In 2000 City Bistro opened its doors and arms to the Hoboken public. The vision was simple; provide excellent service, coupled with exquisite food, in this casually elegant environment. From their famous pizzas to a carefully crafted menu which moves across all gambits, City Bistro has become a Hoboken standard for service, food quality, and a bar seen unparalleled but often imitated.
We got a chance to catch up with the man behind the menu. See what Chef Gonzalo Colin has to say below.
City Bistro's Chef, Gonzalo Colin
THE BOKEN: What inspired you to become a chef?
CHEF COLIN: Well, I started about 15 years ago working in NYC with Chef Scott Bryan. In 1995 Chef Bryan was Food and Wine Magazine’s top ten chef’s in the whole country. Right now he is chef and owner of Apiari – very elegant restaurant. He’s my mentor.
THE BOKEN: How did you start gaining experience in the food industry?
CHEF COLIN: I actually started working with Chef Bryan as a dishwasher at Indigo in the West Village and I really took up an interest in cooking. I started saving my money to attend CIA – the Culinary Institute of America, when Scott Bryan took me under his wing and said you’re going to be my prep guy for four months, and I’ll teach you everything you need to know. He showed me all the basic techniques – how to make soups, stocks, sauces, etc.
THE BOKEN: What made you feel you were ready to become a chef?
CHEF COLIN: After those four months of prepping he said I was ready and he put me in the line – and that’s when I started to take action in the kitchen. And that is when I met chef Mario Batali – he is very good friends with Chef Scott Bryan. And that is when Babbo was one of his best restaurants around. After being around all these people, I realized I wanted to be a chef.
THE BOKEN: What type of cuisine would you say City Bistro is?
CHEF COLIN: City Bistro is new American food with a Mediterranean influence. Neo-American with French influence. Bistro, like City Bistro, is a Russian word that means quickly. So at City Bistro we like to do simple food, fast. As you know, it’s very casual here. It’s a family restaurant.
THE BOKEN: Where do you get your produce and meats from?
CHEF COLIN: We try to use the local produce from Hudson County. We like to keep everything local so it is always fresh.
THE BOKEN: We see there are many things on the menu, do you have specials too?
CHEF COLIN: Every night we have different specials. We have a soup special, an appetizer special, a fish special, and meat special. That’s the culture I want to get here. Our menu items are great and we offer evening specials every night.
THE BOKEN: What is the healthiest meal on the menu?
CHEF COLIN: Our menu has many healthy chicken dishes along with excellent salads.
THE BOKEN: What has been your worst kitchen disaster?
CHEF COLIN: The day after Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Hoboken! We were packed all day long and we trying to serve hundreds of people and make them happy.
THE BOKEN: If you can name one thing that is special about City Bistro what would it be?
CHEF COLIN: Everything that comes out of the kitchen is made from scratch and we do not microwave anything! Our Sunday weekend brunch is one of the best in Hoboken and I encourage all Hoboken residents and visitors to come out and try it.
THE BOKEN: Have you ever served a meal to a celebrity?
CHEF COLIN: Yes, Eli Manning and his wife live next door and come in frequently. They both enjoy healthy cooking such as grilled chicken, vegetables and mashed potato’s, his wife loves the Bistro Salad with chicken and orders it every time.
When I worked at a Latin Restaurant in the city I cooked for Richard Gere.
THE BOKEN: With all the restaurants in Hoboken, why should people come to City Bistro?
CHEF COLIN: Here at City Bistro we are trying to push for healthy eating. We make everything fresh and from scratch. Our main dishes are excellent and our customers are happy. I ask for Hoboken residents and visitors to experience City Bistro.