The newly weds, Dan and Sue, and I were chatting about the Hoboken restaurant scene and we were all wondering why Hoboken didn't have more serious restaurants. In a town dominated by bars, why isn't there more destination restaurants. I was excited for our dinner that night at The Fig Tree. I thought that maybe this would be the answer to our question.
We walked in and Suzanne's face dropped as she disclaimed, "we're not sitting in here." She was right, the front of The Fig Tree was overly bright and smelt like bleach. The room was empty and this made me nervous. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that there was a back room that was a bit more elegant. Dimly light with white tablecloths--this place was finally coming to look like the place the website had promised. Our server, who we learned also worked at David Burke's Townhouse fumbled with simple service; but is this something that Dan and Sue had noticed? Like when he presented our Pinot Noir not mentioning the producer or vintage; but letting us know "this is your bottle." Pouring the wine didn't get any better as he filled our cups like we were chugging Franzia in college. Maybe its just me; but less is more especially when it comes to wine. But it wasn't all bad--its just a few things that could have been better; especially if The Fig Tree wants to be a destination restaurant in Hoboken. Not all successful restaurants are destinations restaurants; but I find it hard to be a neighborhood spot do to their prices. Appetizers start at $12 and go up to $18 while entrees start at $28.
We started with yellowfin tuna tartar that featured edamame, avocado, mint,and crispy filo dressed with a thai chili vinaigrette. Our other starter was Hudson Valley foie gras paired with beautiful maitake mushrooms and peanuts. The tuna tartar was good; but the foie gras was the highlight of our meal. For main courses, we got the Colorado lamb duo, the Magret duck breast, and Milton's paella. I had the highest hopes for the lamb; but my expectations fell short. It was a good lamb dish; but not great. The duck came out rare, which is a bit undercooked in my opinion. The bok choy, baby turnips, and cippolini onions didn't help elevate the dish enough to remember. Dan ordered the paella which I thought was the best entree. The rice was cooked perfect and acted as the bed for well cooked seafood. Truffled mac and cheese with lobster was a nice sharing dish for the table. Good flavor, but a bit skimpy on the lobster!
We passed on dessert and went for after dinner drinks at Oneil's, a bar down the street. Dan sipped on his remy while Sue went with a campari and soda --instantly bringing them back to their honeymoon days. Whiskey on the rocks proved to be an excellent nightcap for me. A good dinner, but a great time with friends.