Last night Terry and I had dinner at the Madison Bar & Grill in Hoboken. It's my favorite restaurant in Hoboken for many reasons.

First, it's got parking! They validate your ticket for three hours at a garage across the street. It's a little complicated to get the validation using the garage's automated machine, but the restaurant provides an instruction card with the validation ticket. They do have a minimum purchase required for validation, which basically means you need to eat dinner instead of just go for drinks, which I think is reasonable.

Convenient free parking carries a lot of weight for Terry and me since we drive down from Jersey City, and it's discouraging when it takes longer to find a parking space than it takes to drive to Hoboken. We don't mind a walk too much when the weather is nice, but sometimes we're in a hurry (or hungry!) and just want to park and eat.

Secondly, the food is extremely good. I haven't tried ALL the restaurants in Hoboken, but the Madison has consistently provided the best meals I've had from the ten or so places I've visited. In fact, I think I'm just going to stop going to any other restaurant in Hoboken for brunch or dinner, unless I want Mexican and then there's another place I like. But other than that, I think I'll just go back to the Madison.

For example, last night I had their french fries as an appetizer (healthy choice, right?), but they were the best french fries I've ever had. Cooked to a perfect crisp, well-seasoned, and served with three different sauces (house ketchup, herb dip, chipotle aoli). Terry got the goat cheese salad, and it was so good I made him stop halfway through so we could swap and he could eat some fries while I ate the other half of his salad.

I had the fish tacos as my entree, and they were great. I even liked the rice and beans, the texture was perfect and they were seasoned deliciously. I usually leave rice and beans untouched on my plate since at most restaurants they're rather heavy and flavorless. So I was really pleasantly surprised when I tried a bite and loved the Madison's version!

Terry had the pork barbecue which smelled delicious but I didn't try. I did try a bite of his mac & cheese-- it was made with gouda and had the most wonderful smoky flavor that complemented the barbecue so well. We had no room for dessert. The last time we were at the Madison I think it was for lunch, and the food was similarly delicious, although I forget what we had exactly, it was some time ago.

Another thing we like about the restaurant is the decor. They have outdoor seating, a bar area with tables, and a dining room. The bar area is loudest, as one would expect, but the outdoor tables and dining room are quiet enough it's easy to have a conversation. We hate places where the acoustics are so bad that you can't hear the person across from you. The aesthetics of the dining room are relaxing. The color scheme is chocolate brown, taupe, and burnt orange, with exposed brick walls. They've done a nice job adding autumn accents with large floral arrangements in the nooks around the room. They've got what appear to be two giant lamps in the middle of the room (I suppose the pillars are probably structural, but they've topped them with giant lampshades) which are both functional and a bit quirky without being weird.

It's not inexpensive, so in my opinion that's a positive aspect since it keeps out the riffraff. Not that that riffraff per se are really a problem in Hoboken, it's yuppieville, but I think it does keep the hordes of loud groups of twenty-somethings from hanging out in the dining room. The Madison seems to me perfectly suited for old married couples to enjoy a civilized dinner without having to drive into Manhattan. Or young couples for that matter, or small dinner parties of four to six people. Adults will like it. It is wasted on anyone just looking for a burger and beer, although I suspect their burgers and beers are vastly superior to most of the local alternatives if that is what one really is in the mood for.