8/9/2007 Refresher:

This was originally written by Hoboken411 for the GoOutJersey.com site last week. I had a bad “lunch special” this day and will be reluctant to go back for a while…

With time almost running out (it’s over already.. it was last week) for the twice-annual Hudson Restaurant week, I had the opportunity to review one of the few places in Hoboken I haven’t yet written about, The Brass Rail (135 Washington St.)

It was a very hot day, so no one was sitting outside. After going inside to tell the waitress that we’d like to sit outside, I was glad I did. It smelled funny inside. Like a dirty, musty bar. Good choice.

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All participating venues in Hudson Restaurant Week serve dinner at least. Brass Rail was one of the few places that served lunch as well. $12 prix fixe. You got to basically pick three items from a list of about 12. Some of the dishes sounded good, like the skirt steak sandwich with carmelized onions and blue cheese, or the duck salad on sourdough bread. They also had soups and salads too. See the lunch menu here. I think they run this special all year, and not just for restaurant week.

Keep in mind that the “3 for $12″ special are very small portions. Very small. I chose the duck salad sandwich, a crab cake and the red bliss potato salad. My lunch-mate picked the black bean soup, fresh mozz & tomato salad and the crab cake too.

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When the “dish” came out, I felt as if I was being offered appetizers at a cocktail party. Fine, I probably need to lose a couple pounds, so I forged ahead.

I like crab cakes normally, and was expecting a treat. Wrong. What I got was a fishy-tasting, mushy crab “like” nugget. It also had scales or something that wasn’t supposed to be in there. I gagged slightly. My friend also noticed the off smell, but ate it anyway.

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The small scoop of potato salad was acceptable. Needed a little bit of pepper. But nothing to write to mom about.

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Moving on to this duck salad sandwich. I had asked the waitress if it was a crispy kind of duck (like at Sri Thai). She told me yes, and thought I might enjoy it. What I received instead was a very sour and gamey tasting concoction on very dissatisfying bread. “Blech.” That’s the only way I can describe it.

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I also tried the soup, which was pureed black beans. Had decent flavor, but uninspired texture. She also had the fresh Mozzarella salad which is next to impossible to make poorly.

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I was very disappointed with the meal overall. I wanted some McDonald’s afterward. I will now believe my friend that says this place is overrated and gone down hill over the past few years. While The Brass Rail is a rather popular bar on weekends (with DJ), I will avoid eating here for some time to come.

10/6/06 Update:

They’re getting an upgrade. Just in time for the cooler weather.
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Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Description – Restaurant & Bar. Gourmet New American cuisine. Fine Dining. Outdoor café. Zagat rated. Prix fixe /Earlybird – 3 Course meal $29, Wine Tasting events – (see website). Entrée price range $18-$30
Services – Bar, Large selection of wines, Private Parties, Special wine events, Prix Fixe Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch, Live Jazz
Website – www.thebrassrailrestaurant.com
Address – 135 Washington St, Hoboken, New Jersey ( NJ ) 07030
Telephone – (201) 659-7074

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