This week’s review: The Elysian Café located on 10th and Washington in Hoboken. A pretty cool and classy venue, as far as the ‘Boken is concerned. And with charming decor both inside and out, it’s the perfect local spot to wash away my Labor Day blues, which have set in exceptionally hard. I pick up Elana at her apartment, and we make the walk uptown.
Upon being greeted by the hostess, we are lucky enough to get a table outside which didn’t look possible at first. The outdoor seating is packed, as it should be. The weather is still nice, and the Elysian’s outdoor scene is one of the best in Hoboken. Its curbside location is great for people watching, yet it feels deceptively secluded with its trees (or is it just a tree?) that create an intimate feel. Inside, there are two rooms: both of which have considerable, yet quite dissimilar, character. After all, the brownstone building dates back to 1895, and, throughout its history, housed both an ice cream parlor and hair salon. (This interesting factoid prompts me to daydream of getting the dome trimmed as I sit in an old time barber chair while eating spoonfuls of Haagen Dazs).
Our outdoor table is small but equipped with cool dishtowels with a faded stripe down the middle in lieu of a napkin. I like these things, just way cooler than some ol’ napkin flapping around in the breeze. I’m pretty sure only good restaurants do this, but I’m probably overreacting. Like I said, it is Labor Day – and I am emotional and reading too much into things.
Drinks are first. And while the selection looked pretty awesome, our ultimate cocktails were just ok. My drink, the English Dandy (Hendrick’s, Lemonade, mint and club soda) was great. It was mild and tangy, like a gin drink should be. Elana got the Hendrick’s Pink 75: (Hendrix, Maple Syrup, lemon juice, rose champagne). It was a bit too tangy and tart for both of our tastes.
For appetizers, we ordered 12 Kumamoto oysters (we had asked for Blue Point, but they had run out, and gave us the Kumamoto oysters at the Blue Point Price – a nice gesture) which were nicely presented in a bucket of ice. These suckers were extremely fresh and came with some garlic vinegar sauce which paired well with the oysters.
For entrees, I ordered the Burgundy Braised Beef Short Ribs with Yukon gold taters and tempura onion rings, and Elana selected the Cod, which was new on the menu. The ribs were very good – juicy and flavorful, and when I was too lazy to pick up my knife –tender enough to accommodate fork-only cutting. The taters and onions were a great compliment. Elana’s cod was equally impressive, it came in a tomatoey-white wine broth with little neck clams, and chorizo (!!). The cod was perfectly flaky, and the broth light and smoky (flavored by the chorizo).
Since Elysian is a French Bistro, we had to order their Crème Brulee, which was fantastic. A snappy, slightly burned outer crust, which, when cracked, gave way to a cream of perfect consistency and taste. Lots of visible vanilla beans too. I could have eaten 15 of those things.
Elana took one for the team and made the to trip to the bathrooms which she described as “very clean and orderly….With….wait for it….and Xlerator!!!” ‘Nuff said.
The service at Elysian was ok. The dinner took slightly longer than expected, and our waitress (a nice young girl) forgot our fries…which, by the way, are awesome here. But we were so full that we did not care, nor were we charged for them.
Also, for those wondering, Elysian has a good cheese selection.
We really enjoyed our experience at Elysian. While it falls short of the ultimate food experience, their dishes are well presented and made. It’s a solid, upper echelon choice for those dining in Hoboken. We’ll be back for sure.
Overall Experience – Top Gun