The Hudson Cafe is named after Detroit's much beloved department store chain, Hudson's. This is apparently in ode to the chain's flagship store, which was at one time located across the street from the restaurant. That being said, there is little else about The Hudson Cafe, either in décor or menu, to remind diners of the Detroit landmark. The lack of nostalgia may be a little disappointing, but the restaurant does a nice job with its breakfast/lunch menu. It has great service, a bright and clean décor, good food, and several nice touches.
Atmosphere / Decor
Hudson's Cafe invokes the name of Detroit's famous downtown department store: Hudson's. While the chain's flagship store was at one time located across the street, there are few reminders of the namesake on the menu or in the décor. The only real ode to the department store's past is a long padded bench along one wall that is used to create a long line of half booth, half chair tables – a typical feature in the department store's in-house restaurant.
The restaurant has a foyer with a coffee bar on one side and a lounge with leather furniture and a fireplace on the other. Given the popularity of the restaurant's Sunday brunch, this area provides diners with a nice place to wait. Rather than concentrate on the history and tradition of the department store, the restaurant is decorated in clean and crisp lines. It is also designed to bring in the light from the storefront's one wall of windows. For instance, the floor of the dining area is done in a combination of light-colored woods and tiles, while a central pillar lined with mirrors rises into the rafters. Both of these features help brighten up the dining area and enhance the space. Large chandeliers with yellow lighting keep the atmosphere warm like morning and prevent the restaurant from seeming too stark.
The dining area is scattered with square tables that are nicely spaced and can be moved to accommodate large parties easily. In addition to the before-mentioned half booths, the opposite wall is lined with red booths divided by high walls for privacy.
By and large, the service was very good at The Hudson Cafe. Drinks were kept filled and coffee was kept hot. The waitress was also friendly and conscientious without hovering. The only downside to the service was that we were sat at the table closest to the drink station and kitchen, which meant we suffered a lot of traffic, as well as sounds of arguing and clinking of dishes from the kitchen. When there are only a few diners upon arrival, there is really no excuse to get stuck at the worst table in the house.
The menu at The Hudson Cafe is largely geared toward breakfast with a large variety of French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Pancake, Waffle, Crepe and Omelet creations. The restaurant also has several salads and sandwiches available. Only one dish on the menu references the original Hudson's restaurant: a salad reminiscent of Hudson's famous Maurice Salad.
The Coffee at The Hudson Cafe was a dark roast that had a nice rich flavor. It was served from a stainless-steel carafe that kept it piping hot. Refills were numerous and cream was served as a pitcher on the table.
The Corned Beef Hash included a lot of shredded corn beef. It was obviously home-made as it was served hot and the corned beef was slightly crispy from a nice sear. Best of all, the hash was not too salty. The egg of the dish was placed separately from the corned beef on the dish, allowing the diner to combine it (or not) with the meat at their leisure. The egg was ordered over easy and was nicely cooked except for just a bit of undercooked white. While cubed, roasted potatoes were also served on the plate, they were not part of the “hash.” Unfortunately, they were served luke warm. They were also bland and dry. While the potatoes were better than the hash browns served at many restaurants, the potatoes did little to enhance the dish, especially as the grits, chosen from a list of starches to accompany the meal, were outstanding. The grits were served in a separate cup and were very cheesy and creamy without being watery or runny.
Those same cubed potatoes were served with the Huevos Rancheros. As a side, this would have been fine, but the Huevos Rancheros were served over the potatoes. This detracted from the dish, both because it gave the dish too much starch and because the potatoes themselves were mediocre. Given that the corned tortilla was a little thicker than usual, it would have worked well on its own. The over-easy egg was nicely cooked and the cheese plentiful, but the sharp, rich sauce was the real star of the dish. It was both flavorful but a little too lightly applied. A dollop of guacamole and sour cream completed the dish.
The Monte Cristo French Toast was presented as a sandwich with ham steak and Swiss cheese filling. It was then dribbled with strawberry preserves in an amount that managed to enhance the dish without overwhelming it. The preserves were dribbled in a cross-hatch pattern that also made for a nice presentation. The sandwich was finished with a dusting of powdered sugar. The ham steak within the sandwich was served in a nice, thick slice that was perfectly seared and juicy. The French Toast was also nicely cooked but ended up a little soggy in the middle from the cheese ad ham.