Texas Arizona

1/15/2007 Update:

Back in August of 2006, we had a pretty bad dining experience at Texas Arizona. The manager was kind enough to come on here and acknowledge that there were indeed problems, and was working hard to rectify them. He wanted us to give him some time to address the issues before we reviewed the place again.

We went back last week. To sum it up: A slight improvement, but still needs a lot of work. Read below for the analysis.

To be fair, we didn’t order the exact same items as the initial review. But here is how it went.

For starters, we chose an odd time for a meal. In between lunch and dinner. The place was empty with the exception of a few people whetting their whistles. Chose a seat in the upper area of the main bar. Our waitress was friendly with an upbeat attitude. Ordered some beverages to test the taps. One Diet Cola and a sweetened iced tea (they didn’t offer unsweetened). Since the previous drinks were downright poisonous, we payed more attention to them. They were definitely not tainted, but I felt it still had an odd taste. Did they change from RC cola to another brand? Either way, it was tolerable, which is an improvement.

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The meal, and our conclusion…

It was our first meal of the day, so we were a bit hungry. Started out with the pulled-pork tacos again. This was the one thing I ate last time that was rather tasty. It certainly wasn’t awful, but wasn’t as good as I remembered. I truly believe there is something wrong with their fryer or oil, or whatever they cooked the tacos in. Perhaps I’m hyper-sensitive to foreign smells, but something wasn’t kosher to me. The pork wasn’t as good either. My dining companion had no significant complaints.

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We followed with a Corn Chowder soup and a “Texas Arizona Burger” (which comes with bacon and cheese – so much for eating better, right?)

The corn chowder. My friend said it was “ok”, but kind of lacked any impactful flavor to make it stand out. Not bad, but she said she wouldn’t order it again. The tortilla chips had the same peculiar smell and off-taste as the tacos. I sniffed them for several minutes trying to identify what it was. Not sure if they make them there or not. It struck me as a “not supposed to smell like that” smell. The corn chowder grew on me as the meal progressed.
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Now for the burger. I ordered it medium, with pepper-jack cheese. I also asked for a side of buffalo sauce to dip my fries in. When it arrived, it didn’t have bacon. I told the waitress it was supposed to come with it. She went back to the kitchen and promptly brought 2 strips for me to apply. They also brought BBQ sauce instead of Buffalo, so I asked the guy that brought the food for that as well. Little annoyances that you shouldn’t have to deal with.

The meat was cooked well on the outside, but bloody raw on the inside. Also had a very “not supposed to chew like this” consistency. Tough and chunky is the best I can describe it. Odd. I was convinced they were frozen burgers due to the disparity. Either that, or the grill was too hot? I asked the waitress and she said they made them fresh. I was puzzled.

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To continue with the burger, the fries were definitely improved. They didn’t have the same odd oil taste as the tacos or chips. Tasted pretty good, like tater tots or something similar. My bewilderment continues.

Halfway through the burger I hit a tough spot. I bit into something VERY hard. So much, that it stunned me. Like a tooth or piece of bone or something. I fished through my mouth to retrieve the petrified mystery object. I put it in my wallet to take it home for further investigation. I mean, c’mon. How hard is it to make a decent hamburger? Just go to Oddfellow’s or Three-A’s and see how they do it. Take notes. Please, do it!

Here’s a close-up of the object:

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Lastly, the check came. I gave the waitress the money and awaited the change. When I got it back, the change was $5 bucks short. I’m not going to name the waitresses name because she was much nicer than previous help, but you really need to count the change before giving it to the customer. I hunted her down eating her lunch in the other room, and she promptly corrected the situation.

Overall, the food and experience was still not really up to par in our opinion. Too many things wrong. Until major improvements are made (such as re-vamping the entire menu and finding new suppliers), I’ll forever consider this a “I’ll eat when I’m drunk and starving” restaurant. I really want to like it, too! Maybe we’ll be back in the summer to give the chicken dishes another go-around. Until then, 411 will not be going back. Sorry!

10/17/06 Update:

Did anyone read the review in this weekends Hoboken Reporter?

If you haven’t, please do so first before reading on. It’s on page 36.

I’m not sure how these places get reviewed by the Reporter. Do they kiss up to their advertisers and write such positive reviews on purpose? Reading our review and the comments below would have you thinking that their review was complete bullshit.

Now, I do occasionally go to Texas Arizona to meet friends, have some (bottled) beer or sit outside in the warmer weather. But they made this place out to be downright amazing. Peppered with happy exclamation points, they used phrases such as:

– “The service is efficient and friendly, which is just the right mix for this upbeat establishment”
– “Savvy Hobokenites…”
– “Food and Fun!”

No mention of the crappy service, frequently bad food, horrible taps or anything else. It appears Texas Arizona could do no wrong. Either that, or they were informed that The Reporter was coming in and to do the best job possible for the review, which is entirely biased and unfair to the reader.

Imagine if you just moved to Hoboken, read this stellar review, then went there and were fully disappointed? You’d immediately become “broken in” to what Hoboken is all about. You’d never take the Reporter seriously again.

SEE 8/16/06 REVIEW BELOW

Description – Popular Bar & Restaurant close to the Path. See menu on website. Zagat rated. Entrée price range $9-$19.
Services – Bar, Restaurant ( world cuisine)
Website – www.texasarizona.com
Address – 76 River St, Hoboken, New Jersey ( NJ ) 07030-5607
Telephone – (201) 420-0304

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August 2006

We’re rounding up our reviews of the more popular places in Hoboken, and Texas Arizona was next on our list.

We chose a quiet time between lunch and dinner, around 2pm. Sat down outside on the Hudson Place side. First thing we noticed was that there were one or two too many tables outside. They were crammed so tight, it was downright annoying. But shuffling them around a bit cured that problem.

Before we even sat down, our waitress was nice enough to get our drink orders started. We ordered a couple Diet Cokes. She brought the drinks out and took our order. Now soda and water are never normally commented on Hoboken411, because it’s pretty straight-forward and simple. However, in this instance, we need to indicate HOW HORRIBLE the drinks were. The Cokes tasted like chemicals or dirty taps. Couldn’t take more than two sips. We ordered water instead. THOSE WERE EVEN WORSE! Something has to be done with that. It’s probably unsanitary and unhealty. Gross.

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For starters we chose the Mini Tacos with Pulled Pork, Guacamole and Mango. These were a little surprise. Delicious pork, well seasoned, decent guac, and the mango and lime added a nice sweet touch. Fried flour tortillas may not be everyones favorite, but they were a tasty start to the meal.

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I noticed some halfway decent looking sandwiches other people were eating, so that’s what we ordered. One Chicken BLT sandwich, and one Grilled Chicken, Mozz and roasted peppers.

Oh boy, how disgusting were our next two plates.

The Grilled Chicken came out slimey and undercooked. Very lame presentation. Only one pepper on each side too. The roll was a bit dense as well. They took it back and re-did it. Still very unflavoful and boring. The fries were outright NASTY. They had an artificial taste to them (worse than movie popcorn butter). After tasting one or two, we had to stop. I’m gagging right now thinking about it.

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The Chicken BLT had a bit more promise, since it was a breaded and fried chicken breast. However, it took on an alien life-form kind of look. It actually looked CLOUDY. Not slimy and undercooked, but greasy and OVER cooked. It may have actually been sitting out for a while, who knows. The bacon on it was ok though. Again, the fries were downright awful. I don’t even want to know why they tasted so nauseating. Bleck.

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The one saving grace was that the pickle included was fresh and crisp. After leaving we had to get some real bottled water from the convenience store to wash the taste out of our mouth. We should have stopped at the appetizer, which was very good. Oh well, live and learn. Hopefully it was just a glitch in the kitchen, and the food isn’t normally like that.

59 Responses

  1. jdross19 says:

    Highly, highly entertaining. Thank you.

  2. danzig says:

    I must admit – in the spirit of full disclosure – that I have on occasion met people coming to town via PATH at Texas/Arizona. I don’t know why, but I have. Usually mid-day, mid afternoon. Never for eating, just for drinks. Even sitting on a barstool sipping a cool Sam Adams on a warm summer day, I don’t feel comfortable, but I do it anyway. Now, with many hours of deep professionally-directed psychological introspection do I have the reason: PORN! It’s all about PORN! I now know that some day, one day, in turn, each of these barmaids will be spit out the filthy bottom of the porn industry.
    Whew. What a relief. I thought for a moment there I was capitulating.

  3. bmacqueens says:

    Regarding the 1/17 review …

    1. You were shortchanged $5.00. In light of other problems, this is an extremely suspect situation. A fiver fits between the ones and tens. It cannot be overlooked — I know, I once did $20K of cash transactions in an afternoon when Bob Weir (Grateful Dead) played at the park where I was a cashier. I was ankle-deep in cash inside a locked booth. Either someone swiped your fiver as the waitress was circling to get her change from the bartender, or this was an attempt to shortchange you, like in Europe where the ticket booth people can smell you’re American and don’t know the currency, so they “slow count” you … if you take the money and scoot then they keep what they did not yet give to you.

    2. That white piece looks like a bone chip. I’ve found them in Italian pork sausage in this area. Hitting a bone chip, plus the odd texture of the meat suggests that you were served ground chuck or shoulder, not sirloin. A proper burger should be ground sirloin (i.e., steak), from the tender back or belly-ish meat. You were served something from the shoulders or legs. Chuck is for long time stewing, NOT quick grilling. Bone chip plus odd texture means that someone is seriously cutting corners on raw ingredients.

    3. Bad taco smell and bad tortilla chip smell? It is obvious from the picture that your shell was fried on the premises. Diagnosis: Bad oil. It’s either old, cheap, dirty or all of the above. Unforgiveable.

    4. Burger is way undercooked — obvious from the picture, which shows some purple on the edge away from the fire — kitchen staff doesn’t know or doesn’t care what they’re doing.

    5. Odd taste to the soda — either going flat (need to change the CO2 canister) or dirty lines (quite likely, I once had a miserable draft beer at this place).

    Overall, your bad experience is spot-on with the various criticisms that I’ve posted on 411 in the past … Restaurants in Hoboken put all their effort into looking good but don’t hire staff that know what the F— they’re doing, and can’t be bothered to get it right. Likewise, zero effort on basic cleanliness and maintenance. The good staff is in Manhattan, if you’re lucky.

  4. hoboken411 says:

    [quote comment=”10334″]411 everyone knows that fries ordered somewhere between lunch and dinner are never fresh. They were probably sitting since lunch and were reheated which dried them out. What did you expect here again? Does anyone in town create a new batch of fries for the people who show up at off hours in an empty restaurant?[/quote]

    Yippy, you should have read the review. The fries were one of the better things that day. They were perfectly fresh, unlike your attention span. 😉

  5. bmacqueens says:

    [quote comment=”10334″]411 everyone knows that fries ordered somewhere between lunch and dinner are never fresh. They were probably sitting since lunch and were reheated which dried them out. What did you expect here again? Does anyone in town create a new batch of fries for the people who show up at off hours in an empty restaurant?
    :P[/quote]

    My response — nonsense. Any place worth eating is going to splash a fresh order of fries. You do NOT keep that kind of stuff lying around, not if quality and reputation mean anything. Of course, in Hoboken, quality and reputation do not seem to mean anything.

    Yip, the very fact that you state that fries ordered between lunch and dinner are never fresh is perfectly indicative of my indictment of service establishments in this region … Wake up folks … nowhere else in America would someone serve you such crap. You think that you live in the Center of the Universe, but the truth is, it’s the Bunghole of the Universe when it comes to groceries, restaurants, etc., unless you pay through the nose.

  6. ZumaGirl says:

    Does anyone actually go to this place because they expect decent Tex/Mex? I always thought the objective of going here was to drink; then order the wallpaper paste guacamole.

  7. bmacqueens says:

    Further to this thread … Does anybody know of any good websites, blogs, etc. that could provide reviews for the restaurants up on the hill … Union City, West New York, etc.? I used to live in Queens and know that the little neighborhood joint that caters to locals often has the best food, regardless of whether the “beautiful people” go there. However, I can’t find any good sources for info on stuff that is up on the palisades. However, with the large Central American population up there, there must be some good taquerias, etc. ….

  8. mickeypickles says:

    I had a horrible dining experience here once. I ordered shrimp fajitas and I got a mountain of peppers and onions with 6 very small shrimp garnished on top. When I complained the manager started arguing with me saying “that’s how it’s served”, “shrimp is expensive”. I guess when you have that location you can have crap food and crap service and still make bank.

  9. hoboken411 says:

    Bmac- was trying to review some places we’ve eaten at before in JC and UC, such as La Gloria De Mexico and Pan Con Todo, and include them as part of the “Get out of Hoboken” series…

    But don’t know of any good review sites up that way. Maybe that’ll be the next move?

  10. Tobal says:

    I had a friend who was the chef/cook there. he’s really popular in the NJ food scene..Carl Ruiz…when he was there the food was very good. Since then i have not eaten there…sux for a place to go down hill!

  11. rapperd says:

    [quote comment=”10346″]Further to this thread … Does anybody know of any good websites, blogs, etc. that could provide reviews for the restaurants up on the hill … Union City, West New York, etc.? I used to live in Queens and know that the little neighborhood joint that caters to locals often has the best food, regardless of whether the “beautiful people” go there. However, I can’t find any good sources for info on stuff that is up on the palisades. However, with the large Central American population up there, there must be some good taquerias, etc. ….[/quote]

    There is an awesome mexican place (very cheap, too) right on the corner of Palisade & Congress… So it’s steps from the light rail and it is great food…
    Also, if you venture a little further up the street towards the southwest corner of the park there, Rumbas Cafe is also very good… You can have some great empenadas for dinner for like $5 …

  12. Stabone130 says:

    This place is TERRIBLE. And most people know it. They have what is probably the BEST location in Hoboken – DIRECTLY across from the PATH and still can’t fill seats!

    I’ve been there twice – first time was “eh”, second time the place was near-empty yet we still had to wait to be seated for almost 15 minutes – just to be seated! The waitstafff was nice but rarely to check our table. Evertyhing from ordering drinks to ordering to getting check took 20 minutes a pop. We couldn’t believe how horrible it was. Food was okay – but everything else was so bad that I’ll go to one of the 700 other restaurants in Hoboken with “okay” food but great service.

  13. Skywalker says:

    I don’t think any Hoboken resident in his or her right mind would choose to eat at Texas Arizona. In my mind it’s one small step up from the bar/restaurant inside the Hoboken train station.

  14. potatochip says:

    Has anyone been in here recently? The place needs to be shutdown ASAP and completly gutted!! The infamous beer stench is worse than ever.

    I had to meet a co-worker here last week for dinner and he was from out of town. Naturally, being a “NJ Transit” commuter, he only knew this dump. After 5 minutes, I pleaded with him to let me take him somewhere else or I might pass out or vomit, whichever came first. So, I took him all the way next door to Oddfellows (which is not my favorite either) and he was amazed that such a place existed. 😯

    Anyways, glad I turned my co-worker onto something other than flat beer and infested rotting wood stinking of beer but what is the deal here? If they shut down for a few months and at least ripped out the floors and replaced the bar and bathrooms, while I am at it… they may discover a rebirth!! who knows?

  15. mikey578041 says:

    There’s one bartender that works at Texas Arizona, she’s been there forever, she’s the most rude inattentive bitch of a bartender that I’ve ever come across in this town. The service in this place is horrible. Why would anyone go to this bar unless they’re from out of town coming out of the train station?

    • matt_72 says:

      What night? Never had a problem there myself, then again I never order anything but a beer and I usually only stay long enough to meet friends down by the PATH.

      In response to mikey578041 who said:

      There’s one bartender that works at Texas Arizona, she’s been there forever, she’s the most rude inattentive bitch of a bartender that I’ve ever come across in this town. The service in this place is horrible. Why would anyone go to this bar unless they’re from out of town coming out of the train station?

  16. MidnightRacer says:

    Crash and burn did ya? Forgot to pull the r-ejection cord?

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