On the recommendation of two very different people, my boyfriend and I headed over to the under- explored (for us at least) Jersey City to Skinner's Loft. We were super excited to try something that is not our usual, but at the same time skeptical. Skinner's Loft is a sweet little place, a bar like area downstairs and and upstairs dining room. Romantic lighting, cozy, pretentious mix-matching of table settings and pieces, lovely decorations, all the things that we hoped promised a great meal.
our little bread basket
The menu comprised of small plates, sharing plates, entrees and sides. We chose a warm goat cheese and beet tart as a small plate, along with the bacon cheddar and blue cheese fritters as a sharing plate. The goat cheese tart was a wild mix of textures, that seemed uncertain together. The tang of the goat cheese and the sweetness of the beet clashed almost alarmingly with the fresh apple that served as a kind of garnish that invited them all to be tasted together. Something about the beet and the apple was also off putting, in a way the way the two of them feel in the mouth is almost too similar. Usually I am a sucker for textures, and I thought that the creamy warm cheese along with the crisp tartness of the fresh apple and the sweet beet would me mildly enjoyable, but the airy flakiness of the puff pastry threw most everything off. The pastry instantaneously vanished with the other tastes but created a kind of staccato effect with its flakes, cutting the other tastes in-harmoniously.
Next we ventured to taste the bacon, tomato, blue cheese fritters. This sharing plate probably came with too many fritters for just two people sharing, which is interesting. The fritters were warm and delicious on first bite, but every bite afterward was overly saturated with the taste of bacon. Don't get me wrong, bacon is important to me, but I wanted to see how the other flavors might play together in the heavy batter of the fritter. Despite their heavy bacon influence, I still enjoyed them in their fancy aioli sauce.
I ordered the NY Strip Steak accompanied by Parmesan topped fries with a truffle aioli dipping sauce. This is so typical Randi when dining out, I was disappointed in myself, but there is something about the allure of meat and potatoes with a hint of truffle that had me sold. Unfortunately, it was not great. Even as a member of the "Clean Plate Club," refused to clean my plate. The steak was dry and flavorless, even cooked at medium rare, and as much as the aioli was designed to help, it couldn't. That was what I call, "lost cause meat." The fries also had a dry, over cooked texture, that neither salt nor parmesan could save.
My boyfriend, on the other hand was braver, and ordered an entree off of the specials menu. The dish featured tile fish (what ever that is), on top of a molded mound of various elements like potatoes, kale, and lobster. On first taste, this fancy menagerie, was delicious. Savory, rich, succulent and a parade of textures. After several bites (sorry Joe) the taste remained rich and savory, but almost too much so, feeling like melted butter on the tongue; the tile fish and the kale came off to be very salty; and the potatoes, which we believed were included in the recipe to help cut the richness, were not the right texture to accompany the other ingredients. With all that said, I really did like the dish. It had great potential and creativity, just some elements could have been tweaked to round out the symphony that was beginning to form.
I wanted dessert, and per usual, I got it. I ordered a crepe, that was artfully filled with bananas and a caramel sauce garnished with a large dollop of whipped cream, that in the end I was wishing was ice cream. Somehow, despite the obvious sweetness of the sauce, and the inherent sweetness of the bananas, the dessert was not overwhelmingly sweet. Perhaps it was the crepe's texture and flat flavor that toned the whole dessert down. It was good, and a good way to end the meal, that had less than satisfactory results.
After paying the bill and walking down the stairs to leave the restaurant, we decided that we didn't really need to go there again. Some parts of our meal were trying to be too fancy for their own good, while other parts could have been stepped up a notch in preparation.