One of my favorite parts about living in North Jersey are summer holiday weekends. As crazy as it sounds, I prefer to spend my time enjoying the temporary solitude of the area instead of heading to the Shore with the masses. It’s especially nice when you can enjoy a nice dinner outside without having to make a reservation days (or weeks) in advance.
This past Memorial Day weekend, my family and I headed to Manhattan for an afternoon street festival. After a long, hot day of walking, we ventured back to my apartment in the Paulus Hook section of Jersey City to relax before heading out to a late dinner. We checked out some menus online and settled on Amelia’s Bistro, just a block away. I had experienced takeout from Amelia’s before (had a few great wraps and sandwiches…and the fries! Love the fries) and enjoyed the atmosphere and charm of the restaurant, or the little glimpse I had gotten from my quick stops inside to grab my to-go bag.
After a quick call to inquire about outdoor tables, we were assured they would have one ready in 10 minutes. When we arrived, the host saw our party of 6, asked if we were the ones who called, and said our table would be ready shortly. Already impressed by the attentive service, we were eager for a good meal to follow.
We began with two “safe” appetizers picks- the spinach artichoke dip and the “crackling’” calamari. The dip was good, chock full of veggies and not too cheesy, but it didn’t even hold a candle to the calamari. Perfectly breaded and seasoned and served with a flavorful soy sauce for dipping, I’m not embarrassed to use the old “melted in your mouth” expression. The entire table couldn’t stop talking about how it was one of the best calamari dishes any of us ever had.
After we wolfed down our appetizers, we were ready for the entrees: pan seared red snapper with escarole and white beans, seared ahi tuna salad with mango chutney, Maine lobster fettuccine, grilled lamb with spinach and french fries, miso glazed Chilean sea bass with jasmine rice and julienne vegetables, and the spicy tuna special, also served with rice and vegetables. The linguine was clearly the fan favorite before anyone put a fork to it. Full of lobster, sherry cream sauce, arugula, tomato and fresh pasta, it was light enough to work on a hot summer evening.
I tried my first bite of lamb ever (never been a red meat lover) and was happily surprised by how juicy, tender and flavorful it was.
After tasting everyone’s dishes (all were terrific, although I was not a big fan of the red snapper) I finally took a bite of my ahi tuna salad arranged with mixed greens, mango chutney, large chunks of tomatoes and cucumbers, and accompanied by a sesame ginger dressing very lightly drizzled on top. It was seared perfectly and fantastic.
After pretending that I actually had room for dessert, I ordered my go-to favorite, apple cobbler with a side of vanilla ice cream. We also ordered a slice of moist chocolate cake and the world’s largest (not a joke!) brownie sundae loaded high with the good stuff– whipped cream, crumbled M&Ms, and chocolate sauce.
As we literally rolled out of the restaurant and prepared to face our food coma, my family was already asking when we could schedule another date here. I’m excited to come back on a Wednesday when they have their 2 for 1 martini special and also to try out their new tapas menu.
If you’re in downtown Jersey City, take a walk off the beaten Path and find Amelia’s Bistro. It’s close to both the Exchange Place and Grove Street stops, and just off the Essex Street light rail stop.
187 Warren Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302