McKenna (our Webmaster, and likes/dislikes in italics) and I were recently invited out for a tasting at Hudson Eatery, and naturally we were more than happy to oblige. Since we typically stick to the East side, we weren’t exactly looking forward to our trek over there (and it is pretty far, on 57th between 11th and 12th), but as soon as we gotÂ there we were glad we made the effort. In a wasteland neighborhood filled with car dealerships and warehouses, Hudson EateryÂ is clearly aÂ much-needed additionÂ providing a sleek and upscale venue (the interior is truly beautiful) for casual dining and dancing to a DJ late-night.
Already at the table upon our arrival were baskets of homemade barbecue potato chips with a gorgonzola fondue (fancy name here for simply aÂ dip). I loved the large slices of potato (cut lengthwise) and the flavor of the chip and dip, but I don’t know if I would pay to have them again, especially because it was about to get a whole lot better. Our next order of business was the drink menu. They had a unique cocktail menu and I went for the champagne martini and McKenna ordered the Gummy Bear Cocktail. I definitely liked my drink but as McKenna commented, it did taste a bit like Hi-C. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. It’s not. McKenna’s Gummy Bear drink was delicious. This was definitely categorized under like!
Then came the many platters of appetizers. *Side note: Yes, we are about to describe an ungodly amount of food but don’t judge us too quickly. We were seated with other bloggers and online editors, so this was all shared family style. Also worth noting, the most unexpected delight of the evening was diningÂ with Bradley, who runs Amuse*Bouche (go to his review for awesome photos)Â and his friend/roommate David, a restaurant manager at one of our faves, Pera. SoÂ definitely check out Bradley’s blog and David’s restaurant as well!
In a word – outstanding. Yes, I know mozzarella sticks aren’t exactlyÂ the newest thing around, but these are the perfect testament to what Hudson Eatery is – American comfort food done exceptionally well and sometimes with a twist. They succeed on nearly all their dishes, but these mozzy sticks are a great example. The best part about them was that they were thick and you could almost taste the saltiness that fresh mozzarella should have. I would go back just for these mozzarella sticks – they were definitely a huge hit at the table. I’m usually not a huge fan of mozzarella sticks and I’d venture to say this was my biggest like of the night.
Loaded Mac & Cheese
Mac & cheese isn’t a go-to meal for me (I blame my mom for being lazy and overfeeding the Kraft version to me as a child…I can say this because my mom doesn’t read my blog), but this was pretty darn good. You can order regular mac & cheese, but we had the “loaded” version which included red onion and smoked applewood bacon. Mmm. The sweetness of the red onion was a great addition to the creamy mac & cheese, and of course bacon makes everything taste better. Eh. Disliked. I prefer cheesy mac & cheese, but the consistency at Hudson Eatery was creamy. Though it was improved by the bacon and onion.
Fried Calamari with a Chipotle Mayo Sauce
Another favorite of mine, but admittedly that’s mostly because of that fantastically creamy and spicy dip. I could put that on anything. The calamari had a thickish batter covering it which I typically don’t like because it makes me think it came from a box in the freezer. But this wasn’t too much breading and it definitely tasted fresh. I went back for seconds on this one. Disliked, but I’ve never liked Calamari, so listen to Caryn.
Beef and Pork Meatballs
It’s very hard to please me when it comes to meatballs. I’m spoiled and believe that my dad makes the best meatballs around, hands-down (I know, everyone thinks their mom, grandma, dad, whoever makes the best. Fortunately for me, my dad actually does). One of my dad’s key steps – don’t use beef, use pork or at least a pork, beef and veal combo. Unfortunately with these meatballs, the beef overpowered the pork so I wasn’t a big fan. I actually thought the pork overpowered the beef, and prefer beef meatballs, so still a dislike. *Well this is just weird then, but whatever, point is we weren’t fans of them.
Mussels in a White Wine Sauce
These were a welcomed light addition to our many appetizer courses. I would have preferred mussels marinara, but that’s because I love a chunky tomato sauce (and of course dipping my bread in the sauce after I’m done with the mussels). These were still very nice. Pretty standard. Liked!
Ham and Mozzarella Fried Grilled Cheese
I’m not a big fan of ham (odd I know since I like pork and bacon), so I was hesitant to try this one at first. Obviously my resistance lasted all of 45 seconds and I just went for it. And I’m glad I did! First, although ham and cheese is a classic combination, I wouldn’t have thought of pairing it with mozzarella cheese – yet another example of a slight twist on American comfort food that makes this place special. Then they had this wonderfully grainy mustard spread on there that added an extra boost of flavor. And as if it wouldn’t be tasty enough as is, they very lightly fried it making it oh so very delectable. This was one of the biggest hits of the night from everyone at the table. Definitely try this if you come in. I have no memory of this whatsoever. Blame the Gummy Bear cocktail.
This was an unexpected addition to our tasting menu, and to be honest I could have done without it. I love tuna tartar but this wasn’t raw enough for me and the cracked pepper on it was too overpowering for my liking. It was a lot of pepper, but I still liked, in small portions.
I’m full again just rewriting this, but we did not stop here. We went on to entrees (thankfully there wasn’t as much to sample in this round).
There’s really only one way to explain how damn good these burgers were.Â We had all just finished sampling (and I use that word loosely) 7 appetizers, plus the chips, and these burgers (which were smartly cut into quarters to make it more bearable for everyone at the table) were gone in about 60 seconds from the time their plates touched the table. Seriously. They put them on the table and in an instant they were gone. My notes about the burger were simply “Love, love, love.” I have only had 2-3 hamburgers in my life that have truly stood out from the rest, this was not one of them. That said I still liked it.
Regular Fries and Hudson Fries
To accompany our burgers, we had both regular and Hudson fries. The regular fries were fine (not my fav, I prefer steakfries), but the Hudson fries?Â Those were simplyÂ fantastic. They were made with a parmesean covering and truffle oil – need I say more? This is a must-order if you come. Truffle oil for the win! New category…loved.
Very good, but I’d opt for the burger if given a choice. The bread was cooked a little too long in the oven for me so it was overly crispy and crunchy. However it did come with a great dip and that added some nice flavor. There was no flavor and as zucchini is already bland, this was majorly disappointing. Disliked.
I am picky in the way I eat chicken. I love it when cooked not American-style, which in my mind means not roasted, not a breast on the bone with a boring sauce, etc. I know, that’s not helpful. Anyway, when this dish came out I immediately thought I wouldn’t like it. It looked like boring chicken to me, with some nice peppers, onions and sausage, but I decided to give it a whirl anyway. I learned my lesson – don’t judge a book, or a chicken, by its cover. This was delicious! It was one of the best chicken dishes I’ve had in a long, long time and I think it surpised a lot of people at the table. I’m so glad this was ordered for us because I would never have tried it on my own and I would have been missing out. Liked. Not a lot to say. It was just good chicken.
At this point the mere idea of dessert made the table sick, so we skipped it and went for coffee and espresso, which were all good.
If you work in the area you really should do yourself a favor and check it out. And even if you don’t, if you feel like venturing to the West side, definitely add this to your list of restaurants to try. Also, keep in mind that all menu items are under $20 and breakfast is served all day – a sweet alternative to diners!The Basics Name: Hudson Eatery Location: 601 w. 57th Street Who to bring: Friends, Family, Whoever Price: Most things on the menu are under $20, $$-$$$ Overall: Some dishes were truly memorable, so choose wisely and it’s easily 4+ stars.