The other day I had the day off from work and decided to try Marty O'Brien's - over on 1st and Bloomfield. Same owners as the old restaurant, Buskers, but they did a fresh new paint job, and renovations to make it fresh, along with new menu items and attitude.
When lunch rolled around, I had lots of choices and figured i'd try out Marty O'Briens. Over the last two weeks I have been out walking Rocco and seen lots of crowds at the bar for dinner service. I have looked over the menu and it seems like a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Now, I have written it once and I will write it a thousand times but here's my issues with blogs who write their so-called reviews of new restaurants:
1. Every restaurants will put on their "good face" for the first three months. The owners usually are on hand daily and are watching to make sure everything is going well. You can really tell how good a restaurant is after a few months if people are coming back again and again.
2. People write "one and done" reviews. I personally think a restaurant should be attended at least three times before someone writes an official review. I write "first impressions" just for fun, but when I sit down to write something concrete I do my homework on the place.
3. The worst culprits are so-called-reviewers who are also paid by the establishment for advertising. I know a few people in Hoboken who blatantly write glowing reviews of their clients restaurants and they have no shame. It's sad. There should be people who have some kind of integrity when writing reviews to state that they have been compensated with a free meal.
Anyhow, i'm sure aside from my three rules you wonder - what did I think?
Lets talk first about what I liked. I love what they have done to the old Buskers. I like their waiters uniforms which are black shirt with black tie. Very "mob" like Italian sharp look. They have a standard beer menu, with a few specials. They have a decent wine-by-the-glass list, which is nearly unheard of at downtown restaurants aside from Brass Rail. Lots of outdoor seating, and very "dog-friendly" attitude by the restaurant to bring your pooch out to eat, outside too. The bartender Chris who served me was very cool, and had a great personality - which I think is more critical than people know for a success of a restaurant or bar. People come BACK to see bartenders that they like. Chris heard it was my first time there, and my first beer was on the house.
I ordered Buffalo chicken wings & the "Philly" cheesesteak.
The wings were good. Not great. Good. I'd order them again. They had a decent buffalo sauce, with just a light bit of spice and not like someone slathered on Frank's Hot Sauce and called them buffalo wings.
The Philly cheesesteak was below average. The roll was fantastic. Great roll. Big pluses there. But the steak had some kind of brown gravy with it...and the cheese looked like two slices of deli-style yellow American cheese slapped on top. To the owners of M.O.B.:
I am available as a consultant to fix your cheesesteak dilemma. Please email me at email@example.com - it's really not THAT hard to make a good steak, especially that your rolls are so damned good. You don't need "whiz", just get provolone cheese instead of whatever you were using and give the steak more than just two slices. The meat itself was actually fine, but the brown gravy-like substance threw me off. I mean if you didn't call it a Philly cheesesteak, and called it Marty's Steak Sandwich, and told me that i'd get some kind of gravy in there I wouldn't have ordered it. I was secretly hoping that someone in Hoboken finally learned how to make a good steak, like Carl's makes in the city.
But one bad steak won't stop me from going back and trying again. I mean, it was their new "lunch" menu, so i'd like to try dinner one night. The cost of the lunch wasn't terrible, especially that I was comp'd a beer - it was $21 with a $6 tip - $27 total. I'll be back to try some more of the food, especially that I love wine and always look for a place on Sunday nights to replace my lost long love, Court Street - it's just too far to walk 11 blocks now, and I tried a few dinners at Clam Broth House, but CBH is just too expensive for the kind of food they are serving. I'd rather save my $60 and eat somewhere in the city like Raoul's!
I'd say that Marty O'Brien's is off to a good start, but I remember when Buskers was hot out of the gate, and fizzled. I guess I better go out there and try it a few more times before passing judgement.