See that big empty space in today’s spot on the calendar? A day with absolutely, positively nothing to do. I can’t remember the last time that happened. It seems one day is fuller than the next. I even bought a second write-on/wipe-off calendar so I could see two months at a time. Otherwise I’d have to trust my memory which, particularly these days, is not such a safe prospect.
A beautiful Spring day with clear blue skies, it was the perfect day to hit the road in search of our next stop on our pizza taste-testing tour. This time, we headed back to Hoboken to check out Margherita’s, which was recently suggested by Maris after our last pizza stop. As I circled the block once, twice, three times … hunting for a parking space, I told Nick one more time and we’d have to find a different place to check out today. The one way streets in Hoboken are a bit of a pain because if there’s no parking space nearby, it’s not really a function of just going around the block again. As luck would have it, on our fifth swing around the block, and just as I was about to throw in the towel, we spotted an open space and grabbed it.
Some of the restaurants on Hoboken’s Washington Street were bustling, particularly the ones with outside seating, so I was happy to see that Margherita’s wasn’t. Is that a good thing? All the seating outside was empty, and we were only the third set of customers inside. They had only opened about half an hour before we got there, so am betting that was why.
The decor is brick and wood paneling with soft lighting. Wooden tables and chairs line the restaurant in three rows, and music was on in the background. It was an interesting playlist. Nick mentioned the salsa music while we were there, and we also heard Frank Sinatra and a bit of Bollywood action as well. Definitely an eclectic mix.
As soon as we sat down, a server appeared with menus and brought over a high chair. The lunch menu isn’t huge, just the front and back of a menu, but in the days when Applebees and TGI Fridays change their menus seemingly weekly and have a crazy amount of pages, simple is good and appreciated. They have a great selection of house varieties of pizzas, but Nick wasn’t feeling too adventurous today, so we ended up ordering a small cheese pizza. Hindsight and all that, I should have gotten half of it with toppings, but we’ll do that next time. While we were waiting for our pizza (under 10 minutes), they brought out a bread basket with bread the way it should be served – hot. The kids and I polished it off before the pizza arrived – excellent bread.
Now for the pizza. The cheese was nice, long and stringy as we pulled the slices apart, but in the very best way. It didn’t pull the cheese off the slices as we separated them – I hate when that happens – but was just good and cheesy. I liked the tomato sauce better than Star Tavern’s – no funky stuff in this one, just straight-up, homemade pure tomato sauce (no overwhelming herb taste either). The crust was the dealbreaker for me. I tend to like mine thin and crispy, and this was relatively thin but a little too doughy and chewy for me. Madeline, however, ate more pizza here than when we went to Star Tavern or Grimaldi’s, so I’m fairly certain this is her number 1 spot so far. Nick preferred the crust at Grimaldi’s, and definitely hosed down more slices there. As for me, I’m torn. I loved the charred bits of the crust at Star, and the sauce at Grimaldi’s, and the cheese here. If we combine all the perfect aspects of each pizza joint, we’d have the perfect slice. In the meantime, the search continues.
Their prices were very reasonable — $14 got us a small cheese pizza, two sodas and the tip. The pie was big enough that there was enough for me and the kids, with slices to take home. The small pie goes for $7.95. Margherita’s takes credit cards, delivers and the service was excellent … the best we’ve had so far.
740 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030