Hashtag Know Hope

How radically has the restaurant world changed since the pandemic began? We actually just had a better meal in Jersey City than we did at a NYT three-star joint in Nomad. One was early dinner, and one was brunch, but still. At the former, the very atmospheric Madame, where my stomach sank when I saw the menu read like Bucks County, the kitchen split a surprisingly good kale Caesar for us, so we each got exactly half the ample portion of basil-dressed greens, avocado slices, halved green grapes, slivered fennel and generous sunflower seeds. The kale-cutting coulda been more refined, but the parts really made the whole. Then the super-tender, very flavorful hanger steak in au poivre sauce was also perfectly divided, with a little cup of truffle fries for each of us.

Two days later we had a dainty plate of “linzer” beets with Little Gem lettuce and toasted hazelnuts set down between us at Koloman, and we had to ask for share plates. At least they were provided for the flavor-free pork schnitzel, which was fried to shoe leather and barely revived by the lingonberry sauce and redeemed by the (intricate) cucumber and (sloppy) potato salads. 

Wine presentation was much more fine-dining at Koloman, and my glass of Austrian sauvignon blanc was worth the $19 Bob paid. With two rounds of drinks, the tab was exactly $9 more at Madame. But to be fair, the cocktails in both establishments were too sweet.

BTW: Jersey City was also vaut le PATH voyage for a huge loaf of amazingly crusty-soft sourdough bread from Razza and a little shopping at CoolVines on Grove, where we scored some Duke’s mayonnaise plus a couple of bags of Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta, the latter for all of $7 each.