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Aug 29, 2006 10:49 PM

Riverside, Essex

Since the place changed hands from and changed from Conomo Cafe and became 'Riverside' we hadn't tried it. Here's a brief report:

Ordered what used to be the classic grilled pear salad; it fell flat with nowhere near the quality or care given to make this rise to greatness. It should be a meal in itself if not shared and this was sparse. Not awful just not great. Another salad dish, the anitipasto, was largely unimaginative with piles of crudites just looking dumped onto a dish. Zero effort at presentation and zero thoughfulness like where were the artichoke hearts and a good selection of roasted veggies? It was really more of a deconstructed salad than an antipasto.

On to a 'crispy pizza' app which was undercooked and mushy in the center and just slightly crispy at the crust. The fresh tomato sauce and basil was just average and the goat cheese were supermarket grade - nothing 'artisan' about the pizzi which needed higher and longer heat, a littly spikiness in the sauce and a cool local chevre and you'd be in another league. But not to be. I guess they could not be bothered. Pffft. C at best, we make better - much better - at home.

On to a shared main dish - Lobster Three Ways. Based on what had preceded it, my expectations were diminished and good thing. The claw meat was dipped in tempura, the knuckle meats were served chilled with mandarin orange slices and the tail just steamed. Rather unremarkable since the claws were cold and the coating pasty by the time it got to us but I might like a full serving of the lobster and mandarins instead of the forkful or so served up - a new twist on this or to me anyway. The lobster shell body was stuffed with microgreens - kinda weird thing to do.

Service was brisk and polite, not overbearing or overfriendly. We did get charged for a small handful of bar bevs that we did not order and they corrected the bill with profuse apologies.

No compelling reason to go back with so many good places to eat on Cape Ann.

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          1. I am new here and must say that my family has been frequenting Riverside for a couple years now and do see many of the same faces who also frequent. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to experience Conomo Cafe, so I can not compare. I do have to say that I have not had a bad experience at the Riverside in fact, quite the opposite. Pizza?? I think the pizza is teriffic!! Love the crust and the creative toppings. I too make pizza at home every saturday night and do know that when you put many things on top of a pizza, the crust does tend to droop in the middle. We've also had many other dishes here and have been nothing but satisfied. Food, service and mango martinis meet up to our standard each time. How can you beat that view? So bottom line is we all have different experiences and different tastes. That's what this is about. I don't see the "vested interest". - or the goat cheese.