Place: Oddfellows Rest
Neighborhood: Hoboken, 80 River Street (between Hudson Place and Newark St.)
The scoop: Oddfellows has the distinction of being Hoboken’s only authentic Creole and Cajun restaurant, and one of the few in the NYC vicinity. In a town filled with American bars and restaurants, Oddfellows stands out by offering a different menu than your typical place. I’ve been here several times to enjoy their late night bar scene, and had dinner here once a few years ago. My boyfriend loves their food and has had several meals here, so we were both excited to check out their brunch.
Oddfellows separates their bar and dining area and offers outdoor seating on the sidewalk and in a large courtyard area in the back of the restaurant. We arrived around 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon to find Oddfellows relatively empty. There was a mix of all age groups dining, from a younger 20-something crowd to parents dining with their children. We were seated in the dining room, but the only music that was playing was coming from the bar, which made the dining room oddly quiet. Russ actually preferred the quieter dining experience, but between the lack of music and general lack of excitement among the diners, it created what only I can only describe as a very blah atmosphere. The service was really slow. The server apologized at one point, but considering that there weren’t many people there, it was almost inexcusable. In addition to offering an à la carte and prix-fixe brunch menu, Oddfellows’ full lunch menu is also available during brunch hours. Although I am not a huge fan of Cajon/Creole food, I was disappointed to only see one item on the brunch menu, the crawfish benedict, that really fit into this type of cuisine.
Bottoms up: Since I opted to do the $20 prix-fixe, I got my choice of two mimosas or bloody Marys. Russ skipped the prix-fixe and sipped water with his brunch. I went with the mimosa, and was really looking forward to a nice drink to clear up my sinuses, since I had been having problems all week (alcohol cures everything, right?). Luckily, the mimosa did not disappoint. It was strong, and I could tell that they did not skimp on the champagne. I also did not have to wait very long to receive my second mimosa.
Chew on this:
Cornbread / Complimentary
Every table gets a complimentary basket of cornbread. I was looking forward to it, but we didn’t receive it until shortly before our meals came out. We were given three generously-sized pieces of cornbread. It was warm, moist and buttery. Just the way cornbread should be! Although it was served with butter packets on the side, it definitely didn’t need any.
Steak & eggs $13 ($23 prix fixe) / Marinated char-grilled hanger steak, two eggs any style
I wasn’t overly impressed with the brunch options, so I decided to go with steak and eggs. Although I love steak, this isn’t something I usually order when I go to brunch … and this dish reminded me why. Hanger steak isn’t my favorite cut of meat, but I was excited to give it a try for brunch. I ordered it medium rare, but some pieces were cooked medium. It wasn’t completely flavorless, but I don’t think it was seasoned or marinated at all before it was cooked. I got the eggs scrambled. They weren’t dry or too runny and had a nice taste. They were my favorite part of the meal. I liked seeing the breakfast potatoes come in a different form than diced home fries, but these chips were really dry. The salad was a surprise, as it was not listed on the menu, but could have used more dressing. This dish lacked any type of pizazz. Nothing about it stood out or made me want to come back for another brunch. It wasn’t terrible, and I finished it (mostly because I was starving), but I was disappointed.
Breakfast burrito $10 ($20 prix-fixe) / Scrambled eggs, chorizo sausage, breakfast potatoes, Monterey jack & cheddar cheese in a flour tortilla
I was between this and the monte cristo but opted to go with the burrito. It was a decent size but on the dry side. There were a good amount of each of the ingredients in the burrito. I also asked to add peppers and onions to the burrito. I’m glad I did, because they gave it a little extra flavor. The chorizo also gave it a nice kick. I thought that the breakfast potatoes were dry and bland as well. I put some Tony C’s creole seasoning on them and dipped them in ketchup to combat the dryness. This was an average breakfast burrito and nowhere near as good as dinner here.
The final bite: Based on past experiences at Oddfellows and the Louisiana-style vibe and food, I was expecting a fun brunch. However, the menu offerings and less than average food left us with a very lackluster experience. Check out their lunch or dinner, but skip the brunch.
Reviewed by: Jen