One can hardly use the movie Dude, Where’s My Car as an accurate historical reference, but the fact that the characters banish their nemesis to Hoboken still instills the impression that this city is not a pleasant place, shibbies or not.
So imagine my surprise when I arrive in the wee hours of the morning and find the city so be everything a 30-something, slightly hip, DINK could want. In fact, I felt out of place for lacking the three key items noted on nearly every woman there.
But no big, I was only on vacation.
Our first food stop was the Elysian Cafe for brunch, conveniently located near the Elysian Fields park, a great place to bring your dog, child and slightly balding husband/partner. We were a little worried about the small squabbling child with us making a bad scene, but apparently the folks at the Cafe are used to it. In fact, they even have a children’s special. NO, not children to eat, more like happy hour for kids.
On order: mimosa and bloody mary for the ladies, pink lemonade for the little one. Then steak, eggs and fries in one food order, and the child’s plate of grilled cheese and salad. And we ate the salad.
The Bloody Mary? Damn good. It had a nice bite of horseradish to it. I loved it. Too bad I wasn’t the one who ordered it. I got the mimosa and plenty tipsy off it. Each was about $4, due to happy hour brunch prices.
The eggs and fries were good, but the steak was meh. A little thin and chewy. The little one ate about half his grilled cheese sandwich, and we ate the other half, toasting the fact that there was still a few days left to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month in April.
Must be a Hoboken thing.
Breakfast was highly recommended at Bouchon, unfortunately I was not able to make it to breakfast. I am disappointed about that, but was at least able to have dinner here.
At the mention of my intent to have dinner at Bouchon, a friend gave me a look of surprise and insisted I would not get in without a reservation. But what the hell, I tried. I arrived at 6:30 on a Monday night and got seated TOOT SWEET.
I started with the confit of duck ($15), my dining companion had mixed greens with goat cheese. My duck was delicious, but in retrospect I should have had the smoked duck salad or the country pate.
I was really expecting something a little more dainty, and it was a pretty hefty portion. Like, too much. If that was all I’d eaten, maybe I could have consumed it all. But with a starter and a dessert, no way. I ate about 6 bites and took the rest home. I had to, what with profiteroles on the menu, and I can never turn down profiteroles!
The choux pastries were good, I got three of them ($10). Split, filled with a perfect ball of vanilla ice cream, and the server poured the chocolate sauce over the pastries from high up and swirled around the plate with a good flourish.
The interior was elegant and calm. Really classy. In fact, much of the Venetian was elegant and calm, but that’s another story. At Bouchon I was well looked after by 2-3 waiters. I thought putting the bread right on the table was pretty, and I really liked snacking on the pistachios throughout the meal.
So, I can’t give it my top marks, because I still have a nagging feeling I would have been more pleased with a breakfast there. And my meal, which was recommended by the waiter, was really heavy and rich, and portions a little too big. At one point in the meal I commented that I was probably just eating spoonfuls at fat at this point. Tasty spoonfuls of fat, of course, but things could have been a little more balanced.
I took my side of pork home with me, but still couldn’t eat it all. I had to throw it away in the cigarette trashcan near the elevator of my hotel at the end of my trip. What a pity.
Will I go back to Bouchon? OH MAY WEE.