After a fabulous meal last year I was excited to return to Hudson’s. The reservation was for Monday and I always fear Monday nights as many chefs are off, and this visit confirmed that fear. It was a rough night in the kitchen, not only for our table but those around us who were complaining to the manager about the slow service. Watching the lack of food leaving the kitchen, they were sending whatever, whenever at the beginning until our table sent back 80% of the orders and then the manager intervened and there was nothing for quite some time thereafter. The first half of the evening was a mess.
Our party of five arrived a couple of minutes late (under 5 minutes), yet there was no table for five set. We waited while they rearranged a couple of tables, placed the plates and settings on the table and we were finally seated. We ordered a flatbread while we looked through the menu for our dinner selections. The menu describes the flatbread as roasted butternut squash, ricotta, sage, sunflower seeds and purple kale. It arrived and after one bite I knew that the Chef was not in the kitchen. There was no way this product met his standards. The squash was flavorless, there was no kale, the melted ricotta was already turning hard and there was zero seasoning. It was a far cry from the wonderful flatbread of the previous year.
For my entrée I ordered the Hudson Burger medium-rare with bacon (there was another burger order at the table). My wife ordered the salad with shrimp, as did her mom. The Hudson burger contains the patty, caramelized onion marmalade, and fontina, served with lime & black pepper pommes frites. For an addition $1 you can add bacon, which I added. When they arrived I cut my burger in half and it was beyond well-done, the other burger was equally incinerated, and we returned both to the kitchen. My wife asked me to taste the shrimp and it was inedible, completely overwhelmed by salt. Our table of five sent back four entrées, two burgers and both shrimp dishes. When I asked the server if the chef was in the kitchen she replied, “Chef Paul is off tonight.” No surprise.
Round 2 of both were properly prepared. The Manager approached to see how the re-fires were and said that the Chef cooked it himself, and she offered to buy us desserts. The meat was excellent, but the other ingredients were not so. The bacon was a touch salty, and the caramelized onion marmalade was from caramelized and further from marmalade, more quickly sautéed onions, crunchy and pungent and slapped on top of the burger. The kitchen added some iceberg lettuce and a scant slice of tomato that covered one-half of the burger. It was too bad the kitchen failed miserably on the first burger and the toppings on the second were diner-quality. Too bad as the meat deserved better.
For dessert I ordered the apple crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was also very disappointing. It was better described as a bowl of crumble with a few slices of apples tucked underneath. I ate the ice cream, fished for the apples slices and a little crumble and called it a night.
The server was wonderful, she was pleasant throughout and handled the kitchen disasters with grace and charm. After I spoke with the manager about four out of five entrées being unacceptable, she professionally intervened, there was a hiatus and then the food started arriving at nearby tables. Major kudos to her, without her I think the entire restaurant would have packed up and left.
Obviously it was an incredibly disappointing visit to Hudson’s, the wheels fell off the kitchen, and it required a manager intervention before the ship was righted to at least move the meal from inedible and unacceptable to serviceable.