The welcome is hearty and warm, the food prepared with impressive attention to detail and the space charming in a bistro-meets-chic teashop manner. Yes, the place is small but that's a big part of the allure of Hudson Cafe, a new spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Every aspect of this newcomer has been carefully thought through by restaurateur Nick Cervera and his wife, Lupe Elizalde, owners of four NYC Móle eateries scattered about the city.
A recent dinner found the lights dimmed, large cotton napkins replacing the paper ones used by day and preparations that would rival many bigger, more expensive boites. Starter salads, one of shaved Brussels sprouts tossed with apple cubes, ricotta salata and almonds and another featuring roasted beets with orange and pistachios, were accompanied by wines presented in stylish glasses from a small, but in the words of the late, great Durante, "cherce" list. Beers on tap include Spaten, an offering from Munich where they know a thing or two about quality brew. Beef bourginion arrived in a round dish to hold the very moppable sauce along with a healthy dollop of smashed potatoes, a nice contrast to the salmon with crispy skin served with fennel and onion confit perched atop a rectangular plate. We passed on the Moroccan spiced lamb shank with couscous and the pork loin stuffed with dried fruit and pistachio but suspect they're as good as what we enjoyed.
Owner Cervera knows quality, providing bread from Pain D’Avignon and wonderful coffee which we had as espressos to end the meal. He also knows how to maximize every inch of space as evidenced throughout from the black- and- white tiled floors in the food area, (and echoed in the cute loo), which speak old-timey good taste; the reclaimed wood ceiling, and the stylishly clever overhead fans.
In the mornings, locals clamor for pastries from Balthazar as well as the fabulous scones turned out courtesy of Elzade's trio of baking sisters, to go with their coffee. You could grab a Hudson or Crowd Pleaser smoothie but I'd rather dive into the oatmeal unless I'd planned to hit the place for a salad or sandwich like the BLT with double-smoked bacon and spicy mayo for lunch.
When temperatures warm, a small outdoor cafe in an area with great people-watching potential, will come into play with oysters highlighting the dinner menu. In any weather, Hudson Cafe is an intimate spot with sweet service and ambitious food that makes a great go-to for West Villagers or anyone wanting a bite before or after the movies or a performance at one of the nearby off-B'way theaters.