Whenever I have the chance to venture into the West Village I'm always excited to discover what's new on the block since my last visit. As my guest and I turned the corner onto Hudson Street, we approached the sweet and welcoming restaurant front of Hudson Cafe. Small tables were arranged throughout the space snuggled up close next to your neighboring diners. A large case filled with over stuffed sandwiches, elegant pastries and a large menu propped above with all of the cafe's breakfast and lunch offerings. Owner Nick Cervera described the daily menu which consist of a selection of four soups, one vegan soup always prepared, as well as freshly made salads, assorted artisanal sandwiches, house made smoothies and coffee delights. But we weren't there for any of that (although it all looked so tempting, all pretty on display).
We were excited to try the new dinner menu that owner Nick Cervera and his wife chef Lupe Elizalde have created for their diners. The menu consisted of smaller plates ranging from salads to heartier dishes. We decided on the shaved brussel sprouts ($7) topped with mint, shaved almonds, chunks of granny smith apples, creamy ricotta salata and a light and zesty lemon vinaigrette. We also ordered the mussels appetizer ($8) which was filled with fresh garlic, sweet mussels perfectly cooked and simmered in a light mustard and fennel broth with a hint of white wine. We couldn't help but dip the extra slices of bread that were perched on our table into the broth, it was that good. Nick even came over to assist us with our dipping providing us with deep soup spoons to sop up the extra broth. Oh, but back to the bread. Freshly baked, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. As we were enjoying every bite of our starters, I noticed Nick preparing a take out order. A big pull from the freshly baked loaf and some was even packed for their next delivery.
I ordered a robust glass of their house cabernet which paired perfectly with my dinner choice of charred yet medium rare hanger steak ($19) over homemade roasted garlic and rosemary potato wedges. My guest ordered the salmon ($19) which came over a fennel and onion confit. The salmon was prepared just right through out with a crispy skin. We swapped a few bites of each other's entrees and couldn't get enough. Nick explained that chef Elizalde prepares the entire menu without using gas stoves. Everything is made conventionally. We were so impressed by the perfectly prepped foods and how each dish came out just as we hoped.
What I loved about the feel and food of Hudson Cafe was how welcoming your entire dining experience was. A friendly waitstaff, soft music playing on the speakers and home cooked food that tasted like it was from your grandmother's kitchen. Nick was extremely welcoming and humble and set the vibe for the entire space. No frills food that make your belly and taste buds oh so happy. Next came out two cups of espresso and a huge hunk of tres leche cake topped with homemade whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate syrup, baked right in house. Some of the best tres leche cake I've tasted. Moist and paired just right with our hot cups of espresso.
No longer a hidden gem, I can not wait to head back to Hudson Cafe for breakfast and lunch. Not be to missed this summer, the cafe will also have sidewalk dining, as well as an oyster bar during dinner hours. I would recommend stopping in for a cup of coffee, a hearty cup of homemade soup or a lovely dinner date with friends or significant others.
Hudson Cafe: 628 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. Tel: 212.390.1744.