Halifax, located in the W Hotel in Hoboken, features northeastern farm and coastal cuisine in a beautiful setting on the shore of the Hudson River. The popular restaurant, whose kitchen is led by Chef Seadon Shouse, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers spectacular views of Manhattan.
When we visited, we arrived early to enjoy the happy hour specials at the action-packed bar. The clientele is varied with locals looking to unwind after work, hotel guests down for a drink and folks looking for libations with some of the best Manhattan views from New Jersey. We took advantage of the $1 happy hour oyster special to enjoy a dozen alongside well-crafted cocktails.
About the Chef
Chef Seadon Shouse is an award-winning chef and native of Nova Scotia, Canada. (Halifax was named after Nova Scotia’s provincial capital). With an inherent affinity for seafood, Chef Shouse has worked in some of the best kitchens from Nantucket Island to Manhattan to Florida. He was instrumental in developing the food program at the now defunct Zylo at the W Hotel Hoboken, which became Halifax in 2015. At Halifax, Chef Shouse has created a culinary concept inspired by his experiences growing up in Nova Scotia and his passion for northeastern farm and coastal fare prepared with local and sustainable ingredients.
I had an opportunity to interview Chef Shouse and following is an excerpt of our conversation.
JERSEY BITES: Any interesting stories about where and with whom you started cooking professionally?
SHOUSE: I started cooking professionally in Lynchburg, Virginia, during high school. After three years there, I decided to go to culinary school, so I moved back to eastern Canada, where I spent my childhood and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of Canada. After graduating, I worked for Chef Jean-Charles Berruet at The Chanticleer Inn on Nantucket Island. Chef Berruet was classically trained and taught me the fundamentals of cooking and the necessity of passion and professionalism in the kitchen.
What is the greatest opportunity that has come to you from cooking?
In 2015, I was invited to cook a special dinner at the Canadian Ambassador to Poland’s residence in Warsaw, Poland. While there, I also had the opportunity to cook with an old friend, Martin Gimenez Castro, at his restaurant, Salto, for a Four Hands Dinner, representing Canadian and Argentinean cuisine. It was an amazing experience.
It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Pan-roasted Nova Scotian mackerel with over easy eggs and my wife’s breakfast potatoes.
We’re all ready for spring after the weather we’ve had this winter. What spring food item do you most look forward to?
I know it’s a bit cliché, but I really love working with ramps. During my five years living in Kentucky, I would spend every bit of my time off picking ramps during April and May. I really enjoy time in the forest.
Your new Halifax spring menu just launched. What are some of your favorite dishes on it?
I am excited for a few new dishes which include: Warm NJ asparagus with house-made duck prosciutto, Alderfer egg and spring onion vinaigrette, 72-hour sous vide grilled short rib with spring pea puree, sunchokes, snap peas and fresh chilies and grilled clam flatbread with roasted garlic, chives, parmesan, lemon, baby kale.
Are you working on any upcoming projects our readers would be interested in learning about?
We are working on starting a Sunday Supper-themed, family-style dinner menu option for Sunday nights starting in late spring/summer. Stay tuned for updates!
After hearing of the new spring menu from Chef Shouse, we were excited to try some of the signature items and some others that sounded interesting.
For starters, we ordered the clam flatbread, the deviled eggs, the lamb meatballs, and the asparagus and duck prosciutto. The clam flatbread was topped with roasted garlic, chives, parmesan and lemon, a perfect sharable starter. The deviled eggs were gilded with smoked herring, scallions, and garlic chips and a nice rendition of the popular dish. The lamb meatballs sat atop a smoked gorgonzola fondue adorned with pine nuts, celery leaves and rye crostini—our favorite appetizer. The asparagus and duck prosciutto was a perfect spring dish, especially as it was topped with an Alderfer egg, spring onion vinaigrette, Parmesan and mâche.
For our entrées, we selected the ricotta cavatelli, the Barnegat sea scallops, and the Maine lobster rigatoni, which comes in half or full serving sizes. The homemade cavatelli was nicely cooked and tossed in a comforting, intense sauce made with braised New Jersey lamb, local wild mushrooms and tomato, then topped with Parmesan—a great dish with a tender, delicious lamb sauce. The scallops were sweet and well seared but one had some grit in it, which was unfortunate since the accompanying Einkorn wheat risotto, herb pesto, and hen-of-the-wood mushrooms was such a great pairing. One of my dining companions opted for the half portion of lobster pasta which was generous in size, lobster-packed, and flavorful from the lobster coral butter.
The concise wine list offers some interesting finds, including affordable options, local wines, and sought-after labels.
We liked the care and efforts Chef Shouse put into the menu and the execution of the dishes. Halifax certainly doesn’t offer typical hotel restaurant food, and we’re grateful for it.
225 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
All photos are courtesy of Halifax.