Waterside Restaurant and Catering sits literally steps from the Hudson River, in North Bergen. Just up the river from Hoboken and Jersey City, the restaurant offers unparalleled views of the New York City skyline. You can’t get much closer than this. The restaurant itself looks inauspicious from the outside, but opens up into an impressive bar with two restaurant areas, all enclosed with a floor to ceiling wrap around windows, maximizing the skyline view. The lucky tables around the restaurant perimeter certainly take in the best view, but there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Valet parking and an accommodating staff make the whole operation run smoothly.
Everyone I met at Waterside was polite and prompt; happy to help and accommodate. Our waiter was knowledgeable and friendly, helpful but not pushy. Their wine list offers a broad selection of options both by the glass and by the bottle, and a good champagne list for celebratory dinners. They also have a full bar and cocktail list, and lots of patrons who come to Waterside just for the bar. A DJ plays music from an elevated booth, making the whole scene a bit clubby, even in the dinner sections. This might not be the place to take your grandma (unless she likes house music), but its great for a more lively dinner out.
The menu expresses a Mediterranean bent, with an impressive raw bar and broad selection of seafood. The menu also features some delicious sounding steaks, including an over-the-top 45 oz. Porter House. The gentleman next to us ordered the Porter House, and it was one of the biggest steaks I’ve ever seen served, taking up the entire dinner plate. We chose the slightly lighter route, and started with the avocado, roasted pepper and corn salad and the seared sea scallops. The corn salad brought me right back to summer; it came in a tangy, bright citrus dressing, with big strips of corn cut right off the cob. The avocado was ripe and buttery, and the whole dish had a nice balance of flavors and textures. The scallops came served over a crispy sweet corn polenta cake in a saffron and corn sauce. The scallops had a good sear on them, and the saffron sauce and polenta cake all worked harmoniously together.
For entrees, we had the roasted prawns and the seared tuna au poivre. The prawns came over a bed of sweet corn, fava beans, baby bok choy, and candied lemon. The prawns were nothing short of impressive; huge and grilled whole, they had a nice smokey flavor from the grill. But the dish as a whole suffered from a lack of texture. All the components were soft, and something with a little freshness and crunch would have elevated the whole dish.
The tuna came with a sauce of black and green peppercorns with cognac, and french fries on the side. The tuna had a good sear on it and strong, pronounced flavors from the peppercorns and the cognac. I just found the french fries a bit of an odd accompaniment to such an elegant piece of fish. French fries are a weakness of mine, and they were delicious, but I would have opted for a different side with the tuna, or maybe a more refined way of serving them alongside it.
For dessert we shared the warm apple crisp, which came filled with almond pastry cream and vanilla ice cream on the side. I also had a specialty coffee with Frangelico and Baileys, a delicious way to end the meal. They also offer a wide selection of after dinner cordials. Overall I’d say Waterside is worth the trip just for the fantastic view. In the summer it would be incredible to eat outside on their patio or have a drink and sit in the gazebo overlooking the city.