmet

restaurants. 609-452-7900.

Whitlock Tavern, 375 Georges Road, Dayton. Serving lunch from 11 a.m.

to 4 p.m.; dinner 5 to 9 p.m.; late night menu; also space for private



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