Walking into this upscale eatery, one immediately notices the space, which is accentuated by the ornate ceiling, long wooden bar topped with marble, and the cozy café tables draped in white linen, tucked underneath the etched glass windows.
With its old world elegance, you might believe you've been transported back to a time when lunch was a social and leisure activity that was meant to be lingered over.
The service is exceptional. The staff's attention to detail is maintained throughout the meal, including: new silverware between courses, water glasses refilled, and they gladly answer any questions about the menu.
It is a dining experience, whether you are dining at the bar, in the bar room, or in the separate back dining area.
The large salads are an excellent choice for those looking for a light lunch. With eight unique combinations, there is one for every taste.
My companion and I tried the goat cheese salad and the Belgian endive.
The flavorful goat cheese is lightly breaded and served warm on top of the delicate mixed field greens and cherry tomatoes. It is tossed with the tomato vinaigrette. It is fantastic. Cheese lovers can order extra cheese if the three patties aren't enough!
The Belgian endive is combined with green Granny Smith apples, toasted walnuts, gorgonzola cheese and is dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. This slightly sweet salad is perfectly balanced by the sharp flavor of the cheese.
Grilled chicken, shrimp, steak, ahi tuna, goat cheese, or chicken apricot sausage can be added to any of the salads.
The salads are reasonably priced from $5 to $14, adding a topping is extra. Other salads include: chopped Mediterranean, sesame chicken, Caesar, spinach salad, and spicy Thai beef.
To start with, we tried the crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, and sashimi tempura.
The crab cakes are only lightly breaded on the outside and stuffed with tender meat on the inside, unlike some places that fill them with breading. The two cakes come with a micro green salad and a ginger dressing.
The delicious jumbo shrimp rest on a bed of chipped ice and are served with a cocktail sauce that is flavored with horseradish. This fresh seafood dish will not disappoint! We were told by the manager that the seafood is delivered fresh daily.
The Ahi tuna roll is wrapped in tempura battering. The slightly seared tuna literally melts in the mouth and is delicious with or without the miso ginger dipping sauce.
Next we tasted the Mediterranean Mezze, which is a platter of hummus served with olives, artichokes, and stuffed grape leaves. There are two mouth-watering varieties of hummus that can be scooped up with triangles of pita bread.
All appetizers are reasonably priced from $7 to $11. Other choices include: edamame, spinach and artichoke dip, quesadilla, wings and more.
For lunch, we tasted the BLT sandwich and the Cuban style steak sandwich.
The BLT is layered on sourdough bread with smoked bacon, brie cheese, mixed greens, and tomato. This sandwich is fantastic with or without the chili-lime mayo, which is served on the side.
The Cuban sandwich has slices of hanger steak, potato sticks, lettuce, and thin slices of red onion dressed with their mojo sauce. This tasty treat will make you think you stepped into a Latin restaurant.
All the sandwiches come with the Madison's specialty seasoned fries. The crispy fries and seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon and sage. All thoughts of only having one will desert you when you taste them.
The sandwich portions are large and the Madison will gladly wrap up any leftovers to take home. Other sandwiches include: a lobster roll, grilled chicken panini, hot open faced turkey sandwich, Kobe beef burger and more. The sandwiches are priced from $8 to $15.
For those with a heartier appetite, the Madison offers very filling pasta dishes.
We tried the house penne and the side dish of macaroni and cheese. The penne is topped with the chef's original vodka sauce, which is redder than most. The tender pasta is coated with the spicy red sauce, which has a great kick and is topped with ricotta cheese.
The fabulous macaroni and cheese is a cheese lover's dream. This thick, rich dish would be perfect on a cold afternoon.
Other pastas dishes include: Asian linguini and fusilli with eggplant, grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella and tomato. The pasta dishes are priced from $14 to $19. The macaroni side dish is $5.
If you have never experienced the Madison's brunch buffet, you are truly missing out. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a jazz trio in the bar area. The buffet has a plethora of food to choose from and the servings are unlimited.
There are samplings from their raw bar including: the succulent shrimp and fresh oysters.
Egg lovers will want to try the classic eggs benedict or Florentine. Those with a sweet tooth will want to try the delicious, thick Crème Brulee French Toast. It tastes like pure heaven!
There are sides of meat including: crispy bacon, juicy sausage, grilled and seasoned hanger steak, plus a carving station.
If that isn't enough, try the pasta, frittatas, grilled fish or excellent duck pate!
Traditional brunch sides including: fresh fruit, bagels, croissants, and home fries are available.
For dessert there is a selection of mini pastries including the apple crumb cheesecake, a chocolate fountain, and brownies. The same top notch service is available at brunch and the hot platters of food are consistently refilled. Unlimited coffee is served during the meal and one complimentary mimosa or Bloody Mary is offered.
The Madison is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Free parking is available at the lot across the street for up to three hours. Reservations are not necessary, but they are recommended for brunch, as the place gets packed.
The hours for lunch, Monday through Friday are 11:30 to 5 p.m., and on Saturday from 11 to 5 p.m. Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and items from the lunch menu are available. Dinner hours are: Tuesday to Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Sunday and Monday from 5 to 10 p.m.
All of the food is available at the bar and special catering menus are available for on or off the premises parties. All major credit cards are accepted and smoking is allowed at the bar.
The Madison Bar & Grill is located at 1316 Washington St., in Hoboken. For reservations, please call (201) 386-0300 or visit: www.madisonbarandgrill.com.