Elements Asia

Those who enjoy delicious dining and look forward to a memorable day of great tasting Asian-Fusion cuisine should turn to Elements Asia on Mother’s Day. The special Mother’s Day menu will feature creative, full-course meals — soup or salad, appetizer, entree and dessert.

Elements Asia, the newest Asian Fusion restaurant featuring Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine, opened last January. Co-owner Amy Liu credits Elements Asia’s success to the creative chefs: Master Chef Tom Chu and Sushi Chef Kenji Wong. Chu has been Zagat-rated many times during his career. Together with Wong, Chu maintains a very unique, healthy and exciting menu.

“Elements Asia offers the best fusion in the area. Fusion is new to this area, and is very trendy,” said Amy Liu. “We use only fresh ingredients, with less oil and less salt so our customers eat healthier.”

Elements Asia also offers a number of Fusion Sushi Creations. The Kenji Roll consists of spicy tuna and tempura, eel pieces and fresh avocado with a soybean wrap. The heart-shaped tuna, salmon and avocado creation is known as the Sweet Heart Roll. The Sushi Pizza Fiesta is a combination of tomatoes, onions and spicy tuna on a crispy pancake. These are just a few of many unique Sushi Creations.

Entrees are also creative. Popular items include Thai Mango Shrimp, Chilean Sea Bass, Peking Duck, Salmon with Sesame or Black Bean Sauce, Lamb Double Feature, Ribeye Steak with Pineapple, and for Mother’s Day, Lobster Tail.

Elements Asia also offers its customers an exciting dining atmosphere. “The ambiance at Elements Asia is outstanding,” Co-owner Tiffany Liu said, “With its soft wood tones, comfortable seating, and bright atmosphere, the design evokes the city.”

Tiffany Liu also credits Elements Asia’s success to well trained, friendly, and knowledgeable employees. “Customers return for the food and continue to comment on our excellent service,” she said.

Elements Asia is a BYOB that accepts major credit cards. It is handicapped accessible. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Notes Amy Liu: “Fridays and Saturdays are packed,” so reservations are suggested.

Elements Asia. 4110 Quakerbridge Road, Lawrenceville. 609-275-4988, Fax 609- 275-4866.

Ganges Authentic Indian Cuisine

Regular customers and first-timers alike will enjoy the Grand Buffet that Ganges Authentic Indian Cuisine offers on Mother’s Day, May 14.

While Ganges is fine dining — rated “Good” by the prestigious New York Times — the restaurant prides itself on being family-friendly. That will come in handy on Mother’s Day, when the Grand Buffet will be available for only $15.95 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“Our Grand Buffet is a great way for customers to try the many different Indian specialties we offer,” said owner and executive chef Sri Chandupatla. “That includes authentic Hyderbadi food. Hyderabad, where I come from, is a southern region of India. It’s a unique way of cooking using native spices and sauces.”

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 vegetarian and non-vegetarian specialties are available on the Lunch Buffet. At only $8.95 during the week, and $11.95 on weekends, the Lunch Buffet is a great way to sample new and delicious Ganges-exclusive items.

Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., customers can enjoy the Hyderabadi Dinner Buffet for only $13.95. By popular demand, Ganges has added Dum Mutton Biryani on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This delicacy is goat meat cooked in a mix of curry spices and layered with rice. The entire dish is slow-cooked for several hours, infusing it with complex flavors.

“In addition to our regular menu, we have something different every night of the week,” said Chandupatla. “I create three to four new specials every weekend so our regular customers don’t get bored.”

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 two years ago. She has developed a strong customer base because the food is fresh, and is prepared to order each day.

Ganges’ specialties also are available as catering items. “We can handle parties from 50 to 400 people,” noted Chandupatla. “We’ve done many parties and events, and now have several corporate accounts. Our restaurant is available for private parties on the weekends — just call for details.”

Chandupatla is considering offering cooking classes on Mondays when the restaurant is closed. She says many people have asked because of the growing interest in Indian cuisine. She encourages those interested to call the restaurant.

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 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. 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. www.gangesonline.com

La Mezzaluna’s

Straight from Naples, Italy, La Mezzaluna’s owner-chefs are creating authentic Italian dishes in the heart of downtown Princeton. On Sunday, May 14, Mamma will find something special on the menu in honor of Mother’s Day.

La Mezzaluna’s real Italian menu has made an impact on the area dining scene, thanks to owners Mario Capuano and Michael Moriello. These talented chefs met at a fine dining restaurant in Naples and decided to bring their authentic Italian cuisine to the United States.

“I was born and raised in Naples, but I lived and worked all over Italy,” said Capuano who, like Moriello, has deep experience as a chef. “La Mezzaluna’s menu features food representing all of Italy, North to South.”

While Capuano and Moriello now run the business and have turned the cooking over to hand-picked, capable chefs, they still are involved in ingredient selection and menu planning. Capuano is working on the Mother’s Day menu, which will be available from noon to 9 p.m.

If the regular menu is any indication, Mamma will be pleased. La Mezzaluna offers generous portions of fresh, seasonal local ingredients prepared to order in its European-styled dining room. Many items are dramatically prepared table side, such as fresh fish entrees, Seasonal Flambe over House Made Gelato and Bananas Foster.

“What we’re cooking, and the way we’re doing it, attracts people and keeps them coming back,” said Capuano.

The extensive menu includes sumptuous starters such as Pumpkin Ravioli, Tender Baby Portabella Mushrooms stuffed with lump crab and spinach in a scampi sauce, Fresh Mozzarella with plum tomatoes and a balsamic reduction, and a Grape Tomatoes and Organic Greens Salad. Entrees (Primi and Secondi) feature an enormous Veal Chop, Pork Tenderloin in a mushroom ragout over wild rice, Hazelnut and Walnut Encrusted Rack of Lamb over whipped garlic potatoes, Free Range Chicken Breast, and Prime Aged New York Strip. In addition to the Flambe, desserts delights include Tiramisu; Sugar-Dusted, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Ricotta Fritters; and Buffalo Ricotta Cheesecake.

While the menu itself is enticing, Capuano says the staff deserves “all the credit” for the ambiance and atmosphere.

“Our staff is made up of nice people,” he said. “They are good listeners, and provide great service. Our customers always compliment the staff.”

La Mezzaluna is open seven days for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. The restaurant is BYOB.

La Mezzaluna, 25 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. 609-688-8515. Fax: 609-688-8518. www.lamezzaluna.com

Sunny Garden

Local families have been treating moms and grandmoms to the Deluxe Mother’s Day Buffet at Sunny Garden for more than a decade. It’s a family tradition.

“We’re always pleased to see the same customers each year at Mother’s Day,” said Yu-Lien Yen, owner of Sunny Garden. “You’ll find plenty of good food from the East and West. There’s a pleasant ambiance, and no waiting or rush while enjoying food and sharing happiness on the very important Mother’s Day. And for our patrons’ comfort and enjoyment, Sunny Garden also recently underwent major renovations, including new design, tableware, artworks and beautiful gardens.”

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 Pumpkin Soup and Cream of Mushroom Soup; salad selections like Poached Vegetables in Oil & Vinegar and Seafood Seviche; dim-sum delights such as Spicy Sichuan Wonton and Pan Fried Meat Dumpling; cold and hot appetizers including Chicken & Green Apples in Mayo and Roasted Rib Eye Steak; traditional and creative sushi such as Rainbow Dragon Roll and Spicy Tuna Roll; exciting entrees like Stuffed Eggplant in Garlic Sauce and Creaky Chicken; and fine Western desserts like Italian Gelato, homemade rainbow Jell-O, Lemon Cookie and Strawberry Puff.

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. It’s no surprise the Deluxe Mother’s Day Buffet sells out quickly. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

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 Shanghai Braised Tofu with Fresh Water Chestnuts, Cranberry Fried Rice, Miso Tuna and Cranberry Teriyaki Red Snapper. In addition, Sunny Garden has replaced coconut milk with healthy organic soy milk in some Thai curry dishes.

“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.”

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 stated. “But, we’re family-friendly, too, 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 explained. 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, N.J. (609) 520-1881, (609) 520-8998. www.sunnygarden.net

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