Two Sevens: Central & South American Favorites in Princeton, New Jersey

As you step into the simple dining room with its open kitchen and streamlined décor, you wonder what Two Sevens restaurant serves. You ask yourself is it Mexican? Is it Peruvian? Yes, to both, as well as cuisine inspired by Chile, Columbia, and El Salvador. The plates are meant to be shared tapas), and they arrive from the kitchen fresh and hot as soon as they are ready. The bar serves favorites like Margaritas or Mojitos, but also offers inventive cocktails like the Chipotle Cooler, a mix of bourbon, liquor 43, lime, chipotle infusion, and Malbec. The non-alcoholic beverages are just as refreshing as there are Jarritos (a favorite Mexican soda), house-made horchata, and agua-frescas on the menu. If you are not sure what an ingredient is, check the glossary that is provided – just in case you need it.

Location: Two Sevens- located at 277 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, New Jersey.

Menu: The menu is broken down into small plates like guacamole, ceviche, empanadas, or octopus tostadas. There are several variations of tacos, salads, and arepas (corn cakes with toppings) and larger plates like the half-rotisserie chicken with rice, beans, and tortillas, steak, or grilled swordfish. All the dishes are meant to be shared so that the experience is more interactive. They have a small selection of sides that include tostones, papas bravas, or crispy brussel sprouts to round out your meal.

Thoughts: Two Sevens is casual and fun. In fact, the motto on the restaurant wall invites patrons to, “meet, eat, and repeat.” The menu concept is a modern take on Latin food, and this spin is really delicious. There are plenty of choices for vegetarians, and there are a few vegan selections. If you enjoy the vibrant flavors of Central and South American cuisine, you will love the menu. My friend and I came for lunch and in keeping with the concept, shared everything.

We started out with the empanadas that were stuffed with potato and sweet peas, drizzled in a chipotle crema. The pastry was flaky, bursting with filling, and I found them to be deliciously reminiscent of samosas. Next, we ordered the braised chicken arepas with black beans and queso fresco. I could have ordered two more servings of this dish. The cakes were slightly sweet and soft, and the sauce on the chicken was full of flavor. The combination of the beans and queso was the perfect topping.

There were so many selections of tacos to choose from on the menu. The varieties included two types of pork and beef, seafood and sweet potato served on house-made tortillas. We decided to order the shrimp version. We squeezed the salt and cayenne-dusted lime over the slaw-topped shrimp, and it provided the perfect kick to the delicate mixture. Finally, we ordered a pork cemita. The sandwich came on a potato sesame roll with carnitas, cabbage, avocado, and lime crema. The portion was huge, and the beer adobo marinade on the pork was tasty. We paired the sandwich with a side of papas bravas (tiny potatoes in a roasted tomato aioli) that were so addictive we had to ask our server to pack them so that we could leave room for dessert.

We were full but soldiered on to order and devour the churros with cinnamon sugar and Mexican hot chocolate dipping sauce. The crispy and sweet churros, piping hot from the fryer, were the perfect bite to counterbalance all the fantastic flavors we savored during the meal.

Price Range: Small plates (depending on your choices) are $9-15.00. Tacos on house-made tortillas are $8-10. Salads and sandwiches range from $9-12, and sides are $5-7. If you save room for dessert, the churros and the rest of the dessert selections like the flan or tres leches cake are $7.

Jeanine Consoli
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