Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Few months ago, I got invited to Hudson Hall, the only beer hall and smokehouse in Jersey City, conveniently located few blocks from the Grove Street path station. I love the feel of that place: casual and warm, it is quite spacious. We were there at 6pm on Friday last week and were surprised to see so many families with young kids having dinner, in a relaxed atmosphere with music in the background, not too loud, maybe on purpose, but definitely allowing diners to hear each other. The menu this time was a bit different, the new Chef, Klaus Kronsteiner, who worked at Chez Catherine in Westfield, a highly-regarded French restaurant, crafting an interesting menu, made of bar food as well as more elegant dishes, such as the duck confit that you would never expect in such place, although a brasserie item. Served with pearl couscous, butternut squash purée and a fermented berry coulis, it was succulent: the duck was perfectly made, with a crispy and fatty skin, over a delicious meat that was nicely salty.
Proposing both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, you cannot really identify a country specific cuisine. For instance, they serve a fantastic smoked guacamole (remember: it is a smoke house), with a presentation that you would not expect in such place as you can see on the video below. The guac came with various pickled vegetables as well as pita chips.
Another great vegetarian dish is their portobello mushrooms fries, deliciously crispy and slightly greasy, served with a lime aioli.
Or the pierogis, served with caramelized onions.Crispy, they were filled with cheese.
We also tried the house cured and smoked salmon, served with latkes, yogurt dill and salmon roe, reminiscent of delicatessens. Well, that was also very good: the smoked salmon was sublime, seasoned with herbs and spices, like pastrami. It was delicious just like that, or with the yogurt and latkes.
The last entrée we tried was their burger, topped with pork belly, cheddar cheese, red onion, lettuce and aioli. It was superb: the meat was perfectly cooked medium and was very juicy, with a nice char. I loved the pork belly that gave a nice smokiness to it. I should in fact mentioned, as you can see in the video below, that, similar to the guacamole, the burger is smoked. The burger was served with some French fries like I like them: crispy and cooked all the way through.
Last was dessert and they treated us with a dessert sampler, made of crispy bread pudding balls, Pilsner tiramisu and apple strudel a la mode. My favorite was the apple strudel that could have been served warmer, and then the tiramisu. I admit that I did not like the bread pudding balls, that had like an after taste.
Of course, it is a beer hall, so I did not just have tap water...They have a huge beer list, on tap or by the bottle. But I decided to go with one of their cocktails, most of them made with whiskey. My choice was The Iron Skull, made with Basil Hayden Rye Whiskey, Pilsner Urquell Milk Pour and Pilsner Urquell caramel. Lots of people are apparently surprised when this cocktail comes, especially when they see the milk pour aka beer head or beer collar. It is a great cocktail if you want something on the lighter side, and I loved the fact that the whiskey taste comes as a second wave when you take a sip, the first wave being the taste of the beer as well as some sweetness from the milk head.
We had a great time at Hudson Hall: it is definitely a place to know, with a unique menu that would satisfy a large crowd, whether you want bar food or a nicer dish. And it is not too far from the path, so imagine it is like going from Manhattan to Brooklyn...Worth the trip for sure!
Enjoy (I did)!
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Hudson Hall - 364 Marin Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07302