When Community Commons served its first meal almost sixteen years ago, its amenities–from its diverse cuisine to its luxury second and third story guestrooms–immediately became the stuff of legend among its esteemed clientèle. However, its mysterious companion establishment, a venue specializing in fine dining as opposed to the cafeteria style arrangement of its sibling, remains somewhat of an enigma.
This venue is, of course, the 1855 Room, named for the founding year of the college on whose campus it was constructed. Among the few restaurants of its kind in the Ewing area, the 1855 Room, located just over two miles east of the Trenton Mercer Airport’s main terminal, enjoys a privileged position among similarly-priced establishments.
The main dining room’s décor, echoing that of perhaps Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, can only be described as a triumph of form and function. Glass coverings on tables, for example, both enhance the appearance of the tablecloths and prevent them from becoming stained, a small but important step towards a more sustainable restaurant. Artwork adorning the room’s walls proudly displays images from the establishment’s heritage, lending the entire area a historical ambience greatly differing from the cold, sterile look of most competing chain restaurants.
The menu at the 1855 Room is fairly nonconventional, presenting only a limited selection of food. However, while seemingly disappointing, this limited selection allows the 1855 Room to achieve its legendary rapidity of service, the speed of which rivals even that of the quickest fast-food establishments.
The meals available included classic restaurant staples such as Shrimp Scampi, Flank Steak, and Grilled Tilapia. Garnished with a sprinkling of parsley, the steak is quite excellent, as is the shrimp. One would do well to punctuate any meal at the 1855 room with an item from the restaurant’s dessert selections, which include pies and various types of cookies, a refreshing diversion from the mundane menus found at similar establishments. The cookies, served from an impeccably arranged platter, feature a supreme variety of colors and flavors, ranging from classic varieties like chocolate chip to the more exotic such as fudge cookies interfused with macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips.
After a meal at the 1855 Room, one may do well to visit the various nearby attractions, such as the noteworthy Alumni Grove nearby, or the historic Green Farm House located just up the road, all whilst enjoying an after-dinner mint, provided courteously by the establishment.