Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Hoboken has a new restaurant in the W Hotel that is worth knowing. Replacing Zylo, a pretty good Italian steakhouse, this new restaurant called Halifax (it opened two weeks ago) will surely make its marks in the mile square city. First, the location is perfect: few minutes from the path train, it is on the river front with its stunning views of the New York City skyline.
Second, you do not really have such a restaurant in Hoboken, serving an elegant menu that is not overcomplicated. For sure, it is the restaurant of a hotel, but it does not feel like it. The decor has a coastal feel, matching the menu and I loved the light in the space, thanks to the large windows, allowing diners to eat with their eyes the succulent dishes. We arrived early, around 6pm, and the place was not that crowded until approximately 7pm when it started to fill up. By the time we left, it was packed, including a back room where a Bat Mitzvah was taking place.
So, Halifax gets its name from the capital of Nova Scotia, a region in Canada from where Chef, Seadon Shouse is (the bird you see on the logo of the restaurant is a belted kingfisher that is the emblem of that city and can be found on its official blazon). The restaurant fully adopts that name by proposing a seasonal and coastal menu, adapting even some classics to that theme, such as the deviled eggs topped with house-smoked herring. But Chef Shouse goes even further by making in house some amazing products such as smoked meats, smoked seafood, as well as some authentic Vermouth that I was able to try, some of them being really surprising and spectacular as you will see later on. We let Chef Shouse picked the dishes for our tasting and I can tell you that I did not regret it.
Our feast started with some popcorn made with smoked seaweed and horseradish, a fairly interesting start.
As well as a homemade Parker bread with homemade sea salt butter that was so good, we refused to have more as I could not resist it and would have not been able to eat the rest.
With this, I decided to try one of their signature cocktails and picked the Yankee Julep, made with mint-infused belvedere vodka, rum and mint syrup, a very refreshing drink.
Then came the Chef's selection of appetizers. What is great about the menu is that it offers items to share, with a wide variety, from smoked or cured meats, to smoked seafood or local cheeses. Served in a rustic manner, it was split between a dip sampler and a smoked or cured meats and seafood sampler, both served on a wooden plank and with some grilled Tuscan bread.
The dip sampler had a pea purée with bacon, an eggplant-tomato and goat cheese dip that had Mediterranean flavors, a warm ricotta and horseradish (interesting combination) and a Kunik goat cheese from a local purveyor.
The other dish had: smoked mussels, pork lomo, country terrine, maple smoked salmon and a duck liver paté.
Everything was really good, but I admit that the two items that really surprised me were the smoked mussels and the maple smoked salmon. The later was amazing, similar to a candied salmon, and I have to admit that they would not have told me it was salmon, I would have never guessed.
Continuing with our discovery of the menu, we got some starters. The first one was the house smoked salmon (no maple this time), served with red wine onions, dill, brioche and a horseradish cream.
The second one was an interesting creation: roasted asparagus with spring onion vinaigrette, poached egg and parmesan.
The last one was a clam chowder, one of my favorite soups. It was made with a generous amount of clams, house made smoked bacon and house made oysters crackers. It was delicious, although there was bit too much dill for me.
Then the entrées came (smaller portion fortunately as I started to be full!)...First was the Long Island back sea bass, served with sunchokes, tomato confit, sea beans and honey-lemon puree. This was succulent, the fish being perfectly cooked and moist, with a skin nicely torched.
The second entrée was a smoked Amish chicken, served with toasted bread, currants, pine nuts, scallions and local greens. The smokiness of the chicken was great and the chicken itself was perfectly cooked. This dish was like a chicken salad, but elevated.
The last entrée was the main lobster rigatoni (know that it comes in two sizes: as an appetizer like for us or as an entrée). It was served with lobster coral butter, trumpet mushrooms and lemon. I liked the dish and truly appreciated the fact that there was a generous amount of lobster and trumpet mushrooms. I also liked the way the pasta was cooked, slightly more than al dente.
With the dinner, I got a glass of Pinot Noir, Cycles Gladiator 2014 from California.
Last was dessert. We got to try the blueberry sundae, made with a fantastic homemade buttermilk gelato, blueberries and cornmeal cookies (this was my favorite dessert).
And the strawberry rhubarb parfait, made with a white chocolate mousse and streusel (those little crumbs you see on top).
But when we thought we were done, they served us their homemade oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, as well as their homemade Vermouth, a nice gesture to all their patrons.
This dinner was a feast and every single dish was delicious. I discovered Halifax and it will probably not be the last time I will go there: their menu is fantastic and unique in the city. Chef Seadon Shouse is definitely a talented Chef who showcases some creativity, but without over complicating dishes. Good luck to Halifax and the team behind it!
Enjoy (I did)!
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