It’s one of those things that just don’t happen overnight. After 40 years of serving breakfast and lunch to local residents, Hoboken’s best kept secret is open for dinner.
Diana’s Café, well known for its steaks, pasta and seafood, is serving traditional Italian cuisine after sundown at reasonable prices.
The dinner menu became official on Sept. 9. Instead of closing in the afternoon, Diana’s kitchen will now close at 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Still a family restaurant located in the heart of Hoboken’s residential area on Fifth and Jefferson streets, the menu offers a variety of entrees.
A few of newly acquired executive chef Dominick Leone’s top dishes include: crab cakes served with pasta and tartar sauce ($11.95); oven baked Boston scrod seasoned with herbs and spices ($11.95); steamed mussels marinara covered with sauce prepared sweet or hot ($7.95); cheese ravioli with a choice of bolognese, marinara, putanesca or fresh tomato and basil ($6.95); tender chicken filet sautéed in a mild lemon flavored francese sauce ($6.95); thick cut pork chops stuffed with apple bread stuffing and broiled, served with potato and vegetables ($12.95); and lasagna ($8).
"We want to establish ourselves as the place to eat dinner in the area. Our breakfast and lunch crowds are good to us. Now we want them to come back to dinner," owner Tom Torre said.
The decision to serve dinner was made by Torre after he noticed the influx of new residents to the area.
"Everything is turning into a condo around here, so it makes sense to offer dinner," he said.
Diana’s is a cozy family-owned and operated eatery. Torre and his small staff know everybody in the neighborhood, they say. The dining room seats approximately 30 people. The servers are attentive and knowledgeable of the menu and they encourage patrons to bring a bottle of wine for dinner.
I began my meal with garlic bread with olive oil ($1.50). This delicious appetizer was enough for two. I also tried the fresh homemade mozzarella and tomato ($4.50) served with fresh basil, garlic and virgin olive oil. The combination of basil and juicy mozzarella was perfect for any cheese lover. Other appetizers include roasted peppers and portobello mushrooms served with seasoned fresh herbs and olive oil ($4.95); fried calamari served with fresh marinara sauce ($5.95); and seafood salad ($6.95) complete with calamari, schungili, and shrimp, with celery and onions in a lemon vinaigrette. I followed it with a bowl of homemade pasta fagioli ($3.95). The soup was not too spicy. Other soups include escarole and beans ($3.95); mushroom barley ($3.50); clam chowder ($3.95); and lentil and pasta ($3.50).
For the main course I enjoyed a terrific plate of salmon with pesto ($10.95). The salmon filet was broiled, and topped with basil and mozzarella cheese. The salmon was fresh and cooked with a variety of herbs and spices. I highly recommend it. I also enjoyed the shrimp stuffed with crabmeat served on a bed of pasta ($13.95). One of the specials on the menu, the entrée was recommended by Leone and was excellent. The combination of large shrimp with pasta and garlic was delicious.
For dessert I had tiramisu with regular coffee. The tiramisu was served in a square shape and topped with coffee beans. It was sweet and not too mushy.
Diana’s Café is located on 506 Jefferson St. in Hoboken. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. They deliver. For more information call (201) 795-3315. q