Leo's Grandevous, Hoboken, NJ
Tonight, I had dinner with Frank Sinatra.
We had dinner at Leo's Grandevous (rendevous on Grand Street apparently). It is a popular neighborhood Italian restaurant that has been serving Hoboken for more than 70 years, and its theme is unanimously and undoubtedly all things Sinatra. When you first walk in, there is a long stretch of a bar, but after you take your eyes off the shiny bottles of alcohol, you see the exposed brick wall...which is actually sparse once you realize that every spare inch of wall is decorated with photos and posters of Ol' Blue Eyes, as well as other famous patrons (Joe DiMaggio signed a photo on the wall!). There is even a jukebox in the corner that plays his music. I don't know if I've ever seen a real jukebox before! We sat under a plaque with a dairy maid and holding a Samuel Adams beer banner, and a surfboard with Sinatra's face on it. I'm not sure if Frank Sinatra has ever eaten here, but it really is a shrine dedicated to the man.
|Stuffed Pork Chops|
|Mushroom Bar Pie|
First, we had some hot and cold antipasti: clams in marinara, mozzarella sticks, cheese ravioli, prosciutto, olives, cheese, and salami. Everything was very flavorful and tasty and artfully arranged.
For my meal, I had a mushroom bar pie, a small personal pizza. Once I touched it with my knife and fork (yes, fancy pizza), I was transported back to Florence, Italy, to a pizzeria we visited after touring the Bargello. Our TA highly recommended a place called Yellow Bar for their "delish soupy pizza" and we were definitely intrigued. I split a pizza that was topped with chicory, ham, and olives. The "soupy" pizza detail was actually pretty accurate: the pizza toppings were soggy and wet in the center, but intentionally so! The pizza was very fresh and light. The same was the case for the bar pie I had at Leo's. The crust was crunchy and the center was definitely soupy.
The whole dining experience was remarkable, more than just the food. I mean, it's not every day you eat at a restaurant that has got a jukebox playing in the background. This place filled up remarkably quickly at 5pm and was bustling all night. I could just feel the positive energy and happiness and loud conversation that came from every table, including ours. It was a trip backwards in time that I really enjoyed.