PJ’s is one of those longtime Princeton breakfast institutions that seem to exist in just about every college town: not especially known as a haven for breakfast epicureans, but popular. They’ve been branching out lately, expanding to five restaurants in the area with the recently opened Robbinsville spot. They’re also trying to break out of their breakfast-only identity, with what they call a tavern menu and outdoor bistro-style seating. Judging from the Robbinsville location, we’d have to say the tavern-like atmosphere kills the breakfast mood more than it helps the lunch/dinner vibe.
More importantly, the food needs work. Our Pancake Sampler gave us the chance to try three of their pancake options. The strawberry pancake, apparently a plain buttermilk pancake topped with cut up fresh strawberries, was by far the best of the three. Their plain pancakes are light and appealing. The potato pancake, served with cups of apple sauce and sour cream, seems deep-fried, which results in a hard, crusty exterior. Inside, the pancake is dense and dull. Worst of all, the buckwheat pancake was inedibly dry and heavy, as if perhaps the cook forgot to add leavening. Regular pancake syrup accompanies your cakes, with a $3 upcharge for the real stuff.
We also tried one of their “skillets.” PJ’s Pastrami Hash sounds better than it is: signature “mashed brown” potatoes, diced pastrami, and a pair of eggs. Edible but lifeless.
Prices are a little high for this area, which might work if they were turning out breakfasts a cut above the competition. But they are not, and much better food can be had, at better prices, in cozier surroundings, at many nearby restaurants, especially around the corner at Daphne’s. The canned speeches they’ve required their servers to recite add a note of awkwardness. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that PJ’s eventually ups their game.17 Main Street Robbinsville NJ 08691 609-772-4755 PJ’s Pancake House and Tavern’s Website PJ’s Pancake House and Tavern on Facebook