This week’s food review is special for two reasons. First, it’s one of the first reviews that I’ll be submitting late to my editor (loljk Maryia don’t fire me yet). Second, it panders to all those in the same boat as I am; commuters. I apologize to everyone else, it’s a post election year, so I have to pander to my base.
Black Rail, to the uncultured, is best described as a “hipster coffee shop”. To everyone else who has seen La-La Land, its probably one of the best cafes in Hoboken. Best known for their coffee and pressed sandwiches, Black Rail is conveniently located right next to the 9th street/Congress street light rail station. And when I say next to, it might as well be on; its practically on the platform. Unfortunately if you’re on campus, Black Rail will seem far, but students at 800 Madison, Jackson, and from Jersey City (shout out) will frequently be tempted to drop in for a cold brew, one of their signature sandwiches, or just to grab something sweet.
While I usually avoid writing about service because, really, a succinct rating is all you need, Black Rail definitely deserves special recognition. Right from getting to the register I was greeted by two of the most personable people I’ve ever met. After being confused about one of their pastries, one of them proceeded to tell me a joke about the movie Beauty Shop. Then, when I ordered their cold brew, the other person offered me to try the coffee first before deciding on whether or not I wanted milk. I was simply blown away by how nice and accommodating they were to me. After I left, I went to check their online menu, and even their website glowed with the same charm that they captured in the store. While the more jaded would dismiss it as required behavior for any capitalist institution, that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t blown away and appreciated it anyway.
After ordering my food, I was immediately handed my cold brew (size: biggie smalls) and my monkey bread. Now, I haven’t had black coffee since I started drinking coffee in the first place, but I was blown away again by how smooth the cold brew was. It was as if I wasn’t even drinking coffee, but some coffee flavored drink that was as easy as ice tea, with all the texture, subtlety, and zing of coffee. I also thought it would go awful with my monkey bread, but was pleasantly surprised; the perfectly caramelized, cinnamon-y, and buttery delicious pastry practically melted in the cold brew. I would highly recommend getting both of these things, but if you’re forced to only get one, DEFINITELY try their cold brew.
Given that I had gone alone this time (I swear this never happens), I decided if I’m splurging I’m getting the one sandwich that is embodying my ‘treat yo self’ mood; THE PRETENTIOUS PIGGY. The pretentious piggy is a Black Forest Ham centered sandwich with apple, honey Dijon, provolone, brie, and spinach all on 7 grain bread. If that sounds unappetizing to you, watch La-La land and then come back. Somehow, the pros at Black Rail can perfectly balance the sensation of sweetness and brie along with the savory, moist, juiciness of ham, provolone, and spinach. It’s almost as if you are eating two completely different meals at the same time, but that is a testament to black rail; the sandwich is savory, meaty, and creamy while also being light, sweet, and refreshing. One hundred percent, their reputation is well earned. And yes, all of their other sandwiches are named just as well.
While Black Rail might be out of the way for a lot of Stevens’ students, it is a top-notch cafe with a neo-rustic industrial aesthetic. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or just doing some work, their coffee and pressed sandwiches will definitely keep you coming back, even if they are a little far.