Sustainability in the Suburbs?
by Danielle Corcione
Mistral, pronounced MEE-strall, opened its doors at the King of Prussia Mall on March 1. Nestled between Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor, the brand-new restaurant has aspirations to farm-to-table fare, even if it’s an unlikely setting. Why King of Prussia over Philadelphia?
The idea was proposed to co-owner Stephen Distler and his partner, Executive Chef Scott Anderson, by community leaders who wanted to bring higher quality food to the city’s higher quality malls.
“We have the highest quality and finest ingredients in everything we do,” Distler says. “When it comes to vegetables and herbs, it’s no question the best is locally sourced.”
The pair aren’t new to the fine dining industry. Mistral’s first location in Princeton, with a slightly different menu, opened in 2013. The duo also runs Elements, a farm-to-table fine dining restaurant, which opened in Princeton in 2008.
But the restaurant has yet to warm up to sourcing all of its proteins from the raft of high-quality, grass-fed farming operations in Pennsylvania, or from more sustainable seafood sources. “Sometimes we bring [in] our Kobe beef and unique tuna... from Japan,” Distler says.
But the chefs are committed to collaborating with top-quality farms in the surrounding Montgomery County area. Griggstown Farm and Zimmerman Farm (of Lancaster County) help supply chicken. R.L. Irwin Mushroom Co. supplies every single mushroom served. Zone 7 (a distributor delivery service with farm partnerships in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) stocks the restaurant with dairy, produce and egg products. Additionally, Craig Polignano, Mistral’s chef de cuisine, is a forager; as he familiarizes himself with the new area, he will soon choose his favorite spots from which to source ingredients.
Distler also understands that a good dish is the bare minimum to a successful eatery nowadays. On top of fine culinary techniques and world-class chefs, the restaurant strives to maintain a fun, uplifting environment with modern design.