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March 26, 2013

Las Olas Hoboken – Fresh Sushi But Try The Asian Wings

Las Olas Hoboken Exterior

Hoboken does have a good number of fine sushi establishments such as Robongi, Ayame, Sushi Lounge, Illuzion just to name a few but you can also add Las Olas Sushi Bar and Grill to that list as well. They are located at 1319 Washington Street in Hoboken, NJ. I paid them a visit last week for lunch and had their lunch roll combo which was fresh and well prepared but the Asian wings really stood out as a fine appetizer dish. They had just the right amount of heat and crispness and in my humble opinion put traditional wings to shame. It is always good to try new renditions of familiar things and the Asian wings at Las Olas come highly recommended. Just writing about them now has me literally salivating. I must work harder at curbing my Pavlovian responses. Overall, Las Olas has a fair priced menu and with an attentive staff produce a fine product at the right price.

Their website is www.lasolassushi.com and their phone number is 201-222-9991

Las Olas Hoboken, NJ Asian Wings

Las Olas Asian wings- yum!

Las Olas Bar area in front

Las Olas bar area in front


Las Olas dining area in back

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October 15, 2012

Eggplant and Arugula at Rome Pizzeria in Hoboken – Marley’s Mile Square Mangia

Local food maven Marley Lynch has another tasting she reviewed for her website as well as TheBoken.com. Read below is you have a hankering for eggplant and arugula pizza….

Eggplant and Arugula at Rome Pizzeria in Hoboken

You’re marching off the PATH…dreary, weak, hungry, and mentally drained. There’s a heavenly pizza sign blazing down at you. Don’t be  indecisive. Don’t even think. Go in. Eat pizza.  You’ll be very happy you did.

I was invited to Rome Pizzeria & Grill in Hoboken to try four new specialty pies created by Chef Ryan DePersio (NICO, Fascino). Obviously, I said yes. But little did I know I would soon develop an obsession with one Eggplant and Arugula slice…more on that later.

Owner Scott Faherty (above) showed me around as I watched puffy, fresh pizza crusts float in and out of the oven.

The interior is  cozy and inviting for a pizza joint – with warm lighting and big, one of a kind paintings of Jimmy Hendrix, Billy Joel, and Frank Sinatra. Some guy even walked in, strolled around the restaurant looking at the paintings like it was a museum. Scott said that’s a normal occurrence at Rome. I was amazed at the sheer willpower not to leave with a slice of pizza…I mean, look at the bubble on this ‘beaut!

I had a slice of each of the new specialty pies. The “Jersey Shore”, the caramelized onions and sweet sausage, the Pancetta and Parmigiana, and the glorious eggplant puree and arugula salad. I wish I could have finished them all;  especially the eggplant and arugula. Which was just. Wonderful. I’m still thinking about it. I think I tried to re-name her the “Woodstock” or the “Marley” or something.

The best thing about all of Rome’s pies is the flavor and texture of the crust (which is my litmus test). Definitely some of the best  I’ve had in Hoboken. So I will be adding Rome as my “Pizza Emergency” speed dial on my phone. You should, too.

If you’re ever hankering for a plain pie or a slice of something new (ahem eggplant and arugula) – Rome is your place.

Check out their menu here http://www.romepizzeria.com/

and give ‘em a “like” on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RomePizzeria!

Rome Pizzeria Hoboken

Address: 20 Hudson Place Hoboken, NJ 07030

Phone: 201-683-960

Website: www.romepizzeria.com


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September 14, 2012

Biggies Clams… and Oysters… and Crabs… Oh My!

Editor’s Note: TheBoken.com would like to welcome back Marley Lynch to our website. She never really left but just took a break.  This New Jersey food maven has a blog in her own right at http://jerseyfoodblog.wordpress.com/ and sometimes she shares articles with TheBoken.com as well. Her contributions are always appreciated. Read on and you might get a craving for some delicious reasonably priced seafood on New Street in Hoboken at Biggies Clam Bar…

Biggies Clams…and Oysters…and Crabs… Oh My! – Marley Lynch

The old creaky sign looms over a busy intersection downtown. Ah. The lore of the Clam Broth House is as heavy as that of the dockworkers and Old Blue Eyes himself. Here’s all that remains:

But, I like to think the Clam Broth House of the early 1900′s lives on in its younger replacement, Biggies Clam Bar – an establishment that’s been sitting way back on Madison street since the 1940′s and has recently opened shop right under the clam sign.

What I’m trying to say is…this intersection has been blessed by butter and garlic and shellfish for many decades. So let’s get a bit closer…

So here we are! Ready to eat some clams and oysters. This guy looks like he’s ready….

I begin with my favorite…a dirty martini, extra dirty. In fact, give me an extra shot of olive juice. This with raw oysters are a perfect pair. And at Biggies, they make them…perfectly. But raw oysters and dirty martinis are not for everyone. I’ll tell you what is.

Clams! Clams are for everyone! Sultry, buttery, aromatic steamed clams. A baker’s dozen served with a basket of Hoboken Italian bread. These are…a MUST at Biggies. In fact, I guarantee you’ll ask for a spoon and eat the broth like soup.

We also decided to try the soft shell crab. This sandwich was delightful. She was deep fried and place voluptuously on a toasted brioche roll with tartar and red cabbage. Sweet potatoes on the side.

Does it get any better? No. So if you’re down by the PATH – skip the cake line and do something historic like eating seafood on this holy ground. PLUS with football season in effect, I can’t think of a better place to watch the game…and eat like 3 orders of steamed clams.

Biggie’s Website: http://biggiesclambar.com/

Check out more Jersey Food at: http://jerseyfoodblog.wordpress.com/

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March 9, 2012

Drunken Polar Bear’s Take on Elysian Cafe Hoboken

Hoboken’s Drunken Polar Bear give his take on a classic bar in Hoboken, the Elysian Cafe…

Elysian Cafe Hoboken

Address: 1001 Washington Street Hoboken, NJ 07030
Phone: (201) 798-5898
Website: http://www.elysiancafe.com/

Elysian [ɪˈlɪzɪən]adj

1. Elysian – relating to the Elysian Fields.
2. Elysian – being of such surpassing excellence as to suggest inspiration by the gods; “her pies were simply divine”; “the divine Shakespeare”; “an elysian meal”; “an inspired performance”.

Elysian The Word

If you’ve lived in Hoboken for a little bit it’s a word that appears in all manner of places.  There are a few apartment buildings named the Elysian.  Elysian Field was the site of the first organized baseball game (monument at 11th & Washington).  And then there is the Elysian Café.  But before we get to the review of the Elysian, this is one of the rare times I get to put my mostly useless Masters degree in history to use…Elysian/Elysium refers to the afterlife concept from Greek times.  Elysium was a mythically locale reserved for Gods and heroes where they would live an awesome post-death existence.  Think of it like the VIP room for the studs of Greek times.  But I digress…


I always struggle with this aspect of describing bars because let’s face it, my design skills are supremely limited.  I am lucky my living room furniture matches.  However, I can say the inside of the Elysian is cool and very old school.  The feel and decoration incorporates a lot of original Hoboken architecture, molding, tile floor, wall murals and stained glass.  The current owners have done a great job at restoring the bar to the original look and feel.  How original?  The Elysian is Hoboken’s oldest continually operated bar and restaurant, dating back to 1895!

The Booze

Elysian Café has a solid set of beers on tap and bottles.  What I really loved about the bar from my 3 visits (thus far) was their cocktail menu.  About 10 or so custom cocktails, they are all made from scratch and in a departure from many bars won’t cost you an arm and a leg.  I tried a few, but head and shoulders above them all was a drink called the Divine Guinness.  As simple as it is (2 shots of vanilla vodka and Guinness in a pint glass), this concoction surely embodies the bar’s name and tastes like the heavenly afterlife.  And for $8, you really can’t find a better value or taste.

The Service

I haven’t eaten at the Elysian Café yet, but have heard good things from others.  As for the bar service, it’s solid.  All 3 times I have visited, we have gotten the same bearded, slightly accented bartender [aka "Slow James"] who makes excellent drinks and cracks a good joke or two with you.  He even chuckled when Sprinkles the gf (girl friend), struggled to finish a super alcoholic drink one evening.  I laughed myself until I actually tried the drink…


Overall, I had walked pasted Elysian Café for years, in search of other bars much to my mistake.  Situated very much in the bar “dead zone” of Washington (7th – 11th on Washington) I always wrote it off as note for me.  Elysian has the atmosphere, design and service of a bar from the early 20th century and I mean that in a good way.  The crowd trends a bit older, but fits perfectly.  Elysian is definitely a unique locale in Hoboken and makes the Drunken Polar Bear Top 10 (published soon!).

Any suggestions for the next bar review?

- The Drunken Polar Bear


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February 12, 2012

Christin’s Morning Spoon: The Malibu Diner

Saturday morning my brunch buddy and I were catching up on Top Chef Texas reruns, one of our favorite shows.  Their quick fire challenge was to make a whimsical pancake for Pee-wee Herman.  As we watched the chefs prepare delicious ricotta pancakes and crazy sprinkle filled pancakes, we both decided a pancake brunch needed to be in our immediate future.

After scanning the menus of a few brunch places in search of a delicious pancake selection, my brunch buddy suggested that we try the Malibu Diner.

The Malibu Diner is located at 257 14th Street, right on the corner of 14th and Park.  Believe it or not, after living so close to it, I have never actually been there – not even for a late night post-bar snack.  He promised great pancakes, so I was sold!

Here is my recap.

Parking Right out Front.  My brunch buddy called his friend Chris to come join us for brunch.  We hopped in my car and drove over to the Malibu Diner.  At first I was concerned about trying to park, but then remembered the parking lot in the front and side of the diner.  To be able to drive and park (without having to pay) right in front of a restaurant is a huge bonus for a place in Hoboken.  So even though the walk is quick, it was great to be a little lazy and just jump in the car and not have to deal with finding a spot.

Not So Great Service. After we met Chris, we sat down and read through our menus (obviously turning straight to the pancake section).  We decided on our meals, closed our menus and waited…and waited and waited, but our waitress did not come.  After about ten minutes, she finally arrived and took our order.  Luckily, our food came out pretty quickly, because by then we were starving.

After we were done eating we again waited quite awhile for our plates to be cleared and the check to arrive.  As Chris pointed out, we were at a diner, so we should not expect amazing service.  Although it was slow, our waitress was friendly enough.  We weren’t in a rush to leave breakfast, so it just gave us extra time to sit and relax.

Plenty of Menu Choices.  One of the things that always deters me from going to a diner is their incredibly large selection of meals.  I always think that if a menu has that many items, they can’t possibly make them taste great.  But if you are looking for a quick, cheap breakfast, diners are the way to go.

In addition to a large selection of pancakes (I’ll get to them in a minute), they have eggs any way you could possibly dream; omelets, skillets and benedicts.  They also have Belgian waffles, French toast and even bagels.  Regardless of what you are in the mood for, they most likely have it on their menu.

My brunch buddy was toying with the idea of ordering a side of bacon, but at the last minute decided on a halved cantaloupe.  He loved it.  He thought it was very fresh and a great healthy snack to hold him over until our meal arrived.

Lots of Pancakes.  Just as my brunch buddy said, the Malibu Diner has a ton of pancake varieties.  They have fresh fruit, cinnamon raisin, peach n’ cream, peanut butter and chocolate chip and apple walnut pancakes.

My brunch buddy made a healthy substitution and ordered whole wheat pancakes with blueberries.  Expecting fresh blueberries, he was very disappointed to see the blueberry compote on his pancakes.  He hoped that fresh blueberries would be mixed in with the batter.  He ended up wiping off the syrupy blueberry compote with his fork and eating them semi plain.

Chris ordered banana peanut butter pancakes.  Unlike my brunch buddy, he loved his, commenting that they were definitely a four spoon pancake.  He also ordered a side of bacon, which was placed right on top of his pancakes.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes.  After debating between banana walnut or chocolate chip pancakes, I decided on chocolate chip.  They are usually my all-time favorite and I was definitely in the mood for something chocolate-y.  I was served three large pancakes, with mini chocolate chips mixed right into the batter.

They were a little dry and the chocolate chips on one side of the pancakes were burnt.  The only syrup option was in a small plastic container, which did not taste that great – I am a big fan of real Vermont maple syrup.

Out of five spoons, I give the Malibu Diner three.  With such a large and diverse menu, there is sure to be something to please everyone in your brunch party.  Sadly though, the taste definitely does not compete with the many great brunch spots in Hoboken.

The pancakes were good and since all three of us got them, maybe something else on the menu would have tasted a bit better.  Since it is one of the only true diners in Hoboken, it’s clean, large and a great place to stop for any meal of the day or even a late night snack since the Malibu is open 24/7.

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January 7, 2012

Christin’s Morning Spoon: The Clinton Social in Hoboken

After a great holiday season, I started 2012 off right with a New Year’s Day brunch at The Clinton Social.  It is located at 700 Clinton Street, on the corner of Clinton and 7th Streets, right across the street from A&P.  They are open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays starting at noon.

I have been to The Clinton Social a few times for dinner, but never tried their brunch.  For New Year’s Day, they had a brunch special:  an entrée and two brunch cocktails, bloody Mary, mimosa, draft beer or house wine, for $20.  Unfortunately, my brunch buddy and I were never told about the deal and only saw it advertised as we paid the check.

Here’s my recap.

Two rooms, two different feels.  As you walk into The Clinton Social, the first room is the bar.  There is a large bar with TVs perfect for watching the game, and there are high tables up against the windows.  The bar area was partially filled with quite the noisy crowd.  Since we had a late New Year’s Eve and were looking for a quieter meal, we decided to sit in the back room.

The back room has a completely different feel from the bar section.  The exposed brick and brightly painted walls bring light into the area, creating a warm and inviting space.  This gives it more an upscale feel in contrast with the front bar. The back area has about fifteen tables.  The hostess offered to seat us at a table next to two families with little children or at a table in the middle of the walkway.  When we asked if we could sit in the back corner by the windows, we were told that all of the tables had reservations, so there were only a limited number of tables to chose from.  We chose the table in the walkway, and by the end of our meal, only one table was seated!

Small Breakfast Menu.  The Clinton Social’s brunch menu only has a limited selection of brunch items.  Although there are only eight items, the menu is very diverse.  They have steak & eggs, a smoked salmon platter, French toast and short rib hash.  The most interesting item on the menu was the Eggs David.  It is The Clinton Social’s unique spin on Eggs Benedict.  English muffins are topped with meatloaf, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.  It is definitely not something I would try, but my brunch buddy said that was his second choice.

The Clinton Social does have a larger menu with lunch items.  There are numerous appetizers, my favorite of which is the artichoke and goat cheese pierogies.  My girlfriends and I shared them the last time we were there and absolutely loved them.  There are a few choices of sliders, salads, pizzas, sandwiches and even pasta.  If you are looking for a more of a lunch spot, this is your place.  They also have a number of lunch cocktails if a liquid lunch is more your speed!

Huevos Rancheros.  Instead of the Eggs David, my brunch buddy ordered the Huevos Rancheros.  Black beans, jalapenos, avocado and sour cream are served with eggs made your way and placed atop a corn tortilla.  He chose two sunny side up eggs.  He liked that Clinton Social did something a little different with the meal, but felt like they sacrificed practicality for presentation when they fanned out the three tortillas around the eggs in the middle. Overall, he said they were among his favorite huevos in town, after he got through the ordeal of rearranging his plate.

I have actually never tried Huevos Ranceros.  I always thought eggs combined with the fixings for an amazing burrito are a bit too odd for a morning meal.  Boy was I wrong!  I skeptically tried his brunch and I was instantly overcome with food envy.  It was amazing.  I loved the mix of flavors that were in every bite, absolutely amazing.

The Social Breakfast.  I was truthfully stumped over what to order for brunch.  I did not really feel like pancakes and I had French toast the day before.  So after I bit of deliberating, I decided on The Social Breakfast.  Although I thought it was a bit too much food, I went for it anyway.   It consists of two eggs any style, bacon or sausage, home fries, toast and two pancakes. I chose scrambled eggs with a bit of cheddar cheese and asked if I could have it without the pancakes. My brunch buddy scoffed at me giving up food, and gladly offered to eat a few bites of them for me.

When my meal arrived, it turned out not to be as big as I was expecting.  There were only two slices of bacon and the pancakes were actually very tiny.  Even though I initially wanted to eliminate the pancakes, they were actually my favorite part – just the right amount of vanilla; sweet and powerful, without being overbearing.

A Bit Expensive.   Almost all of the items on the brunch menu are around $12-$14.  The most expensive, the short rib hash is $18.  My brunch buddy’s Huevos Rancheros were $12 and my social breakfast was $14 ($15 after they tacked on a dollar for cheese).  Although it may not seem like that much, for the portion size, I thought that it was a little pricey.  They also did not give a bread basket which is a huge letdown to me!

I was recently told that I was a bit too generous with my spoons last year, so for 2012, I will be a bit tougher.  Out of five spoons, I give The Clinton Social three.  As a whole it was a good brunch, but lacked the variety of breakfast choices that I was really hoping for.  Although my brunch buddy and I both enjoyed our meals, for the price, we felt that the food could have been a bit tastier.

Next week, I will be brunching at Marty O’Briens Social Club.  It is a newly redone bar/restaurant on the corner of 1st and Bloomfield, where Buskers used to be.

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