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Valentine’s Day

February 24, 2008

This first real post comes a bit late. Last Thursday was Valentine’s Day, and the first Feb. 14th that we spent in the same country. To celebrate, we went out to dinner at Underground Cafe and Restaurant in downtown Princeton. We had made reservations for 6:30 p.m. a few weeks beforehand, but they called us that afternoon to ask if we could come in at 6 or 7:30 instead.

Obviously, they had overbooked themselves and somehow decided that the first people to make reservations were last on their priority list. But we didn’t really mind, since they have great food and I wasn’t the least bit hungry when I got home from work, so we opted for 7:30.

Decor: Arriving a few minutes late, we’re seated towards the back of the restaurant. This is the first time we’ve been back there, and it’s a bit weird, since we’re always seated in the front, but it’s still quite nice. The tables are glass, and have a layer of shattered glass pressed between two regular sheets, creating a pretty cool effect. The lighting is low and trendy as always, and for Valentine’s Day, they’ve added little red “I love you” heart balloons at every table. The shape of the restaurant is a bit unusual, probably since it’s in a basement, and walking to and from the back is a little uncomfortable, but it’s worth it as the price of admission.

Food: The bread is served with the same delicious oil and spices they always have, and we eat it all way too quickly. Then we share a dish of spicy chicken soup (meaning I have two spoonfuls), which is good but nothing special. That all changes for the main course, though. He gets chicken sofia, with some of the best vegetables either of us has ever had, and pretty good chicken too. I get beef shish kebab, served the classy way, with big skewers hanging straight down. Easily the best I’ve had in the US, and surprisingly filling with the included rice, white sauce, and skewered onions, green peppers, and squash. For dessert we split the milk pie, which isn’t quite as delicious as usual, but that’s probably because of all the shish kebab I ate.

Homophobia: I was a bit nervous when we were seated across from a group of college-age kids who were pretty boisterous. They didn’t look like they’d have any trouble speaking their mind, but they never said a word to us, and I didn’t even notice them staring at us. The young couple near us was pretty much in their own little world, and the older couple with kids just smiled when we grinned at their kids’ antics. Our waitress was very busy but unfailingly nice to us, and she set the check in the middle of the table, as any smart waiter should. (We’ve decided that whoever gets the check is “the man” for the evening, whatever that means.)

The verdict?: Thumbs up! Great food at a reasonable price for a nice restaurant, and no noticeable homophobia to boot! I’m not a big drinker, so the lack of a liquor license doesn’t bother me. Really, there’s no reason not to go!

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