I usually leave Hoboken to the many people who operate Hoboken Girl and the various other blogs that report on the mile square, as I am a one-woman operation covering a much larger and diverse city.
But I am happy to do a favor for friends of Jersey City. Restauranteurs and former stars of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Manzo’d with Children, Albie and Chris Manzo shut their doors of Little Town restaurant in Hoboken in January, and have revamped the entire space to open The Ainsworth, along with Michael Sinensky [Little Town, Hudson Terrace, Sidebar, Village Pourhouse] and the Paige Hospitality Group on 310 Sinatra Drive.
Those of you who frequent New York City have surely been to the Chelsea or Gramercy locations for brunch, an afternoon sports game or a late night. Hoboken is a a perfect fit for The Ainsworth prides itself on being a one-stop shop for brunch, lunch, dinner, cocktails and sports viewing.
The Hoboken concept, which opened in March, is an outpost of upscale steak, burger and sports gastropub, The Ainsworth. “We are thrilled to partner with Paige Hospitality Group and bring one of the best and most established upscale steak, burger, and sports gastropub brands in the country to the waterfront space in Hoboken,” says Albie Manzo. “We look forward to announcing the next evolution of the Little Town brand in a vibrant and exciting part of town,” Chris adds.
During one of the very bad snowstorms this winter,I had the privilege of having brunch at GP’s (11 am-3pm on Sundays) with some fabulous local bloggers. A day with the Jersey City Ladies Who Blog…
While GP’s offers brunch cocktails for $7, we were lucky to be privy to a day that the Bitter Bitches —a sexy duo of fantastic mixologists from Brooklyn who know how to make some serious drinks—were behind the bar. Their cocktail menu of the day featured cinnamon, maple, and pomegranate infusions.
The girls and I went all out with our order, hoping our hunger would allow us to try as much of the menu as possible.
GP’s BLT Panino (pancetta, arugula, tomato, lemon-garlic aioli) was the first thing I tried and it was beyond. All of the elements worked well together, and the flavor combination was a welcome surprise for all of the taste-buds at the table. The sophisticated twist on the classic was clean and not overly food-snobbish.
The Wild Boar Hash & Eggs, Toast was a special and a knockout that should totally become part of the regular menu. I can’t even describe it except to say that it was briny and melted in my mouth meaty goodness. I always take the worst photos! Believe me, there is some hash under those eggs. Here is @dontsithome’s photo of the day for the visual effect.
The Cinnamon Brioche French Toast was adored by my dining companions who are foodies, so while I wasn’t in a “sweet mood,” I can say with confidence that this is a winning dish.
We also ordered the meatballs from the dinner menu. I’m very critical of meatballs, always preferring my own, but I really enjoyed these.
The ambiance of GP’s is intimate, and the natural lighting as well as the incandescent make it feel as welcoming as it is.
I’ll always remember my day of cozy comfort foods and laughs—a true winter Sunday Funday. And I can’t help but love a place with my initials as its name.
I’ve already decided that my next (and warm-weather) meal at GP’s will be the Tuscan kale, endive, apples, gorgonzola, pears, and cranberry salad (champagne vinaigrette!) followed by scallops or zuppa di clams. Yum.
The Merchant is super quiet during lunch and often pretty hopping during dinner. Both atmospheres have their advantages if you are in one of those moods.
Last week, I took out my boyfriend for a quiet and late (3pm) lunch. We were the only people in the restaurant, but it was cool (it was 90 degrees outside), quiet, and nice to have the place to ourselves. Service was perfectly timed—not too rushed (we are European)—and not too slow. They were attentive in keeping our glasses full and checking on us every now and then, but not intrusive at all.
My date got the short-rib burger, a $15 monstrosity of glorious meat topped with horseradish chive cheddar, bourbon bacon, beer-friend onions, and LT. He chose to have cheese added to his fries. I watched in awe as his 6-ft 148 pound body cleaned the plate. It was that good.
I was enticed by the bbq duck quesadilla, but eventually decided on the pan-seared rare tuna wrap, mixed with asian-style vegetables and dressed with teriyaki sauce and wasabi mayonnaise and comes with a side salad. I could only get through half of it. Tuna was maybe not as rare (or juicy?) as I liked and I thought the flavor a little bland…maybe not enough of the dressing/condiments.
We were both in a food coma walking out. The hearty portions left no room for dessert, even though the deep-fried Snickers looks like it’s worth a try. Next time.
On a previous lunch date, I sat outside (great for people watching). My friend and I ordered the steak wrap to split (with onions, goat cheese and horseradish), which was plenty of food per person—even really hungry people—on a warm July day. We were spending the rest of the afternoon outside, and you never want to get into a food coma when you’re susceptible to a heat one. I don’t even think I finished my half in fear I’d get sluggish, even though I walked in hungry.
Dinner here is always more impressive than it seems it will be. The bar is fairly scene-y, the lighting is just right, and the service is usually spot-on in attentiveness. I’ve tried a variety of things here for dinner. My favorite meal would be a shared appetizer of “bang bang” shrimp to start, then the warm goat cheese salad with apples in raspberry vinaigrette, and sea scallops (pan roasted with truffle butter) served with broccoli rabe for an entree. I tried my companion’s filet mignon, which was flavored and cooked to perfection, everything a carnivore would like in a good piece of meat.
When you’re jonesing for a well-made drink and a sophisticated bar crowd, going here for cocktails won’t disappoint. There are happy hour specials every night of the week, too, and on weekends, drink specials last all night long.
I have yet to have brunch here, but feel free to comment here or email me: email@example.com about your experience at The Merchant.