There are not that many restaurants that have a unique way of doing things that sticks in your mind. When people ask me about a life changing dining experience, I often think about Noma, where Chef Rene Redzepi showcases unusual ingredients that Mother Nature has to offer like moss or flowers. In New York, I think about The Marshal in Hell’s Kitchen, that cooks all the dishes in their wood fire oven (they do not have a regular oven, so even the S’mores are cooked in there) and in Hoboken, there is Antique Bar and Bakery, downtown. There, Chef and co-owner Paul Gerard stays true to their motto “Break bread, not promises” by crafting an Italian menu inspired from classic dishes, prepared using French techniques and cooked in their coal fire oven. Sitting next to the kitchen is a treat as you can observe the magic happen in front of your eyes.
That day, they proposed some roasted pork that looked impressive and I admit that if I was not set to have their ribeye, I would have gone for it!
I admit that I was mesmerized by it and kept going back and forth between ordering the pork or the ribeye, driving Jodi a bit crazy. Having both would not have been reasonable as their dirty ribeye is a 2 pounds piece of meat and Jodi being vegetarian, it meant that it was all for me. I guess they call it the dirty ribeye because of all the products they put on top: lemon, roasted garlic, peppers and herbs give an incredible flavor, without overpowering the delicious piece of dry aged meat, that was tender, juicy and extraordinary flavorful. I always hesitate to order meat when not in a steakhouse because often either the quality is not there or they do not know how to cook it. Well, at Antique Bar and Bakery, this is a must have.
With it, I got their smoked golds and garlic chimi, a fantastic side also (perfectly) cooked in the coal fire oven, where potatoes are served skin on in a delicious chimichurri sauce.
But it is not the only dish of the entire meal. We in fact started with a special that was their homemade mozzarella with roasted figs: the cheese is served warm, so it is softer. That dish was amazing: topped with a bit of salt and some balsamic vinegar, it was both sweet and savory, far from the classic tomato and mozzarella salad. They bring it with their homemade bread that is drizzled with olive oil, but I could anyway eat that dish without as it is very, very good.
For her entree, Jodi got their lasagna edges, one of the few vegetarian dishes they propose. It is made with burnt butter mushrooms, herbs, cheese and served with homemade bread. This is succulent although a bit oily. Do not think it is anything close to lasagna: the name refers to the pasta itself.
Of course we could not leave without getting a dessert. We hesitated as their dirty chocolate cake is fantastic but finally settled for the frozen cannoli sundae that is made with crushed cannoli shells and cannoli ice cream. This is a good take on a classic Italian dessert and it was quite big, especially after such a feast!
Know that Antique Bar and Bakery has a full bar with interesting cocktails like the Jonnhy Friendly made with Misunderstood Ginger Spiced Whiskey, sage, lemon and agave.
So yes, Antique Bar and Bakery is one of Hoboken’s best restaurants. Going there, you are sure to get amazing food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. I definitely recommend it whether you are leaving in the Mile Square city or not: it is worth the trip!
Enjoy (I did)!
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Antique Bar and Bakery - 122 Willow Avenue, NJ 07030