For those who long to experience the flavors of Nova Scotia but haven’t yet found their way north, Hoboken, New Jersey has got the next best thing: chef Seadon Shouse’s Northeastern costal menu at the newly opened Halifax at the W Hoboken.
Just pretend that the waterfront view of the Manhattan skyline is a mural, and it’s like you’re on a Canadian cruise.
Chef Shouse likens the menu to what you would have found in any coastal village restaurant a century ago, featuring locally sourced meat, fish, produce, and dairy. Passionate about both seafood and sustainability (only Marine Stewardship Council-Certified seafood is served at Halifax) Shouse can dry and smoke foods you’ve never had prepared that way before, and they work. Case in point: the house-smoked mussels.
If you arrive everywhere already starving (like me, despite snacking between meals) you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see popcorn dusted with smoked seaweed and horseradish, as well as house-baked Parker House rolls, served with sea-salt-topped butter that is immediately brought to the table while you review the menu.
The ideal meal begins with smoked fish, charcuterie, and cheese boards for the table. The cured and smoked fish options include the chef’s childhood favorite: maple-glazed smoked wild salmon and smoked pollock rillettes (an underutilized fish). Meats include thinly sliced pork lomo in addition to garlic salami and duck liver paté. The changing selection of artisan cheeses are sourced locally and currently include Slyboro Goat from New York and Baley Hazen Blue from Vermont.
“I was born and raised in coastal Nova Scotia. We picked wild blueberries and cranberries in season and picked mussels off of the rocks in front of our house.” said Chef Shouse. “Hoboken does not have a restaurant that focuses on seafood, which is something that I hold close to my heart, so it’s a perfect combination.”
Enter the seafood: Long Island black sea bass with sunchokes and tomato confit; Barnegat sea scallops with cauliflower, golden raisins, capers, and beurre blanc; and Maine lobster rigatoni with trumpet mushrooms and lemon.
If you’re craving something that walked on land, try the smoked chicken — a chef’s favorite — or the New Jersey lamb ragout with ricotta cavatelli, tomato confit, and chanterelles.
The décor successfully evokes an oceanfront feel, with light blues, greens, grays, and whites set against walls covered with moss, fern, and bark, whitewashed floors, and bleached white oak tables — a far cry from the ambiance the previous restaurant, Zylo, provided.
“We felt that Zylo was a bit cold and we wanted to lighten it up,” said Chef Shouse. “And there are plenty of steakhouses and pub bars in Hoboken. I would like to see a more diverse food scene start in to grow.”