Shades of Hoboken
Recently, a reader wrote in:
“Good morning. Was walking the dog this morning and noticed that Shades of Hoboken on Monroe has a sign on it that says “Closed for Renovation”. Do you or any of your readers have an idea about what’s going on? It seems a little early in this restaurant’s life for a renovation. The sign does not seem to bode well.
Keep up the good work!”
It seems that they’re renovating the kitchen. The kitchen STAFF. A tipster had overheard that the executive chef has quit this restaurant because he claims he hasn’t been paid and may be owed a LOT of money.
Maybe they didn’t sell enough $75 dollar steaks?
2/9/2007 2nd review:
Hoboken411 had a quick “Hudson Restaurant Week” lunch over at Shades of Hoboken this week. See previous reader-submitted reviews and more pictures after.
I had a business meeting that was pending for a week, and decided to kill two birds with one stone by eating at the much talked-about new Hoboken restaurant.
It was 1:00pm, and the restaurant had a pretty decent crowd (about half-full) for being mid-day and in the back of town. The party I was meeting had already showed up and was seated by the window on the north side of the dining room. Shades is one of the handful of places in Hoboken that isn’t obstructed by new developments, and the ambient sunshine from the large windows was plentiful. Our waitress came over, and since I had already known and been friendly with her for years, it made for a different kind of interaction than otherwise possible. Seating was moderately comfortable for tall individuals such as myself. Bonus points for that.
Being restaurant week, they offered a three-course lunch for $15. One appetizer, a main course and a dessert. My business contact chose that, and since I am always difficult, I had to order a la carte items. He chose the Grilled Chicken Salad, with walnuts, cranberries and goat cheese plus some kind of fruity vinaigrette for the opener, a Grilled vegetable and chicken panini with pesto sauce for the entree and cinnamon ice cream for dessert.
I picked a potato broccoli soup ($6) to start, a Kobe Burger ($14), and the apple tart ($6) to finish.
Read the rest of the review and get the conclusion below!
We received our appetizers first, and were also offered a plate of bread with various whipped butters; Plain, red pepper and garlic. The butter was nice, and the bread was acceptable.
My client said the chicken was warm and seasoned adequately, and the salad was ok overall, but indicated it was nothing out of the ordinary that he couldn’t make himself.
My soup was also rather decent, not overly-salty. A rather simple puree of flavors. Was nice to eat a hot soup on a frigid day. One thing we both pointed out was that the cylindrical utensils were a bit awkward to use since they don’t give you a solid point of stability when using them. While they looked nice and fancy, were not quite what you would call very efficient to use. A minor gripe.
His panini arrived and was a very decent portion of food. Lots of grilled vegetables, the same kind of chicken as the salad, and “a whole lot” of pesto sauce. He indicated the panini bread was too hard or stale. This is something they should improve. The plate also came with some vegetable condiments and fresh-made potato chips. He ended up eating the contents of the sandwich with knife and fork instead of risking losing a tooth. But overall, he said the quality of the ingredients were good otherwise.
I was debating between the Angus burger ($8) and the Kobe burger for quite some time. I decided to go with the Kobe, since I’ve never tasted one before. Also added cheddar cheese and jalepeno bacon, which I’ve never heard of before either. It arrived with the same condiments and chips as the panini. The burger had a heaping portion of the bacon, but that didn’t hide the fact that the meat was disproportionately smaller than the kaiser roll. Not sure if they make the burger by weight or not, but was surely too small for the roll. However, after tasting it, my dissatisfaction went away pretty quickly. The meat was delicious, lean and juicy. A very unique flavor for a burger. I ended up removing the bacon (which was nice and spicy) so I could enjoy the taste more thoroughly. The chips were very nicely done, and I’d love to be able to buy bags of them separately. I got a little “chipped out” and was craving a nice french fry eventually. Overall it was a good diversion from the standard (or bone-chip laden) run-of-the-mill burger.
I was stuffed at this point, but was eager to compare their apple tart (with cinnamon ice cream) to my favorite in the world (Sandy’s Homemade Apple Tart at Sasso’s deli). While the dish didn’t come with those yummy crumbs on top, it was still very good. Fresh apples along with a decent crust and very spicy ice cream made for a great combination. I could barely dent it. We both agreed that the ice cream was very strong on the cinnamon side, but was still refreshing.
Since this was a purely off-peak (non-alcoholic) lunch review, it’s hard to see how they handled themselves under pressure. But the service was just fine and the food was certainly not bad by any means. They had many other interesting things on the menu, such as a tasty-sounding buffalo chicken salad, which I’ll try next time. The owners at Shades are very nice and accommodating people who strive to make their customers happy. We had a brief discussion about how they are taking the comments made here on Hoboken411, and they responded just as I hoped. They are pleased to receive any and all comments because, unlike other businesses in Hoboken, they view it as a way to get a true feel of what people’s opinions are, like a free suggestion box. It’s better to hear what people have to say, even if it’s not all good, because otherwise you may never know the mistakes you’re making if customers don’t ever come back.
Note: Today’s review comes from a guest reviewer and regular Hoboken411 reader, “Toby”. Another guest review, and the Hoboken411 review to come at a later date.
My first experience at Shades of Hoboken
I knew my family was coming to town, so I went online to make reservations one week in advance. They called me to follow up because I didn’t put the time of the reservation, silly me. I wasn’t sure about the size of the restaurant, but I asked to be near the entertainment, but not too close. I would have been better off asking for a seat outside because the music was disturbingly loud. We couldn’t find the free parking, so I called and was told that it is the parking that is not gated and behind the restaurant. I told her that the entire area behind the restaurant was gated. She ensured me it wasn’t?? There wasn’t any sign either that clearly indicated “parking for Shades of Hoboken”. It is a scavenger hunt to follow the directions to the front of the restaurant. I suppose I shouldn’t complain since it was free, but they have to consider that some people may visit from out of town, and not be familiar with the area. We walked in and the hostess was very accommodating and checked our coats. We sat at the bar awaiting another guest to arrive. I was impressed with the unusual snack at the bar! Something healthy, trail mix! I am not sure about you, but whenever I arrive to a restaurant and sit at the bar waiting, I fill up on those stupid nuts, breadsticks, popcorn or what have you. Trail mix was a definite change, you can only eat so much of that.
Continue reading below, and see what the verdict is!
Again, while we waited, we ordered mixed drinks and wine and my nephew got a Shirley Temple.
Take a look at the cherries: They had yellow, red and blue cherries. I think I enjoyed that more than my nephew did!
After a while, the last guest arrived and we got seated. We were served various breads and flat breads with 3 types of butter: Garlic butter, non-sweetened butter (yuck), and roasted pepper butter. While I didn’t fill up at the bar, the bread killed that idea. I had to try not to eat too much, but the bread was fresh and the flat bread crisp. It was a very good way to start the meal.
The waiter came and took our drink order and asked if we would like to hear the specials. That was much appreciated. There is nothing I hate more than going through the entire menu figuring what I want to eat and then the specials are mentioned and you completely get confused after you’ve already made up your mind. The waiter also mentioned the price with the specials. Another thing I can’t stand is when you want the special, but it is too tacky to ask how much its costs. But these are things that you would typically see in any even halfway decent restaurant, so I can’t laud them too much. I was with my family, so I wouldn’t have cared, but for those that are on dates and want to order some high-priced specials, it’s very helpful!
Very important: We ordered 3 appetizers and a “Caesar” salad to start.
We got 2 shrimp cocktails, and there was absolutely nothing good to say about them. My father and I looked at each other and he said, “kinda tough” and we laughed. The shrimp were entirely way overcooked and the cocktail sauce had to be placed on the shrimp with a fork. I liked the cocktail sauce, but felt there wasn’t a sufficient amount. My father (who’s a natural comedian) felt he could lay a hurting on someone if he used the shrimp as a weapon. My nephew was very upset because he loves shrimp and he wouldn’t eat them! We had some concern of how “tender” the meat would be, but at least they “looked” tasty.
The third appetizer was the crab cakes. One thing to note was that we waited quite awhile for the appetizers to come out. However, the waiter did respectively come and let us know that the crab cakes take some time. I thought these were fantastic. My sister enjoyed them as well, but she has had much better at Morton’s. They were moist, lightly fried, and definitely NOT fishy at all.
At this point, we were a very curious as to why the Caesar salad takes an extremely long time.
I was willing to ask the waiter where it was, but my brother-in-law felt it wasn’t necessary anymore, because if it was on the bill at the end, we can mention how we never got it. I asked him if he was sure the waiter heard him and then I recalled the conversation about the anchovies. The waiter made a point to say that the Caesar salad comes with them.
Now for the entrées. One of the specials was the Prime Rib. I asked all what they were getting and it turned out that we only ate 2 variety meals between us all. Sorry, I was the first to order and my family changed their minds, so too late for me to try something different. So much for trying to get a good mix! Anyway, it again took about 20 minutes for the entrées to arrive (we placed the order at the same time as appetizers and if you remember the crab cakes take awhile). We sat down at about 8:15, it was now 75 minutes later.
Below is the mixed grill (chicken, shrimp and filet). The chicken was very dry and sadly overcooked, I didn’t eat it. The smoked shrimp (which I was afraid was going to be tough) was surprisingly great. Cooked perfectly and the smoked taste was superb. My brother-in-law also agreed that this was good. The filet I felt was reheated in the microwave, tasted “microwavey” but still edible. Not good at all. My brother-in-law felt it was a little better than I thought. He emphatically agreed with me about the chicken. Run over by a car and left in a desert.
The prime rib was a hit; a large portion for $26. All those that ate the prime rib felt the same. The meat was tender and cooked the way they asked. We felt that if you ate the crab cakes and the prime rib, your experience would have been better. My sister rated the prime rib an 8 out of 10.
Lastly, the sides. My sister felt that the string beans tasted like they were out of a can, my dad felt they were fine, but then again, he always eats out of a can so he felt right at home. I tasted the freshness, but thought that it was because they were slightly overcooked that made them taste like canned beans. Soggy. The seasoning was enjoyable. The sweet mashed potato with bourbon was the chef’s special. Tasted a little like baby food, my dad agreed. My sister didn’t feel that way and liked them. They were tasty, but maybe the bourbon did something or was it the wine we were having?
Dessert anyone? We did take a look at the menu and my father was wondering about the “homemade” cheesecake and if that was a gamble. The consensus was to go to Cold Stone Creamery instead.
On a related note, my 14 year-old nephew had to ask what the word “Cockburn” on the menu meant. Can anyone help?
(411 Note: It’s a port wine from Portugal (no pun intended). Read more about it HERE)
In a nutshell:
- Crab Cakes
- Prime rib
- Shrimp entrée
- Fun bar snacks
- Atmosphere (far from band)
- Shrimp cocktail
- Chicken entrée
- LOUD music
- String beans
- Order errors
Overall, the wait was long, but it didn’t matter because the company was great. I don’t get to see my family very often. The ambiance was nice; a great sized restaurant. The music was nice and “classy”, but way too loud. During intermission, my father had to make a wise crack and say, “okay, quick, how is everyone” before the music started again. In the end, while some dishes were tasty, the food overall was simply not all that great, especially for the cost ($300 for five people including tip). My recommendation is go for the crab cakes for sure and maybe try the specials or the prime rib. We did chat with some people that ordered the shrimp cocktail and I asked them to go to Hoboken411 and mention if theirs was bad as well. The waiter was pleasant and mature, despite his lone mistake with the salad. The bus girl needed more experience, but hey, “they just opened”. How long do you think a restaurant should get that “just opened” excuse? With $75 steak on the menu, perhaps they should have hired more seasoned restaurant professionals.
PS, the Caesar salad never made it to the bill. I guess they are still making it!
See some other pictures below.
The owners were kind enough to send me one of the promo shots they’re going to be using for their NJ Monthly advertisement.
No word yet on their exact opening date, but hopefully it’s soon!
After leaving a message with Shades a few weeks ago to remind them of the photos they promised of their new restaurant, I still haven’t received a response. It’s ok, they’re probably overwhelmed with much more important things than giving a website some pictures. Guys, if you’re reading, please send those pictures!
In the meanwhile, I did snap a photo through the outside door last weekend during the Artists Tour. You can see a glimpse of what the bar area looks like. Definitely shaping up nicely.
Click below to read previous updates.
New opening date – end of October.
I had a chance to sit down with the owners of Shades of Hoboken this week to take a quick tour of the restaurant and learn more about it. They’re still a few weeks away, but I think it will be worth the wait. I’ll have some pictures hopefully in a day or two.
Shades of Hoboken is going to be a bit different from your typical upscale restaurant in Hoboken. They’ve done their best to preserve as much of the original building as possible. From the masonry walls to the Southern Longleaf Yellow Pine columns and other furniture. This was the most sought after wood during the revolutionary war, as it was the strongest material available at the time to build ships.
They also plan to incorporate much of the local art and music community as possible. Considerations include a monthly display of featured artists work on the walls as well as some performing arts and music.
The bar was spacious and deep, with all the latest modern equipment. Cocktail tables surrounded the bar. In addition, they’ve installed an elevated sidewalk outside the eastern side of the building, and will have railing to encompass the outside seating there. Sometime in the future, they also plan to put an outdoor patio on the south side for additional exterior seating.
So beyond being just another fancy cookie-cutter restaurant, it’s obvious there will be more character and community involvement at Shades of Hoboken. I can imagine them doing quite well once they open.
A little history of the building. You know they named it “Shades” as it was the former Levolor blinds factory. However, there is much more. Prior to Levolor, it was Ferguson Bros. Manufacturing Company from 1903 to 1953, run by Harry Ferguson (supposedly related to the Stevens family). The NJ Industrial Directory listed them as producing “occasional furniture, chairs & bridge sets”. In 1953, they were bought out by “Sun-Glo Industries” and moved to Virginia.
In 1957 Lorentzen Hardware Mfg. Corp. had taken over the plant. By 1966, this company had become the Levolor Lorentzen, Inc., producer of Venetian blinds and a variety of window treatment products. That operation closed sometime in the late 80′s.
In 1991 the building was bought out by Dil Hoda and Gerard Saddel for the purpose of serving artists and not allowing it to become just another converted condo.
Scheduled to open on August 1st.
Opening up in the Monroe Center in a few weeks, is a new high-end steak-based restaurant called "Shades of Hoboken".
Description: Upscale Dining. Exclusive Kobe Beef dish. Music and Jazz on weekends.
Address: 720 Monroe Street Hoboken, NJ 07030
Here's the latest on their location (thanks higgins!):
What will this restaurant be about?
Well, for starters, they'll have something that isn't necessarily common in this area, Kobe Beef. That dish is $75 bucks a plate. Remember The Matrix? It better taste this good:
The rest of their menu doesn't look that outrageous. You can see that below.
Based in the Monroe Center AND with complimentary parking, the establishment doesn't really have anything holding it back from being a successful upscale restaurant.
I for one, welcome another high-end place to give locations like Madison or 340 a run for their money, or to improve their value.
Here's some more information:
(taken from their website at http://www.shadesofhoboken.com/about.html )
Hoboken has a long and colorful history, from its early days as a hurly-burly working class community to its current status as one of the Metropolitan Area's most diverse and desirable towns.
Years ago, Hoboken was a major manufacturing center, making products as diverse as ship propellers to Tootsie Rolls. On of the city's best known and largest employers was Levolor, one of the largest producers of custom window blinds. Originally built for the Ferguson Furniture Company, 720 Monroe Street has had a colorful history. For nearly a century, Levolor employed hundreds of local residents at its massive plant, which remained active through the 1980s.
Today, this building is the Monroe Center for the Arts, which also hosts one the city's hottest new restaurants, Shades of Hoboken, aptly named after the building's former tenant.
See MENUS BELOW
SAT SUN BRUNCH:
BRUNCH IN THE SHADES
Soup du Jour $5
Garden tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, roasted red peppers, and aceto balsamico $8
Fresh Fruit Salad
With raspberry yogurt sauce $8
Grave Lox Plate
Capers, red onions, chives, crème fraiche $9
Egg custard, bacon, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses $8
Chicken Caesar Salad
Grilled chicken breast, romaine, rosemary crisps, and shaved parmesan $14
Bananas Foster Buttermilk Pancakes
Rum infused caramel sauce, cinnamon whipped cream $10
Chorizo and Egg Burrito
Spicy Spanish sausage, scrambled eggs, sour cream, and salsa $10
Grilled Atlantic Salmon
Lemon olio and crispy leeks $16
Steak and Eggs
Certified Angus beef grilled Hangar steak and two eggs any style $14
Eggs baked with wild mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, and jalapeno jack cheese $10
Smoked Shrimp Alfredo
Fettuccine, fresh herbs, parmesan, and cream $16
Grilled Portobello, fresh goat cheese, and roasted peppers, and caramelized onions $10
Soup du Jour $5
Barbeque Baby Back Ribs
Rack of in-house mesquite smoked baby backs with homemade barbeque sauce $9
Steamed clams, garlic, fresh herbs, white wine $10
Prosciutto di Parma, shaved parmesan, extra virgin olive oil $10
White beans, extra virgin olive oil, garlic crostini $11
White truffle vinaigrette, shaved parmesan $12
Mixed greens, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, balsamic vinaigrette $10
Buffalo Chicken Salad
Grilled chicken breast with buffalo hot sauce, carrots, celery, and bleu cheese dressing over baby greens $12
Pan Seared Scallops
Mixed greens, roasted red peppers, balsamic vinaigrette $14
Shades Chicken Salad
Grilled chicken breast with baby arugula, goat cheese, cranberries, and walnuts $12
Baby greens, cherry tomatoes, lime dressing $14
Design a Burger
Your choice of Kaiser or pretzel roll with lettuce,
tomato, pickle, and potato frips
pound certified Angus Beef $8
pound Buffalo Burger $10
pound Kobe Burger $14
Specialty toppings $2
Sautéed wild mushrooms
Chipotle caramelized onions
Hearty smoked bacon
Sandwiches and Wraps
All sandwiches served on fresh ciabatta bread
Cheese Steak Wrap
Thinly sliced rib eye, peppers, onions, American cheese $10
Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Grilled chicken, spicy buffalo sauce, julienne carrots, celery, and bleu cheese dressing $9
Marinated certified Angus beef and chipotle caramelized onions $13
Prosciutto di Parma, fresh mozzarella, baby arugula, Aceto Balsamico, and cracked pepper $10
Shades Chicken Panini
Mesquite smoked chicken, roasted peppers, fontina cheese, and pesto sauce $11
Grilled Portobello mushrooms, eggplant, fresh mozzarella, and sherry vinaigrette $9
Marinated grilled eggplant, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and balsamic vinegar in a spinach tortilla $9
Sliced certified Angus beef with Shitake mushroom sauce $16
Marinated 10 oz certified Angus beef with frizzled onions $18
Crispy leeks and lemon olio $17
Apple pie with cinnamon ice cream
Deep fried cheesecake
Chocolate truffle mousse
Soup Du Jour
Sauteed crab cake with red pepper coulis and white truffle oil
Garden tomatoes, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, basil, and aceto balsamico
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
The classic served with cocktail sauce
Prosciutto di Parma, shaved parmesan, extra virgin olive oil
Steamed clams, garlic, fresh herbs, white wine
White truffle vinaigrette and shaved parmesan
Mixed greens, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, balsamic vinaigrette
Rosemary crisps and shaved Parmesan
Shades House Salad
Mixed greens with goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts, and champagne vinaigrette
Mixed greens, sliced strawberries, vanilla vinaigrette
16 oz. certified Angus beef with balsamic shallots
Two certified Angus filet medallions with brown butter garlic sauce
20 oz. certified Angus beef filet and sirloin with maitre d’hotel butter
Buffalo Rib Eye
Leaner and sweeter than beef, with corn salsa
In-house mesquite smoked half spring chicken with smokey jus
Chicken scaloppini wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma with wilted spinach and natural sage jus
Petite filet, chicken breast, and smoked shrimp with garlic herb butter
Two center cut pork chops with port reduction and sweet onion jam
Certified Kobe beef rib eye
Pan seared with asparagus spears, baby clams, and lobster essence
Cedar Salmon and Shrimp
Cedar roasted salmon with jumbo smoked shrimp and crispy leeks
Broiled twin lobster tails with citrus butter
Lobster Potato Croquettes – $7 Garlic Haricot Vert – $5
Whipped Potatoes – $5 Jumbo Baked Potato -$5
Creamed Spinach – $5 Shades Hash Brown Potatoes – $5