Last year, we received word that Barbès owners Lisa and Omar Balouma and Abdellah Ksiyer were taking over the former Cucharamama location at 233 Clinton Street. And finally — over a year later — La Boheme, ‘a slice of the French Riviera,’ has soft-opened in Hoboken as of Friday, December 10th. This new locale is bringing a piece of Southern France to downtown Hoboken. Read on for more about the menu and concept.
The Very Lowkey Opening
While we’ve been waiting for news on the opening for a while, just Friday evening La Boheme’s Instagram account posted about its opening.
“H e l l o • Hoboken ✨ We heard you were all ready for us to open our doors ••• Starting tonight our home is yours • A vacation just steps away from your apartment await you • A little piece of the French Riviera #laboheme
We will be opening slowly • No reservations & serving a limited menu • We are so excited to share our newest gem with you #cheers.”
Our team checked out the space on the opening night, and it was already bustling with people, but the owners want the public to know that they’re slowly working out the kinks and appreciate understanding as they get things running smoothly.
A Taste of Southern France
The new spot on Clinton Street is an entirely different concept than the Barbès we all know and love, though still incorporating French roots. While Barbès is a Parisian bistro with a North African flare (inspired by the neighborhood of the same name in Paris), the new restaurant is heavily influenced by the French Rivieria.
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“When you are in North of Hoboken, you are essentially up north in France, now we will be bringing the south of France downtown,” Lisa shared with The Hoboken Girl. The South of France has a heavy Mediterranean influence, and the owners wanted to embrace that in the new space.
What to Expect
The ambiance of the new restaurant is light and open, with the same brick oven that Cucharmama housed front and center at the bar.
“We want to bring the outside indoors, the design will have a lot of natural materials; picture concrete floors and Venetian walls,” Lisa told HG.
The new owners will be using the brick oven for most of the menu at La Boheme, while also introducing a cuisine from the south of France that, according to Lisa, has yet to be seen — or tasted — in Hoboken.
“The cuisine is very healthy and light as Mediterranean cuisine is known to be. The menu will offer some typical southern Provencal dishes as well as many vegetarian and gluten-free options,” the owners shared.
Appetizers like Soupe à l’oignon (French onion soup), Les Moules, Marinières ou Provençale (Steamed mussels in white wine and herbs or tomato sauce), and Paella are on the menu, as well as brick oven pizza —including gluten-free dough.
Entrées include simple showstoppers like Risotto aux Champignons Sauvages (Wild mushrooms risotto with asparagus and truffle oil), and Saumon Grillé au Safran (Grilled salmon with saffron sauce, asparagus, and mashed potato) are just a few of the standouts.
The menu is relatively small and simple but is complemented perfectly with cocktails, similar to Barbes. The St. Tropez (coconut rum, mango purée, tripe sec, and agave), BB (a cosmo with a twist), and Clubb 55 (tequila, St. Germain, pineapple juice, lime juice, and chili flakes) are three to write home about. There is a selection of wines and sparkling elixirs to top it all off.
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“Many ideas for the menu came from my daughter’s visit to the south of France a few summers ago,” Lisa shared. “Layla is now 18, gluten-free, and very health conscious. Her time spent there made her even more aware of the benefits stemming from a Mediterranean diet.”
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“The love and support that we received during quarantine and during the entire last year solidified our desire to invest more in Hoboken,” Lisa said.
“People are in a sense stuck here and are looking for a staycation and Barbès has brought that to our community especially because of the parklets and we are excited to bring another special piece of Europe to Hoboken.”