Growing up eating your mother’s, grandmother’s or great grandmother’s traditional cooking can make almost anyone a food critic of their native country’s cuisine. Italian cuisine in particular has been so altered and modernized that few restaurants can capture the simplicity and boldness of flavors in Italy's signature dishes. So to get back to our roots (officially and unofficially), Foodies in NYC took a trip to the birthplace of Frank Sinatra and hard-crusted bread - Hoboken, New Jersey.
A little less than ten years old, Café Michelina sits off of the main strip, located on Bloomfield between 4th and 5th. With several other highly palatable Italian restaurant options in the area – such as Augustino’s, Trattoria Soporito, Leos, and Piccolo Roma – Café Michellina holds its own against the competition.
So after grabbing a few bottles of red wine from a nearby deli (Café Michelina is BYOB), we experienced a little bit of a wait - typical for a Friday night in Hoboken. Once seated outside on a beautiful June night, we quickly came up with four dishes we had to try – the Antipasto Michelina, Cavatelli e Broccoli, a special ravioli dish with smoked mozzarella and chicken in vodka sauce, and the Pollo alla Michelina.
Even though prosciutto, salami and provolone don’t seem like a light summer nosh, the components of the antipasto were refreshingly delicious when lightly drizzled with olive oil and topped with fresh basil. The roasted peppers and homemade sundried tomatoes on the side completed the perfect bite!
For the main course, all three dishes stood out for their boldness and individual flavors. The cavatelli and broccoli gave a soft and crunchy bite with the perfect amount of garlic-to-oil ratio. The ravioli were a little thicker in texture than we’d like but the vodka sauce was very tasty with the smoky, rich flavor of the mozzarella packing the punch. The chicken dish also received six thumbs up for the “zesty lemon sauce” and tender chicken and mushrooms over al dente penne.
To top off the meal, our awesome server TJ recommended we split a cannolo (Italian lesson of the day: that’s the singular of cannoli). We proceeded to lick our spoons clean and (like good little foodies) did not leave one crumb behind!
Comparable to Frank in NYC, this Italian restaurant offers authentic, bold flavors and hearty portions so you can carb-load for your next marathon or catch up with paesans over a delicious meal.
The Take Away:
Don’t be turned off by the old-school décor and non-flashy dining area; the food is very reasonably priced and the taste makes up for it tenfold. Just grab a bottle of wine and be ready to mangi! Boun appétito!
423 Bloomfield Stwww.cafemichelina.com
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Hoboken, NJ 07030