Food & Drink
FOOD: Carpe Diem [Hoboken, NJ]
by Brittany Temple
To the majority of folks out there, “carpe diem” loosely translates as “seize the day.” To me, it now means so much more than that—and it has something to do with a cozy fireplace nook, an incredible open-faced sandwich, and drool-inducing sweet potato fries. All of these things came into my life the night I dined at Carpe Diem of uptown Hoboken.
Straying from the beaten restaurant path of Washington Street, Carpe Diem is tucked under the 14th Street Viaduct on Grand Street, across from the AMC movie theater. When I entered the bar/restaurant, the dim lighting accented by candles and a glowing fireplace immediately warmed me inside and out on such a frigid winter night.
We were able to sit immediately and because it is a small place and was not packed, we were told to sit wherever. Our server promptly informed us that it was not only happy hour until 8 p.m. and applicable in the dining room, but all wine bottles were half price on Thursdays. Double boozy win.
I was not familiar with most of their draft selection but I am a big fan of discovering new beers so this was a welcomed challenge. We opted for a Brooklyn Lager and Hennepin Ale. It was my first time trying Hennepin and it was very tasty—a light bodied, crisp ale with an extremely refreshing quality. All drafts were $4 for happy hour, so we were off to a great start.
The menu at Carpe Diem includes some extremely interesting options, such as brie egg rolls and “pasties”—ground angus and potatoes stuffed inside a puff pastry and served up with gravy…yes please! There are classic salads for all the herbivores out there as well as an impressive burger selection for the carnivorous. I thought I might end up with one of their burgers but there were many recommendations to try the Katie’s Way sandwich, and that I did.
You can choose to have any sandwich in “peckish” form, which is essentially a half serving. I ordered the Katie’s Way “peckish” portion with a side of sweet potato fries—an item that also came highly recommended. Katie’s Way is an open-faced sandwich consisting of sliced turkey breast, crispy bacon, melted Gruyere cheese, and topped with brown gravy.
I was very happy I chose the peckish serving as it was quite large and more than enough for a meal. To my utter delight the sweet potato fries were brought out on a separate plate to keep them from getting sogified (yes, I made that word up—consider it trademarked) by the brown gravy—something that I didn’t ask for but was totally appreciated! The bread was thick, the bacon crispy, and the turkey breast was actual turkey breast—not just deli cold cuts. The brown gravy was sweet and savory all at the same time and had just enough on the sandwich without drowning it. And to top it all off, the sweet potato fries were crispy and amazing and came with two ramekins—one with ketchup, and one with a sweet honey mustard sauce. These were not special requests; they are merely part of the meal package. I was overwhelmed with French fry gratitude and starting to think the server was reading my mind.
When we received our check, our server informed us that due to the problems they were having with their heating system at the time (the restaurant was a little chilly but not enough to keep a coat on), our second round of drinks was on the house. This was the icing on my awesome experience cake. Everything about this cozy little restaurant makes me want to come back and seize not just the day, but also everything on their menu.
1405 Grand Street