Over at the venerable Travel & Leisure (first launched in 1937, and still rocking nearly 5 million subscribers according to Wikipedia), they’ve taken a culinary tour of Hoboken and written up a story listing their Top 6 best restaurants in town. Putting aside the obvious point that six is kind of a random number (why not 5? or 10?), we took a look and naturally have thoughts.
Our first thought concerns the introduction, in which they suggest you should save dessert for Carlo’s Bake Shop, apparently because Carlo’s has been baking since 1910. Which, look, we love Carlo’s Bake Shop as much as any of the tourists who line up outside to take pictures, but there are a lot of great choices for baked goods in this town, is all we’re saying, and if you want true Italian goodness, hit up Giorgio’s.
That said, let’s take a look at their choices.
What T&L said: “the views of the Hudson are reason enough to reserve a table.”
Our Take: Erm, okay? Look, Halifax is a fantastic restaurant with a legit farm-to-table vibe, and Chef Seadon Shouse has put together an ever-changing menu that is well worth whatever obstacles you have to overcome to eat there. We’ll stipulate all of that. Which is why it’s bizarre that the main reason T&L can come up with to go there is the view of New York City. Frankly, it almost seems like a subtle dig at Hoboken—you should only come here so you can get a view of The City.
What T&L said: “visit hungry and ready to sip down tropical cocktails while you feast on daily specials”
Our Take: We cannot argue with this, though the cocktails reference means they’re referring to La Isla Uptown, which, while excellent, lacks a bit of the old-school charm of the original spot on Washington Street. In fact, since they note that La Isla has been around since 1970 we’re not sure they even know there are two locations. Here at HoLi we love both, but if you’re hitting up the place for the first time bring a bottle of wine (or two) to the BYOB downtown location and soak up the ambiance as well as the excellent food.
What T&L said: “led by James Beard award-winning chef Maricel E. Presilla, this colorful pan-Latin restaurant serves dishes that will take you on a flavorful tour of Central and South America”
Our Take: Anything Presilla touches turns delicious, we stipulate, and Cucharamama is fantastic and at exactly the level of upscale that makes it special without becoming fussy. However, we’d also shout out to Presilla’s slightly less fancy spot, Zafra, a few blocks uptown on Clinton. It shares the pan-Latin menu philosophy, the food is plentiful and delicious, and it’s dirt cheap.
What T&L said: “Hoboken has no shortage of Italian delis, but only Fiore’s serves this Saturday special: a roast beef sandwich drenched in gravy and stuck together with homemade mozzarella”
Our Take: We have no beef with this (see what we did there). Sure, Vito’s and Lisa’s and the rest are excellent Italian delis, but Fiore’s is the king.
What T&L said: “serves wood-fired pies created from homemade dough and creamy, house-made fior di latte cheese”
Our Take: When Dozzino is firing on all cylinders it can be a mind-blowing pizza experience, but if you’re looking for the best pizza in Hoboken, we’d recommend the old standby, Grimaldi’s. It’s more old-school and less hipster-adventurous, which is why it doesn’t get as much attention as Dozzino, but it’s got the whole, you know, pizza aspect on lock.
What T&L said: “we love this Korean fried chicken counter, where wings, drumsticks, boneless fillets, and whole chickens are fried to a masterful crisp and dunked in a variety of sauces”
Our Take: Hoboken is suffering from the First World Problem known as a catastrophic lack of fried chicken. Chicken Factory is awesome, and yes, if you’re in the mood for fried chicken you pretty much have to go there or, we don’t know, Cluck U? But Top 6 in the whole city? We disagree.
What do y’all think? Did T&L get this right, or did they miss the mark?