Brunch at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

Image of the Entrance of Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

We went to Zafra few years ago for lunch and then dinner and decided to go back after we saw an article about the 15 best hot chocolate in the US where Zafra was nominated #15. So, we decided to complete out experience with brunch! 

Zafra is the creation of Cuban-born business partners and friends Maricel E. Presilla and Clara Chaumont and has been opened more than a decade ago in Hoboken. The place is small, with only 22 seats. We decided to go early so we would not have to wait as, previously, we saw people waiting outside. The place was still empty, but started to get packed at about 12:30pm. 

We, of course, ordered the hot chocolate and picked some dishes. Unfortunately, when ordering, they told us that their fryer died and they could not serve anything that was cooked in it! In fact, half of the menu was unavailable. I prefer when they tell us in advance, so I am not disappointed because I pick dishes that are not available. What was surprising though is that they did not even serve plantains because of the fryer! Don't they know that you can fry food in a regular pan???  After few minutes, we finally found some dishes they were able to make...

First came the hot chocolate. 
Image of Hot chocolate with machica at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

It looked like a regular hot chocolate, but with a nice cream on top. Based on the consistency and taste, it was probably made with milk and not water. The hot chocolate (from Venezuela) is in fact thickened with machica, a blend made of toasted barley, brown sugar and cinnamon. This was delicious! The hot chocolate was not really thick, surprisingly not sweet and you could definitely taste the cinnamon. I think that without the machica, it would have been an average drink, but thankfully, this blend of grains enhances the flavors and it makes it a wonderful drink. In fact, making machica is not difficult:
  • 1/2 cup of ground toasted whole barley
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon 
  1. Mix all the three ingredients in a bowl.
  2. It can then be added to a hot cocoa!

Then came our appetizer. We chose Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos de Frijol Refrito y Tres Quesos
(Piquillo Peppers from Navarre Filled with Refried Beans and Three Spanish Cheeses, Savory Sauce)

Image of Pimientos del piquillo rellenos de frijol refrito y tres quesos at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

It was delicious! I loved the fact that part of the cheese was slightly burnt, giving a bit of texture and adding the great taste of burnt cheese to the dish. The peppers had a very little kick, and I wish that there was a bit more refried beans. But overall, a nice and light appetizer.

Then, Jodi picked the Cuban version of French toast, made with pressed bread. 
Image of Cuban French Toast at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

It was served with almonds, walnuts, raisins, banana and mango. It was a disappointing dish! First of all, the mango was not ripe and I am surprised that they put it on the plate as, when cutting it, they must have seen it was no good. Then, the taste of the bread gave the impression is was dipped in water rather than in a batter; fortunately, there was the maple syrup to give a bit of taste. 

On my side, I got Dos Huevos a su Gusto con Chorizo o Jamón, Llapingachos de Papa y Queso y Tostadas
Image of eggs and chorizo, ham at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

Two Eggs any Style (I chose over easy) with Chorizo or Ham (I picked chorizo), Pan-Fried Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Patties (it says patties on the menu, but there was only one!), Pressed Cuban Toast.

The dish was good, although I would not go back there just for it. The chorizo was fried, enhancing the saltiness of it; the eggs were perfect, and I dipped the very good pressed bread in the runny yolk. The potato and cheese patty was good but nothing extraordinary, lacking a bit of cheese.

For dessert, we wanted to have the Tres Leches cake but they told us that they did not have it. Do they make it in the fryer too??? So we ended up with the Venezuelan crepes filled with dulce de leche.
Image of Venezuelan crepes at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

The crepes came cold and I truly think that this is because they sat there before being brought to our table. The crepe itself was thick, but good. However, there was too much dulce de leche.

So this brunch was not memorable. The kitchen and the service seemed overwhelmed and the fryer situation did not help. I would not have gone to this restaurant before, I would have thought that it was overrated. I will probably have to go back at some point to try the dishes I really wanted; Hopefully the fryer will work!!!

Enjoy (I barely did)!

And remember: I Just Want To Eat!

Zafra on Urbanspoon

Dinner at The Turtle Club in Hoboken, New Jersey

Image of the Sign of the Turtle Club in Hoboken, NJ
We were looking for a new dining experience in Hoboken and the name of that place, The Turtle Club, caught our eyes (ears? or even stomach?) This is a very old place for sure and I think the owners kept the old atmosphere alive inside: lots of wood and an arch between the two main rooms. The place was very dark and we only saw the room on the right side of the restaurant. In fact, I am not sure if I should call that a restaurant or a bar with a menu...

It was a Tuesday night and there was not that many people there at the beginning; people came later. We started off with bruschetta.
Image of Bruschetta at the Turtle Club in Hoboken, NJ

For $8, you can pick three different kinds. We decided to go with: 
  • Gorgonzola and toasted garlic.
  • Tomato and basil with olive oil.
  • Goat cheese and balsamic honey glaze.
It took forever for the food to come and I do not mind if the food is exceptional, but it was not the case: this was so disappointing! The bread was barely toasted; the tomato and basil was dry. At the end, I only liked the other two because you can just spread the goat cheese or gorgonzola on a piece of bread and they would be good. No need to be a Chef to do it right!

Then, I ordered the fish tacos:
Image of Fish tacos at the Turtle Club in Hoboken, NJ

It was three tilapia tacos with a soft taco shell stuffed with corn salsa, romaine, cilantro and sour cream. On the side was a very average (and not homemade I guess) guacamole and a very dry rice and black beans. Let me start by telling you that I did not finish the dish. The fish was dry / overcooked and tasted very fishy. 

Jodi went for the ginger and soy glazed mahi mahi:
Image of Mahi Mahi at the Turtle Club in Hoboken, NJ

The mahi mahi was also dry / overcooked. Too bad because the sauce was pretty good.

So at the end of the day, it was not a great experience: the wait staff seemed overwhelmed although very courteous and attentive to our needs and I would think, based on what we got there, that the issue was the kitchen. This was really a forgettable experience and I think that they should probably stick to bar dishes instead of trying to make a food that is too elaborate. Although, one would think that fish taco are not that complicated....

Enjoy (the post)!

The Turtle Club on Urbanspoon

MBG burger at Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

Image of the Entrance of the Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

Madison Bar & Grill is a very popular Bar / restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey. We went there couple of times and had mixed experiences about it: their Sunday brunch buffet is fabulous! They serve a wide range of dishes that can satisfy any palate: from seafood, with fresh shrimp and oysters, to meat, to the fantastic creme brulee French Toast! If you have a good appetite or want to try plenty of delicious dishes, this is a good deal.

Then, we went to their first seating menu: for a little over $18, you get an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. When I went, I had the crab cakes, the free range chicken and the cannoli. This was a very average experience: the crab cakes were just ok and a bit greasy, with lots of filler; the chicken was dry and bland and the cannoli not good. 

But this time, I went specifically to try their burger! It is called the MBG signature Blue Label Burger. Such name is an invitation to indulge! 
Image of the Burger at the Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

As you can see on the photo above, they branded the brioche bun! So, the burger comes with skin-on French fries. I asked for the patty to be cooked medium and picked cheddar for the cheese (they also proposed Swiss, provolone or American).
The meat (dry aged beef) was perfect: medium as requested and very juicy, it had a bold taste making me think that they do not use any filler in it. There was a perfect ratio bun to meat and the bun was deliciously toasted. This was definitely a great cheeseburger! They just need to perfect the French fries that were good, but did not have anything extraordinary (you know what I mean if you went to Minetta Tavern).

On a healthier side, Jodi ordered the Warm Herbed Goat Cheese Salad:
Warm herbed goat cheese salad at the Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

It was made of mixed greens, carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and dressed with an oven-roasted tomato vinaigrette. I liked the fact that it was a different take on a classic salad: it was not just goat cheese put on top of the veggies or on top of a piece of toast. It was like a croquette and a good one in fact: not greasy, it added a nice crunch to the dish. Perfect!

We finished the meal with the Chocolate Molten Cake:
Image of the Chocolate molten cake at the Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

The presentation was very appetizing! It had three components that worked perfectly together: the chocolate cake, a tahitian vanilla gelato and a strawberry sauce. It was good, but I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting the chocolate to ooze in the center; the cake was probably a bit overcooked! 

I did not regret giving another chance to the Madison Bar & Grill and was pretty satisfied at the end of the meal! It is definitely a good spot for brunch or for a good burger!

Enjoy (I did)!

Madison Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Pizza at Dusal's Italian Restaurant in Freehold, NJ

Recently we were in Freehold, NJ and needed a quick bite. We ended up at Dusal's, an Italian restaurant and Pizzeria.
Image of Dusal's Italian Restaurant in Freehold, NJ
The restaurant has two rooms: in the front is for the pizzeria and in the back, the restaurant. We decided to try three of their slices:

The plain slice:
Image of Plain pizza slice at Dusal's Italian Restaurant in Freehold, NJ

It was good, although pretty standard. The crust was thin and crispy with a nice char in the bottom.

The Sicilian pie:
Image of Sicilian pizza slice at Dusal's Italian Restaurant in Freehold, NJ
Good, with lots of cheese and a nice pizza sauce. However, the crust was a bit hard on the corner.

The white pie:
Image of White pizza slice at Dusal's Italian Restaurant in Freehold, NJ
This was a great pie because they put a lot of ricotta all along and not only some patches of it! Also, they did not load it with garlic that overpowers the cheese. A hit!

So, Dusal's is definitely a great pizza place!

Enjoy (I did)!

Dusal's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Delicious dinner at Matt & Meera in Hoboken, NJ - Closed

I guess that if you follow this blog, you realized how much I like Matt & Meera in Hoboken! That place is fantastic and serves an amazing food! So we went back for dinner...again...Yes, I would like to try everything on their menu!

We started off with the spiced meatballs:

Spiced meatballs at Matt and Meera in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
Spiced meatballs at Matt and Meera in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ

They are lamb meatballs with a flavor profile similar to the meat samosa, lamb burger or lamb dosa. Don't get me wrong: the fact that there is the same flavor profile in many different dishes is not a problem: it shows the diversity in ways of serving this delicious spiced meat! The sauce, although a bit spicy was the star of the dish: thick, tasty with a hint of spice that builds up little by little in your mouth. They serve it with some naan bread (maybe not enough as I wanted to just get some sauce on the bread and it it, meatless). This was a nice twist on Italian meatballs. 

The next dish was Vietnamese Spring Rolls.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls at Matt and Meera in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
Vietnamese Spring Rolls at Matt and Meera in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ

These are raw spring rolls. They contained tofu, vermicelli and peppers for a bit of crunch. The sauce was raita. It was delicious and fresh!

The last dish was Singapore noodles.

Singapore Noodles at Matt and Meera in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
Singapore Noodles at Matt and Meera in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ

This was my least favorite dish so far: not tasty enough; a bit bland.

I have to say that the more I eat at Matt & Meera, the more I like it! Even if I do not like all the dishes!

Enjoy (I surely did)!

Matt and Meera on Urbanspoon

Hummus Bowl at the Hummus Bar in Hoboken, NJ

How many hummus joints will open in Hoboken??? Well, after I guess a tough competition, two of them already closed: Ibby's falafel and Maoz. I have been a big fan of Mamoun's falafel and was eager to try his competitor, The Hummus Bar, located not far from it! I was more eager when one of my colleagues, Sonnali, mentioned that she went there and had some Indian flavored dish that was apparently delicious. So I was wondering what the menu would be as I imagined before, that a Hummus Bar would simply serve the traditional Middle Eatsern dishes: hummus, falafel, shawarma...Looking at the menu, I realized that it was not the case and that they showcased some interesting combination: Italian, Indian, Greek...

So we decided to try it. We picked two different Hummus bowls. A Hummus bowl is a the equivalent of a plate rather than a sandwich where the bottom of the plate is spread with hummus (classic, black olive and herbs...). You can even decide to replace the hummus by guacamole (not sure I would try that there) or babaganouj. 

Jodi ordered the Hoboken Hummus Bowl with classic hummus.
Image of Hoboken Hummus Bowl at The Hummus Bar in Hoboken, NJ
 It was made of avocado, chickpeas, fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes, olives, cucumber and pineapple. This was delicious and very fresh. But they could have put a bit more salad in the bowl. The pineapple added a nice sweetness to the dish that matched the acidity of the tomatoes. Delish!

On my side, I ordered the Lamb Tikka Hummus Bowl.
Image of Lamb Tikka Hummus Bowl at The Hummus Bar in Hoboken, NJ
It was lamb marinated overnite and grilled with onions, peppers, tomatoes and spices. It was good and flavorful but they did not use a great part of the lamb. Tasty though. I noticed that it is off the online menu and that they now serve the chicken tikka: it might be better.

Concerning the star of the bowl, the hummus, I have to say that I loved it: it was creamy and delicious, as good as the one at Mamoun's...

I would probably try something else next time as their menu offers plenty of interesting choices and combinations!

Enjoy (I did)!

Hummus Bar on Urbanspoon

Steak Sandwich at Black Bear Bar in Hoboken, New Jersey

Image of Black Bear Bar and Grill in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
I went to Black Bear for their burger a long time ago and while discussing about it with a friend, he mentioned the steak sandwich that they serve. I did not need more information to be convinced that I had to try it!

So we went there for lunch. The place is a popular bar, located on Washington Street in Hoboken, with two stories and several rooms. What was interesting is the part of the wall that has all these hot sauces:
Image of Black Bear Bar and Grill in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
I did not know there are so many different one!

Anyway, I was there for the sandwich, not the decor or ambiance...I ordered the steak sandwich medium.
Image of Steak sandwich at Black Bear Bar and Grill in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
The steak sandwich is slice steak, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. This thing was huge and had an amazing smell that opened my appetite! Only problem was how to eat it as, as you can see on the photo, there was a lot of meat on the bread. I succeeded to close the sandwich and had a divine first bite! The bread was very soft and, as it had been toasted, a bit crispy, adding some texture to the dish. The steak was very good: tender and juicy. Unfortunately, there was too much garlic...This sandwich was definitely packed with flavors from the onions, mushroom and steak! If they lower the quantity or even eliminate the garlic, it will be a must have!

Jodi ordered a Hoboken Cobb salad.
Image of Cobb salad at Black Bear Bar and Grill in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
She asked without meat and ended up paying the full price by the way...The salad was good though with lots of blue cheese...

Although too garlic-y, the steak sandwich was worth it! If I had to go again, I would probably ask them  one with no garlic as I am not planning to be victim of a vampire attack...

Enjoy (I did)!

Black Bear Bar on Urbanspoon

Lunch menu at T Thai in Hoboken, NJ

Image of T Thai restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
T Thai is one of my favorite Thai restaurant in Hoboken, with Sri Thai. Not to mention Casual Thai that should probably be less casual on the cooking...I tried T Thai few times and have never been disappointed! Especially with their marinated half chicken with chili sauce that I really enjoy (so does the cat)!

This time, we decided to try their lunch menu. Not surprisingly, they offer a menu for less than $8 that features a veggie roll, a salad and an entree. To go with it, I had my usual Thai Iced Tea that is delicious at T Thai.
Image of Thai Iced Tea at T Thai restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ

The salad and the roll came pretty quickly.
Image of Salad and spring roll at T Thai restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
It was a straight forward salad with iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, served with a peanut sauce. Pretty standard. I was a bit disappointed with the roll: there was no sauce with it and too much wrap around it so I missed a bit the taste of the veggies.

The choice of entrees is pretty standard for a Thai restaurant: noodles, curry or fried rice.

Jodi decided to order the glass noodles with Tofu.
Image of Glass noodles with tofu at T Thai restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
It was a nice presentation with vivid colors between the noodles and the vegetables. The glass noodles were delicious, perfectly cooked. However, the tofu was bland...

On my side, I ordered one of my favorite Thai dish: Chicken Curry Massaman.
Image of Chicken Curry Massaman at T Thai restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey NJ
It is a curry made with coconut milk, potatoes and peanuts. For $0.50, I got coconut rice. The Curry was pretty good. A bit thicker than usual but very tasty with a little spice building up in the back of my throat! The rice however was disappointing as I could not taste at all the coconut.

We enjoyed the lunch that was at a very reasonable price. Maybe for the service, they could be a bit more gracious though...

Enjoy (I did)!

 T Thai on Urbanspoon

Hoboken Arts & Music Festival - September 29th 2012

Jodi and I went to the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival today. Jodi for the art, me for...the food (let say "the art of the table")...
This festival takes place several times a year in Hoboken and is a big thing there. It had, according to the organizers, close to 350 stands, for art (photography, painting, handcraft...), but also associations such as the Monroe Center for the Arts, or companies like Verizon or The New York Times....

Food wise,  there were few choices: the usual stands that you would find in any street fair (zeppoles, fried oreos, mozzarepas, Italian sausages...) as well as local restaurants such as India On The Hudson (my favorite Indian restaurant in Hoboken) or The Old German Bakery.

Even pets could find some good stuff there! Me & My dog offered some pretty interesting treats!
They had Chicken & Cheese rollovers, Bacon & Cheese Taco or Lamb & Brown rice bone. I wish I was a dog at that point...

First thing we tried were some "Authentic" Wisconsin Cheese Curds.

Cheese curds are pieces of cheese that are deep fried. As they mentioned that they are "Authentic" Wisconsin cheese curds, I suspect the cheese to be purely cheddar, hopefully not processed! 
It was freshly made, but unfortunately very, very greasy...I had them all though...But not worth the $7 I paid.

Then, we tried the crab cake sandwich from Sherri's crab cakes.
While waiting online, I could smell the delicious odor of crab. Unfortunately, that was the only thing that was close to crab! The crab cake was full of fillers and did not taste that much of crab and they were mushy! Adding to that the bread, I was hopeful to have some tartare sauce so I had the impression to eat... bread with tartare sauce...Sad for $7.

Across the street was the Texas Smoke BBQ. They are there each time and even cook their meat in their pit located next to their stand.
I ordered the beef brisket and added tons of BBQ sauce (mild). Eating the sandwich was messy and I finished the meat with my fork, leaving the bread. It was pretty good for (again?) $7.

Then, we decided to stop by the Taco Truck.
We got a portion of their fantastic guacamole with chips, as well as a grapefruit juice from Jarritos (I prefer the pineapple one).

The last part was dessert. At first, I wanted zeppoles. But, when we realized that they were serving zeppoles that were not freshly made, we proceeded to the mini donut stand.
These donuts were made on the spot in the machine showed above. We got a dozen for $5. We were excited as the last time we had mini donuts freshly made at Sil's in Milwaukee, it was delicious!
They were sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. The smell of the freshly made donuts was awesome. Unfortunately, the donuts were very doughy. We did not finish them...

So it was a bit disappointing, not that I had high expectations, but considering the fantastic food you now get in food trucks, I was expecting better! Fortunately, there was art and music, a bit spoiled by the rain, but this is a different story...

Enjoy (I did)!

Texas Smoke Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Yapple Frozen Yogurt in Westfield, NJ

Image of Yapple Frozen Yogurt in Westfield, NJ

I discovered a new Frozen Yogurt place in Westfield, New Jersey. I love frozen yogurt because people think that it is a healthy choice, but they forget that the calories are mainly coming from the toppings that they pack their yogurt with!!!

Anyway, the place was interesting: very bright with its white furniture, partly white walls; with fun drawings on the wall that reminded me of Japanese Manga.
Image of Yapple Frozen Yogurt in Westfield, NJ

The ceiling was fantastic with multicolored bulbs that gave to the place a very playful atmosphere.
Image of Yapple Frozen Yogurt in Westfield, NJ
Yapple is self serve.
When we went, they had flavors like: watermelon, cookies & Cream, Birthday cake, Cinnabun, blood orange, taro, banana, salted caramel pretzel, original tart. As you can see, some interesting and original flavors!

Like most if not all frozen yogurt places, the cost is per weight (very smart as people have a tendency to put more than what a standard serving would be, hence pay more). So, you first pick your yogurt(s), then go to the topping bar.
Image of Toppings at Yapple Frozen Yogurt in Westfield, NJ
They had the basics there: from fruits to chocolate, peanut butter cup, etc...You can as well add some whipped cream, chocolate sauce or caramel.

I decided to have Cookies & Cream and banana yogurt.
Image of  Yapple Frozen Yogurt in Westfield, NJ
The cookies & cream yogurt was just ok. It tasted like a chocolate yogurt that lacks chocolate taste....However, the banana was fantastic! The flavor of the fruit was very pronounced and tasted natural!

As usual, I put some M&M's and their color all mixed up with the yogurt like a rainbow.
Image of  Yapple Frozen Yogurt in Westfield, NJ
Jodi picked the cookies & Cream and the Birthday cake.
Image of  Yapple Frozen Yogurt in Westfield, NJ
The Birthday cake flavor was just ok for me, but Jodi found that it was good!

In conclusion: I would go back just for the banana yogurt! What I liked is the fact that it tasted natural and not made with processed ingredients.

Enjoy (I did)!

Yapple Yogurt on Urbanspoon

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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!

My brother's culinary visit...

Last week, my brother stopped by to see us on his way back to France. On top of the fact that it was great to spend time with him, it was a great occasion to make him try some cuisine or food that are not that common in France or that he cannot find in the city where he is living. There is so much diversity in New York that I had to pick just couple of choices that I proposed to him. I'll pass on the first night when we went to Benny Tudino's in Hoboken so he could have a good taste of pizza. We also ordered chicken wings as it is something that he never tried (it is only served in few restaurants, mainly in Paris, such as the Indiana Cafe where I used to go with my cousin Sandrine when I was living there). 

The pizza was good as usual, but the chicken wings were like fried chicken...Disappointing...In fact, I never ordered anything else other than pizza over there and several people told me that the rest of the food is not very good!
Image of Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
The next day, I proposed to go for Venezuelan as where he lives, there no such restaurants and he never tried before. We ended up at Caracas Arepa Bar that is one of my favorites! Caracas Arepa Bar is a small place in the East Village that has these amazing arepas, which are some sort of buns that are grilled and baked, filled with different ingredients, from chicken to beef, to beans and cheese. They offer a nice selection of vegetarian dishes.
Image of Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
The decor has an authentic feel with its wooden tables and chairs that are a bit run down and plenty of religious figurines on the wall.
Image of Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
 as well as satiric figurines of politicians...
Image of Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
I admit that the only one I recognized was Hugo Chavez...

The service in the restaurant was efficient and extremely courteous. The menu is simple and features items that cost less than $8, at the exception of course of the tasting platters that they propose.

We started by ordering some banana milkshakes.
Image of Banana shakes at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
They had a little bit of cinnamon on top. It was more liquid than a traditional milkshake, that is good considering that it was more a drink to go with the meal rather than being a dessert. Unfortunately and contrary to the last time we went there, it did not have as much banana taste.

For appetizers, we first ordered the guasacaca & chips.
Image of guasacaca and chips at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York

It is in fact guacamole with chips made with plantains and taro roots. The guacamole was very good and fresh, while the chips were deliciously crispy and not at all greasy.

The second appetizer was the tajadas.
Image of Tajadas at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
It is fried sweet plantains with cheese. The cheese was salty, making it a perfect ingredient to counterbalance the sweetness of the plantains. This was a fantastic appetizer and I could not stop eating it!
Then came the arepas. My brother picked the one called "De Pabellon".
Image of Arepa De Pabellon at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
It was made of shredded beef, black beans, white salted cheese and sweet plantains. I did not try it, but my brother loved it and told us that it was his favorite food from the whole trip!

Jodi chose the one called "La Del Gado".
Image of Arepa La Del Gado at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
It is an arepa composed of plantains, avocado and white cheese. These are simple ingredients, but I have to say that it was the best! It has some nice flavors and the avocado added some freshness to the dish. The salted cheese and sweet plantains complemented each other well. This was a hit!

On my side, I picked the "La Mulata".
Image of Arepa La Mulata at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
An arepa filled with sweet plantains, black beans, jalapenos and sauteed red peppers. This was very good, but when you eat the jalapenos, your mouth starts quickly to get on fire! It is a bit attenuated by the cheese and plantains, but still, it is a bit hot!

We skipped dessert as we were full! When you see the arepas coming, you may think it will not be enough, but trust me: it is!
Caracas Arepa Bar on Urbanspoon

For dinner, we went to have a steak at Dino & Harry in Hoboken (review of Dino & Harry here). Each time I have visitors from France, I tell them that they should try the meat in a steakhouse; there is no doubt in my mind: the meat in the US is way better than the meat in France.
Dino & Harry is a great steakhouse, but, as most of the restaurants of that kind, it is pretty dark inside, so the photos are not great...I therefore decided not to publish them!

Jodi and my brother ordered the petite filet mignon that was very tender and juicy, served with mushrooms. I decided to order the ribeye that was magnificent: perfectly cooked medium rare, juicy, extremely tender with a nice char. For sides, we went for the French fries (mediocre) and the onion rings (delicious and not too greasy). Oh, I forgot to mention the sauces: the bearnaise sauce is always perfect, but I did not really like the roasted garlic aioli.

As we had a bit of space left after this fantastic dinner, we went for the chocolate mousse: it was very dense, not too sweet with a very pronounced chocolate flavor.

I have never been disappointed in that place!
Dino & Harry's Steak House on Urbanspoon

On Friday, we decided to go to Little Italy and see if for San Gennaro, we would find some succulent food!
Image of San Gennaro in Little Italy NYC, New York
I was a bit disappointed because, besides the stands for iconic places such as La Bella Ferrara pastry shop, it was the usual sausage and meatball stands you would see in a street fair. So we decided to eat in one of the restaurants over there. We first went to Da Nico, but nobody bothered taking care of us. So we left and ended up at Benito One. 
Image of Benito one Italian restaurant in Little Italy NYC, New York
We picked this restaurant simply because we saw people already eating there and we were in kind of a rush (I tried to check on the internet which restaurant was the best, but unfortunately had no service...).

Jodi ordered a tomato and mozzarella salad.
Image of tomato and mozzarella salad at Benito one Italian restaurant in Little Italy NYC, New York

It was served with roasted peppers and basil leaves. I think it is the worst tomato & mozzarella salad I ever had, that is pretty incredible considering how easy it is to make! It was under seasonned, had barely any olive oil and the mozzarella was horrible! The roasted peppers were the only things I enjoyed.

My brother ordered the homemade cheese ravioli.

They were served with a tomato and basil sauce. It was a good dish: the ravioli were not too doughy and the sauce was good although simple.

On my side, I ordered the homemade gnocchi.
Image of homemade gnocchi at Benito one Italian restaurant in Little Italy NYC, New York

They came in a tomato, shallots and cream sauce. The gnocchi were ok, but overall, the dish was bland.

Benito One was clearly not a good choice for lunch! I will definitely have to try to find the best Italian restaurant in Little Italy: this will be my next quest! Anyway, if you know any, please send me an email at

Benito One on Urbanspoon

So, of course, we skipped dessert at Benito One and walk few feet away to the Stuffed Artisan Cannolis! We saw them on a TV show and were dying to try them!
Image of Stuffed Artisan Cannolis in NYC, New York
They started 5 years ago and their idea is to put a twist to the traditional cannoli. So, for instance, they have coconut, French toast or nutella.
Image of Stuffed Artisan Cannolis in NYC, New York
We decided to try (from left to right): nutella (of course!), French toast, Birthday cake, regular, regular and chocolate. Of course, these cannolis are not full size! They are half the size of regular ones.
Image of Stuffed Artisan Cannolis in NYC, New York
The shell of the cannolis was good and crispy, but the filling was not: the nutella one barely tasted nutella; the regular had an off taste; the birthday cake was just ok. The French toast was good with a nice maple syrup flavor, but it was not something I would crave. 
Stuffed Artisan Cannolis on Urbanspoon

For dinner that Friday, we decided to go to Southern Hospitality (review of Southern Hospitality here). BBQ is an amazing thing to discover as we do not have that in France. We have grilling, but not the slow cooking so particular to BBQ! And Southern Hospitality is the perfect place for some tasting!

We decided to order several dishes: for appetizer, we went for the fried green tomatoes.
Image of Fried Green Tomatoes at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
These are amazing! Not greasy, very tasty, the tomato had a nice crunch. It was served with a BBQ ranch dipping sauce that is so good that I would just drink it!

We also shared some corn bread and Mac & Cheese.
Image of Corn bread and mac and cheese at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
The corn bread was wonderful and came warm with a delicious honey butter. The Mac & Cheese was perfect! Creamy and full of cheese!

Then came the meat! What I like about Southern Hospitality is that they propose some tasting portions so you can try different meats. We started off with the fried chicken.
Image of Fried chicken at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was good, but not the best I ever had: the breading was falling off as we started cutting the bird...Southern Hospitality also proposes fried chicken and waffles that I love!
By the way, as an anecdote, the first time I tried fried chicken when I was leaving in Paris was at...KFC...

Then we got the brisket.
Image of Brisket at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
That was a fantastic piece of meat!!! I did not even need a knife to cut it! It was amazingly good, tender and moist, that is what is sometimes a miss with brisket. I would have eaten more...

Last was the dry rub Memphis style spare-ribs.
Image of Spare ribs at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
Delicious as usual: the meat was falling off the bone and was incredibly tasty with some nice fat in some areas (yes, fat can be good!).

We could not leave that place without having a dessert...My brother went for the key lime pie.
Image of Key Lime pie at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was very good: creamy and not too sweet with a nice whipped cream on top to counterbalance the acidity of the lime.

But my favorite was the banana pudding.
Image of Banana pudding at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
The banana pudding at Southern Hospitality is the best I ever had! It has vanilla wafers and caramelized bananas on top. It is pure heaven: very creamy and rich, each bite makes you want more. Then you reach the bottom and you get some crumbled cookies, wishing that there was more! It is definitely something to try!

That dinner at Southern Hospitality was definitely a hit and a perfect way to showcase some specialties from the South.
Southern Hospitality Hell's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Saturday was the last day...We decided to go to brunch. The brunch concept is not as popular in France as it is here. Many years ago, when I was living in Paris, I used to go with my friends for a Sunday brunch, but it was a novelty (we used to go to Le Loup Blanc that still serves a brunch for 22 EUR with all you can eat croissants and chocolate croissants!).  

I checked on and found this place few blocks from Times Square as it was one of the places we were supposed to see. We ended up at 44 1/2 on 44th street and 10th Avenue.
Image of 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
This place is pretty cool, very modern and very bright.
Image of 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It has a nice patio in the back...
Image of Corn bread at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York

...that you can see behind the corn bread!

They serve traditional brunch dishes such as eggs, French toast...

Jodi went for the California Omelet.
Image of California omelet at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was made with egg whites, tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella and avocado on top. It was pretty good. The eggs were perfectly cooked and it was a great healthy dish. On the top left side, you can see some fruits cut into cubes: all the dishes had some. Great idea to clean your palate at the end!

My brother ordered the andouille sausage frittata.
Image of Andouille sausage frittata at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was made with green onions, white cheddar and truffle oil. Very good dish too, although I missed the taste of the truffle oil...

On my side, I ordered the crab cakes benedict.
Image of Crab cakes benedict at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was served with a homemade Hollandaise sauce that was delicious. The crab cakes were not the best I ever had, but I enjoyed it! It had a bit of sweetness that reminded me my first attempt at crab cakes!

This was a great brunch, but we were so stuffed at the end that we decided to pass on dessert and walk on the high line...

44 1/2 on Urbanspoon

Of course, after that walk, we needed a snack and we thought that it would be a great idea to go, before my brother took his flight, to the Doughnut Plant (review of the Doughnut Plant here).

Jodi got her coconut donut, my brother the peanut butter and banana one and for me, I simply ordered the tres leches that is one of their best selling and always a hit!
Image of Tres leches doughnut at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
We had a great time with my brother and wish we had more time together. I would have had for sure found so many other places to try: deli (Junior's), bagels,...It will be for another time!
Doughnut Plant on Urbanspoon

We enjoyed (we did)!

And remember: I just want to EAT!

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Salads at Pita Grill in Hoboken, NJ

After a week end full of food, we decided to have a salad at Pita Grill in Hoboken. Pita Grill is a chain that you can find in lots of places. The concept is healthy Mediterranean food.

We started off with a fresh squeezed orange juice.
This was a real fresh squeezed OJ, not a watered down one and for $3, there was a nice quantity of it!

For the salads, Jodi had the Goat cheese salad.
It is composed of mesclun greens, golden raisins and roasted walnuts tossed with a lemon honey vinaigrette. Served with grilled pita, topped with Goat cheese and caramelized onions. This is one of my favorites, especially the pita with caramelized onions and goat cheese! The sweetness of the onions completes so well the tartness of the cheese. Definitely to try!

On my side, I got a Pita Grill salad.
It is made of grilled chicken and basil-rubbed eggplant over mesclun greens, dried cranberries, crumbled Feta and with a roasted red pepper vinaigrette. That was delicious and fresh! The chicken was perfectly cooked: moist with a nice burnt taste on the charred areas. The vinaigrette was very light and subtle. I finished my plate!

So definitely, this is the place to go for a healthy lunch! I will try to remember the day I go to another food marathon...

Enjoy (I did)!

Pita Grill of Hoboken on Urbanspoon

Philippo's in Clark, NJ

Last time, we grab some sandwiches at Philippo's Pizza in Clark, NJ. I love Italian sandwiches: I find it a very comforting food. What is important for me in an Italian sandwich is a soft bread and lots of cheese!

It is the second time we tried food there. This time, we went with an all parmigiana menu: eggplant parmigiana and chicken parmigiana subs.

The subs are huge!
Imagine that what you are seeing on the photo is half a eggplant parmigiana sandwich on a regular plate! And it only costs $8.50!

I loved it: great taste and not greasy at all! They were very generous with the amount of eggplant.
The chicken parmigiana sub was also big and loaded with cheese. It was good, but the chicken was cut too thin so its taste did not always go through.

For this second try, this was again very good, at a very reasonable price. Definitely a good place to go to if you crave Italian subs, cold or hot!

Enjoy (I did)!

Philippo's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Chicken Galore restaurant in Union City, NJ

Jodi was having dinner with one of her friend so I decided to treat myself with some fried chicken (I love it!). I therefore ordered a combination platter from Chicken Galore in Union City.

The platter is composed of: 3 pieces of fried chicken, 2 ribs, coleslaw, onion rings and fries.
The way it came was a bit disappointing as everything was on top of each other! The ribs were buried under the fries and onions rings.
There was a delicious BBQ sauce, but unfortunately the meat was a bit tough.

The chicken however was perfect!
The meat was perfectly cooked and moist, there was a perfect amount of breading and it was not greasy. I detected some nice spices in the breading that added a nice touch to it.

The French fries were steak cut: they were not crispy but it could be attributed to the delivery that caused them to steam a bit. The coleslaw had an off taste and the onion rings were forgettable!

So, I would definitely order back the Fried Chicken from Chicken Galore: only this...

Enjoy (I did)!

 Chicken Galore on Urbanspoon

Matt & Meera, American-Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ - Closed

I have discovered this little gem in Hoboken that replaced Kati Roll a month ago: Matt & Meera. At first, we were not sure what we would get there as the name did not really indicate anything in particular. I was not even sure it would be a restaurant! 

We went a first time and it was so good that we came back! The first time, I was lucky to meet one of the owners Chef Hari Nayak who wrote several cookbooks. He told me that the idea was to put together American and Indian cuisine, bring Indian spices and twist to American classics. In fact, the name itself is made of a common name in the US (Matt) and a common name in India (Meera): these people do not exist and only represent the fusion the Chef wanted to create.

I like the place: simple and warm with its bricks and wood.

They have a communal table in the middle of the dining room and a large shelf full of sauces you can purchase. I bought their Habanero mustard and really like it!

The service is fast and courteous. At first, I thought it was a fast food, because you order at the counter, but in fact, they will bring the food at the table, in plates, like in any restaurant. They also pay attention to the presentation as I hope my photos will show!  The nice and sometimes playful plating gives another dimension to this place that you could not have guessed considering the prices displayed on their menu! At the time of this post, the most expensive item on the menu, the soft shell crab sandwich is $9! For sure, not all the items are full plates as the principle is to share, but still!

Looking at the menu, you will definitely recognize some authentic Indian specialties, such as the samosas:

Samosas are crispy turnover filled with this time either potatoes, vegetables or meat. We decided to try these three fillings, but you can pick which one you want. They are served with a tomato mustard chutney.

The potato and the vegetables samosa were delicious, packed with spices! As the vegetables are cut in small pieces and not pureed, you get a different flavor at each bite.

The meat samosa was amazing! The meat was definitely lamb and it was also packed with spices that reminded me of kefta that are meatballs you find in Oriental cuisine. 

This with the delicious tomato mustard chutney was awesome! I also appreciated the fact that the samosas were crispy and not greasy at all! The shell was perfectly cooked and not doughy.

Then we tried the Meera's Chicken TikkaMasala  kebab:

I love chicken Tikka Masala! So I was thrilled to try this! The chicken is pan seared and dipped in tikka masala sauce. It was a bit tough to remove the chicken from the skewer and the sauce was missing some depth. It was just ok for me.

Then we got their most ordered item: the "Naan" Chos.

This is the perfect example of the fusion between American and Indian cuisine. The chips are made of naan and there is some melted masala cheese all over it, with a scoop of cream cheese, some chutneys and some guacamole (for sure the guacamole was not fresh). I thought it was a great idea! The naan chips were crispy and their dryness was complemented by the melted cheese, sour cream and guacamole. The dish had a nice little kick! Overall a great idea.

The second time we went, we ordered again the samosa and I decided to try the lamb burger.

I thought it would be a smaller size burger, but in fact it was pretty big! It came in a metal bucket that gave a nice touch to the presentation. The bread was a soft toasted brioche bread and there was some lettuce, tomato and red onion with the lamb patty.

I asked for the burger to be cooked medium and it came at the perfect temperature! The meat was juicy and very tasty. With the lamb, they put the same spices that gave that particular taste to the meat samosa. There was no need to add any cheese, ketchup or mayo. It was incredibly good!

For one more dollar, we added some homemade crispy masala chips that were the perfect side to the burger.

Jodi ordered one kati roll:

It is like a wrap made with a thin bread that I believe was a roti. She picked the tofu roll. It was pretty tasty and there was a nice eggy taste thanks to the omelet they laid on the roti before rolling it.   

The third time we went, we decided to try more classic dishes to see how the Indian influence translated to.

First were Matt's calamari.

They are crispy calamari served with a mustard tomato chutney. This was delicious: the calamari were perfectly cooked, meaning that they were not rubbery; it was crispy and not greasy with a hint of spices that slowly builds up in the back of your mouth, but is still not strong.

For the spiciness, I went for the grilled chicken wings.

These are red chili wings cooked in a tandoor. If you like spicy, this is definitely for you! Although my mouth was on fire, I loved it! Very tasty. The spiciness hits you right away and the only way to diffuse it is to dip the wings in the sauce they serve it with. Not sure what is was made of, but I certainely could taste some pepper.

The last dish was their naan pizza.

The pizza looked very appetizing and was fantastic! You can even try to make it at home after buying naan bread at the supermarket. Yes, the dough is replaced by some naan bread that is very thin and becomes crispy during the cooking process. They do not put any tomato sauce, just cheese and the different ingredients. I did not really care for the spinach and did not taste the mint at all. However, the flavor of the mushroom and pepper gave some freshness to it. Both were blended with the cheese (I hate when mushrooms are added at the end). Overall very good!

Each times, we got some fantastic dishes at Matt & Meera and we will sure go back there! My only regret is that they do not serve sweet lassi that I love and have no desserts. They do serve mango lassi and a cucumber cooler that I have tried and was delish, but they cannot replace a good sweet lassi! They told me that they will soon start proposing a dinner menu. I will for sure try it!!!

Enjoy (I did)!

Matt and Meera on Urbanspoon

Brunch at The Cuban in Hoboken, NJ

After this exquisite dinner we had at The Cuban in Hoboken few months ago (see review by clicking here), we decided to go back, but this time for brunch! Especially since we saw that they serve a tres leches French Toast! Yes, you read well: tres leches French Toast!

So we started with the Tortilla de papa y chorizo.

It is a fluffy omelet with potatoes, chorizo, onion, manchego cheese and tomato  escabeche (escabeche means a dish marinated in an acidic mixture such as vinegar or lemon). That was some omelet! First, the portion was of a good size. Then, it tasted great! The eggs were beautifully cooked: overcooked, eggs can be dry. These were very moist. They cut all the ingredients in it in small pieces, so you could get a bit of everything at each bite.

Then came the torrejas.
The way they make it is that they crust the bread with almonds and corn flakes. In the bottom, they put some tres leches as the photo below shows:
What was great is that the tres leches was not too sweet at all. Otherwise it would have been horrible with the maple syrup!

So, both dishes were fantastic and we ended up paying $23! I will definitely go back there and encourage you to try!

Enjoy (I sure did)!

TGI Friday's in Iselin, NJ

Believe it or not, but the first time I heard about TGI Friday's was many years ago, before coming in this country, in Seoul, South Korea. I did not go for food but for drinks, before hitting a Korean BBQ joint for an amazing Bulgogi.
So, this time, I went to TGI Friday's in Iselin, New Jersey, for lunch. It was a Saturday and the restaurant was not that crowded. The service was very courteous and efficient.

We started with mozzarella sticks.

It was served with a pretty good marinara sauce. I liked it: it was golden brown, tasty and not greasy at all. The inside was very gooey. It came very, very hot!

The second appetizer was spinach flatbread.
That was also very good: the flatbread was crispy and the tomatoes added some freshness to it. I was surprised to like it because I am not a big fan of spinach (except a la creme...), but I guess the cheese on top helped...

For the healthy conscious, they propose a grilled chicken cobb salad.
We got it without the chicken. It was made with slices of avocado, eggs, tomatoes, bacon and crumbled blue cheese. It was simple, but good.

The next dish was fried shrimp with seasoned fries and cocktail sauce.
I think it was my least favorite: too much breading on the shrimp. Too bad because they were perfectly cooked, golden brown on the outside, crispy and not greasy. 

Then came the cheese burger.
I heard that TGI Friday's was known for the burgers so I had to try one! The burger was made of black angus beef: it was very tasty and I would add that it tasted like... meat! It was topped with two slices of cheese (I hate when restaurants only put one very thin slice of cheese on a burger!), red onion, lettuce and tomato. The bread was a brioche bread that was toasted. I really enjoyed it. Of course it is not comparable to BLT Burger, Shake Shack or Corner Bistro, but it was pretty good! It was served, similar to the fried shrimp, with French fries, regular cut that were crispy.

The last part was of course dessert! TGI Friday's serves a bunch of decadent desserts such as the Brownie Obsession (a warm brownie made with Ghirardelli® chocolate-fudge sauce, topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel and pecans).

We ordered the Chocolate peanut pie:
It was: chocolate ganache layered with peanut butter mousse in a peanut butter graham cracker crust, topped with whipped cream and a peanut butter cup. I had a bite of it and it was delcious. The ganache was very good and the layers worked extremely well together!

The other dessert was a vanilla bean cheesecake.
It was made with real vanilla beans, layered with white chocolate mousse and baked in a graham cracker crust, topped with white chocolate shavings. I liked it too although I would have preferred a more dense cake (once you tried Junior's cheesecake, you have high standards!). The white chocolate mousse was very good and light and the graham cracker crust was awesome!

So, surprisingly, I had a great lunch there! You see: it is not because it is a chain that you cannot have a great food experience!

Enjoy (I did)!
TGI Friday's on Urbanspoon

Bonefish restaurant in Iselin, NJ

Bonefish Grill is very popular in Iselin as the long line and the wait the day we went could attest.
The restaurant was packed causing the service to be a bit slow. The restaurant, as its name suggests, is specialized in seafood. Of course, if you do not like it, you can order some beef or chicken. The grilled fish they serve is cooked over a wood burning grill that I did not have a chance to see.

So we started the dinner with the crab cakes.

There were two nice little crab cakes served with a red remoulade. As you can see on the photo, you could immediately see that they use jumbo lump crab. The cakes were nicely seared, golden and came with a red remoulade. Unfortunately, they put celery in it and it was overpowering the crab. I could not even eat it.

At the same time, we tried the Bang Bang shrimp.
It is supposed to be their popular choice. It is fried shrimp in a creamy spicy sauce. This appetizer was pretty good! A bit spicy, but the shrimp were tasty and perfectly cooked.

I also tried the corn chowder with lump crab.
With all the food we ordered, I decided to get a cup, not a bowl. This was very good, although a bit too spicy. I would have liked more crab in it, but it was a decent amount!

The last appetizer was the Ahi Tuna Sashimi.
It was a sesame crusted seared Ahi Tuna with a wasabi and pickled ginger. The sauce was delicious, but the tuna fell short! It was tasteless and there was too much sesame seeds.

The other tuna dish we tried was the Ahi Tuna "Tokyo Style".
It ended up being like the sashimi, but served with vegetables and jasmine rice! So disappointing!

I did not really like my dinner at Bonefish Grill. Too bad because they have a good concept and you would expect that a restaurant specialized in seafood would succeed in making dishes as traditional as crab cakes or sashimi!

I did not enjoy (I did not)!

Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon

Imposto restaurant and pizza in Hoboken, NJ

Have you ever noticed that, it is always the same types of food that you crave: burgers, pizza and subs! Imposto's does not serve burgers, but they surely serve pizza and subs!

It is a small place and when you enter, you cannot miss the original pizza they display. Imagine that: Mac & Cheese, Chicken Alfredo, Freedom fries (you mean FRENCH fries?) with gravy or buffalo chicken pizza!

Of course, they also have regular pizza: white pie, margarita...We decided to try their Sicilian.
The pizza is thick (of course - but thicker than usual) and the crust has a nice charr. Unfortunately, the crust was not crispy, the sauce was average and there was not enough cheese! The pizza was very salty. This was not good; I prefer the Sicilian at Uptown pizza or Basile's.

We also tried one of their subs. As it was the first time we tried theirs, we picked the Imposto's special sub.
It was a 12 inches long sub, made with ham, capacola, salami, turkey, provolone, tomatoes and lettuce. The bread was tough (I would have preferred an Italian bread) and it was very salty too. A bit disappointing...

This was not great and if they cannot make good standard food, I do not see how the original pizza they offer can be good. Disappointing!

Enjoy (the post)!

Imposto Restaurant & Pizza on Urbanspoon

The Cuban restaurant in Hoboken, NJ

Few weeks ago, I went to The Cuban in Hoboken, NJ. I did not know what to expect as there are already several Cuban restaurants over there. Where La Isla seems to be the authentic cheap establishment, The Cuban seems to be more upscale and offers a contemporary twist to Cuban specialties.

 We decided to go, but not on a week end as this type of restaurant, that is also a lounge, can be packed and noisy: not the best for a romantic diner. They sat us next to the bar, on a high table made of dark wook. Jodi sat on the comfortable leather banquette while I faced her on a high chair (yes guys: leave the choice of the seat to the Lady!). 

The menu provides all sorts of dishes that can satisfy any palate: salads, meat, fish...Appetizers go from $6 to $12, while entrees go from $18 to $26.

At first, they brought us some bread.

As you can see on the photo, it was in a cigar box! The bread was a cheese bread, very light and fluffy that reminded me of a French delicacy called Gougere. It was delicious and I truly appreciated the fact that they were ready to bring us more, without us asking (he he!).

We started the diner with the cheese plate.
I know: this is not very Cuban, but we love cheese! It was in fact some artisan Spanish cheeses such as manchego and blue. They served it with some meat and a delicious lavender honey (Tip: if you do not like strong cheeses, you can counteract the taste with honey, butter or jam).

At the same time, we got the Aguacate Y Tomate salad.
It was composed of avocado, tomatoes, pickled onions, drizzled with sherry oregano vinaigrette. The dressing was perfect and the salad was very fresh. I loved the acidity that the pickled onions added to the dish!

The last appetizer we tried was the empanada.
They propose three types: chicken, beef (ropa vieja) and vegetarian. We went full on vegetarian. It was made of fire roasted vegetables, goat cheese, tomato escabeche. I loved it! the shell was slightly greasy, but the ingredients worked perfectly together, especially the goat cheese and the tomato escabeche.

Then came the entree: it was the Arroz Imperial.
It is a boneless chicken, served with tomato manchego rice, peas, olives, drizzled with aioli (garlic mayonnaise). The chicken was excellent: perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The rice was good too but a bit dry. There was some chicken in it! Eaten with the aioli and the grilled cheese on top, it was succulent.

The last and best part of the meal was dessert...We ordered the traditional Tres Leches.
It was perfect and gooey!

I guess after reading this, you understand that we had a fantastic dinner! It is a great place and there are plenty of dishes on the menu that I would like to try. So I guess I have no other choice than go back...What a sacrifice!  This is a great addition to the Hoboken restaurant scene.

Enjoy (I did)!

 The Cuban on Urbanspoon