King of Court Street!
Today in Cuisine Corner, I began to venture off of Washington street — albeit half a block — to the Stevens Faculty favorite, Court Street Restaurant & Bar! Rumors of this restaurant being a Stevens’s faculty favorite permeated their way into my notes and I decided I had to check it out. I had only been to Court Street once, during my freshmen year, and did not remember anything but its distinguishable brick façade. Regardless, I was eager to return as a food reviewer, with my mate Eddy Scanlan, instead of a patron.
Upon entry, a polite server greeted us and took us to our table by the window. The first thing I noticed was how classy this establishment was. This is not the place for yoga pants or Stevens t-shirts, but it’s also not the place for a tuxedo; I would strongly recommend a collared shirt. The dress code, which deters under-dressed Stevens students and club-ready Hoboken young professionals, makes this place a hot spot for Stevens’s staff and faculty. The brick façade does not do justice to the beautiful and clean interior. That said, I would recommenced this if you wanted to have a nice night out with your significant other. With that in mind, I still had not tried any food yet, but the atmosphere alone was getting me excited.
We started off our meal by ordering a pitcher of white wine sangria like any “recently turned 21” college students would. At $15 for a 32oz pitcher, we knew that we were not going to get the price per volume of “Mikie Squared” infamous sangria Sunday (that’s $10 for 48oz for those under 21). The sangria was good, albeit not $15 good. The sangria was packed with an abnormal amount of ice and left a bitter taste – which I attributed with my lack of knowledge of white wine sangria. I will say, however, that there was an adequate amount of alcohol in the sangria as by the end of dinner, my companion had pre-stages of inebriation.
Up next was food. I had seen many advertisements for Court Street’s seafood, which made the decision of what to eat easier. We ordered the crab cake, clams casino, and half of a dozen oysters. Something noteworthy was the price; the three items together were a total of $35. For the quantity that you were getting, it did not seem worth it; that was, until I bit into my first clam. I was greeted with a firm crunch, typical of an item that was put under the broiler for the perfect amount of time, but was then hit with the softness of the ground bacon. There were small peppers in each oyster which were perfectly prepared. After that, it was made crystal clear that at Court Street, you are paying for quality, not quantity. Moving on, the next item was the oysters. Eddy immediately started eating the oysters, and he was very pleased with their flavor. He ordered horseradish to go along with the oysters which was a proper pairing. Personally, I did not have a lot experience with oysters, thus I was disappointed. The oysters were served with a very salty liquid which took away from the natural flavor of the oyster. The oyster itself seemed properly cooked, but I wouldn’t order it again. Finally, I tried the crab cakes. The cake had a firm crisp and soft center which signified to me that it was cooked properly. However, the Remoulade sauce (a mayonnaise based sauce similar to tartar sauce) absolutely stole the show with its hint of citrus and perfect seasoning. Overall, I was very pleased with the food at Court Street, and Eddy and I were ready to move onto dessert!
I ordered a second round of drinks as we moved onto dessert. After glimpsing at their drink menu, I decided to order the mango martini, which I enjoyed. For dessert, Eddy ordered the blueberry pie and I ordered the profiteroles. Growing up in household with strong French influence, I was very eager to try the profiteroles, a dish which my uncle has made for years. Overall, I was impressed! The pastries were a tad too firm but they were correctly sweetened and the ice cream was a nice compliment. However, the blueberry pie was the best dish of the day: it was easily one of the top desserts that I had ever had. Period. The berries were sweet and the crust was perfectly cook; This created a symphony of delicious desserty goodness in my mouth. While the price for entrees would prohibit me from returning to Court Street (though I would recommend going there for drinks) for all but special occasions, it was a great dinner.
A note about ratings:
Much like the great film reviewer, Robert Ebert, the ratings are relative, not absolute. The rating must be taken in context with the types of restaurant that I am reviewing. For example, I may give a fast casual restaurant “5 out of 5” stars for quality of food and a fine dining restaurant “2 out of 5 stars.” Does that mean the fast casual place has better food? No, of course not! It just means that in the context of fast casual restaurants, the restaurant is pretty good!