Most of us were fans of Little Town, the brainchild of Michael Sinensky and Sean McGarr in collaboration with Albie and Chris Manzo of RHONJ fame. The brand has been re-imagined as Little Town Social, which brings their orginal idea to the next level by moving the location a bit out of the tourist/frat-boy zone and more into a neighborhood spot. That’s not to say it’s dive-y, boring, or where you bring your grandparents. Anything but. Little Town Social operates on the key word “social,” where people gather over high-quality shared plates at communal tables or at the bar.
The former Village Pourhouse space at 205 First St. has been revamped into a sophisticated gathering spot with a more intimate feel involving dim lighting and warm tones. The bar is still 360 degrees with 32 TVs, and features a mix of classic and artisinal cocktails, such as the Ellen Arthur Cosmo (Absolut, Cointreau, passion fruit and lime juice), which I tried and was pleased that it was not sweet like a regular 90’s Cosmo. Guests have the option of 30+ beers on draft from microbreweries in addition to rotating seasonal specials. There is an extensive selection of bourbon, scotch, and tequila as well.
LTS’ menu is all about small plates and sharing, a concept that is not currently popular in Hoboken restaurants. Executive Chef Sarah Sproule is intense on the farm-to-table concept, sourcing everything as locally as possible and combining ingredients in innovative, flavorful ways.
Click below to continue reading about what the menu has to offer…
I started with the stone crab from the raw bar, served in an ice bucket. Working to get the meat out was worth it; the crab is fresh and juicy on its own, served with seasonal sauce on the side that is not necessary for the purist. Next were the salt & vinegar fries. French fries of any type are my favorite food, as you know if you know me. The briny shoestrings needed no ketchup or dip. Again, being a condiment queen, I didn’t feel the urge to add anything to them. Next up were the fish tacos, which include the catch of the day (on my visit it was Piranha), red cabbage-pineapple slaw, avocado, cotiga and crema. Even with the added ingredients, the flavor of fresh fish still beamed through.
The Kimchee Buns are a best-seller at LTS. They consist of steamed pork, kimchee brisket and kewpie mayo on a mini bun at the cost of $3.50 per piece. Quite a party in the mouth: rich, satisfying and portably perfect as a bar food.
The lobster roll is a mini potato bun filled with succulent lobster and apple-fennel slaw for the fraction of the price you see in most NYC venues ($5). I also tried the sriracha honey wings and meatballs, which were both up to par.
A standout on the menu is the #yamwich, and yes, it is listed with a hashtag. The guys behind LTS are hoping that this sandwich made with roasted yams, feta, tomato, pickled onion, aioli and feta will become a trend. It gets served with a side of pickled vegetables. While it seems odd, it is divine and I encourage everyone to try it. Yes for the #yamwich!
Towards the back of the restaurant, there are enormous wooden doors that lead to a private room. To gain access, you must be a resident of Hoboken (I can’t join. Oh well.) and fill out an application. There’s no fee. Once approved, you’ll get a keychain that admits your entry. The back room has its own bar, DJ booth, bathrooms and menu in a cozy, banqueted space. You can bring a few friends if you’re a member, and you can rent it out for a 50-person affair if you’re not a member, depending on availability.
While all partners of LTS are still in control of the former Little Town space (now becoming a chapter of the Ainsworth), the new Little Town is more about having a community spot where residents can share an experience.
“We have small plates so everyone can try everything on the menu. It’s mix and match. Little Town Social is not a club, it’s not a sportsbar and it’s not a restaurant, but it can be all of those things: It is what you want it to be as a person,” explains manager Vincent Aguilar. This rings true. Go for the raw bar, go to watch the game, go for artisinal cocktails, go for the DJ or go to eat a lot of great food.
The restaurant will be open daily for lunch, dinner, and late night, and for weekend brunch. Receive a free round of drinks when making a reservation through firstname.lastname@example.org until August 1st.