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I’m probably not alone when I say 2020 was not a good year, and on New Year’s Eve my expectations for 2021 were pretty low. I hadn’t come up with a New Year’s resolution and was probably not going to bother; I feared that 2021 would be as boring as 2020. Around 10:30PM while I was getting ready to Zoom with friends, I got an idea. Earlier that day I had read about a new restaurant opening. I had barely gone out to eat in 2020, and suddenly the idea of going out, somewhere new, was exciting. What if my resolution was to start trying new restaurants? Instead of always wanting to go to Court Street or order from Napoli’s, my resolution should be to branch out to the rest of Hoboken.
I started by making a quick list of places that I had been meaning to try and noted the new restaurant that I had read was expected to open in the Spring. I easily came up with at least a dozen places that I hadn’t been to and decided that one new restaurant a month would be a good goal. Not all of the places on my list are new to Hoboken, most are just places that are new to me. My list includes a mix of cuisines and price points from very casual to upscale. I was excited that my last-minute resolution would not only get me out of my apartment, where way too much of 2020 was spent, but I would also be supporting local businesses!
Winter 2021: A Strong Start
^ Lo Fatt Chow
The first rainy Friday in January I asked a friend to order takeout with me. I had heard good things about Lo Fatt Chow, and I didn’t have a go-to Chinese spot, so that was an easy choice for my first restaurant. My friend and I both loved our dishes! She got Chicken with Seven Vegetables and I got Beef and Broccoli and Steamed Chicken Dumplings. Delivery took a long time, but I chalked it up to it being a cold rainy Friday. The food was so good it was worth the wait. I’ve ordered from them a few more times since January and had good experiences and faster delivery. This is now my go-to Chinese place and I have recommended it to several friends. Successful first month: check.
^ Midtown Philly Cheesesteak
The next few months I was still very Covid safe. I didn’t want to eat indoors and it was too cold to eat outdoors, so I did a lot of takeout and delivery. I tried Muteki Ramen (Shoyu Ramen and Shrimp Shumai); Pastrami House (corned beef sandwich and potato pancakes with applesauce); Mr. Wraps (Buffalo chicken wrap); Apulia (Caesar salad and Biancaneve Pizza); and Midtown Philly Steaks (chicken cheesesteak).
Pastrami House was the standout of this group as Hoboken had been in need of a good Jewish deli for a long time, and the latkes did not disappoint! This is another place I have now been to more than once and will keep going back to.
Another noteworthy experience: the exceptional staff at Mr. Wraps. I was there on a busy day and after ordering I waited outside to get out of the crowd. When my order was ready, rather than just calling out my name, someone brought it out to me, which I appreciated, and of course, the wrap was huge and delicious
Spring 2021: Things are Looking Up
^ Dolce + Salato
By May I was vaccinated, the weather was nice, and I was excited to eat at restaurants. At Dolce and Salato, my chicken pesto panini was delicious and it came with a big portion of mesclun salad. Of course, my friend and I both ordered some treats to go. The Nutella pastries were incredible, and I would definitely go back and try other things on the menu.
I had been wanting to go to Sorellina for a long time and when my neighbor told me that Wednesday is flight night, it became a priority. In addition to the wine flights, my friend and I shared two kinds of seasonal bruschetta, and I ordered the short rib farfalle as my entree. The portions were on the small side, and the menu is small too, but I would still go back.
^ BK Lobster
I love all forms of lobster so I was excited when I read about BK Lobster opening! A friend and I ordered delivery, and although it took over an hour to arrive, the food was still warm. The restaurant had only been open for a few weeks at this point so I had expected it to be very busy. I’m pretty picky about my lobster rolls and often disappointed if there is not enough lobster meat, but this one was very good. It had a decent amount of lobster and was not too buttery. The fries were just okay, but I really only cared about the lobster. I think it would be better to eat there or pick up the food instead of getting delivery, but there are more BK Lobster rolls in my future no matter what. Speaking of lobster, the lobster egg rolls at Saku were awesome and I would go back just for them (and maybe a lychee martini).
Friends suggested I try Souza Fit (chicken panini) and Alfalfa (build your own salad). Alfalfa’s delivery came very quickly, unfortunately omitting the donut my friend had ordered. She called to ask the restaurant to credit her and they not only did that, but they also sent the delivery person back with a box of donuts for her. Way to go, customer service! I really enjoyed my salad and although I can’t say I crave salad very often if I ever do, I’d be happy to order from there again.
Summer 2021: On a Hot Streak
July brought me to O’Bagel (classic bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel) for the first time and I was back for a second time within a week. I have no idea why it took me so long to give this place a try.
At Olivia’s, my friend and I shared a bottle of wine and the crispy artichoke appetizer which was very tasty. My skirt steak entree was cooked perfectly. When we finished our wine we decided to order a round of sangria for dessert. Big mistake – it comes in a glass the size of a fishbowl! I missed that the menu calls out its 22oz size and I definitely regretted that sangria in the morning. Bad judgment aside, we had a lovely night. I’ll go back to Olivia’s but next time I’ll stick to wine or sangria, never again both!
^ Touch the Heart
My most recent restaurant was Touch the Heart. This is a great place to go with people you like sharing food with so that you can try a variety. My friends and I ordered a bunch of dishes (dumplings, bao, rice, and noodles) and shared. I liked everything we tried, but my favorites were the Peking Duck Dumplings and the Surf and Turf Fried Rice. This is a great addition to Hoboken. I’m looking forward to trying other things on their menu soon.
^ Touch the Heart
I’m really proud of myself for making it this far into the year without abandoning my New Year’s Resolution. Even though my goal was one restaurant a month, so far I’ve been to 15, and I’m really looking forward to continuing. Of course in between all of these new dining adventures I’ve made sure to still give some love to my OG favorites Court Street (the shrimp and lobster pasta while not on the regular menu is a frequent nightly special and is my favorite dish in Hoboken), and Napoli’s where you can’t go wrong with the Margherita pizza and garlic knots. Over the next few months, some of the new-to-me places I want to try are Sirenetta, Chango Kitchen, and10th Street Pizza. I’m also eagerly awaiting some new places opening like La Boheme and Pit Master BBQ.