The River Cafe --- a promised report / review
i have just returned from a most enjoyable trip to Manhatten with my family . Having asked others here for help on a number of subjects , Steve_R asked me to review my dinner visit to the River Cafe which i went to my my wife and kids aged 15 and 17 .
we all had a very nice time there and its not at all surprising to find it as romantic and in a beautiful setting as all who go there have said .
i asked the MD nicely if we could sit by the window and having sat at the bar for 15 mins my wishes were granted . my eldest and i started with lightly cooked bluefin tuna which was pleasant but not much more than that and the other two had the warm pear salad which was very nice indeed . i then had the venison which was very tastey and tender , my wife enjoyed her black bass and the kids enjoyed the duck breast and the rack of lamb . i chose a nice sancere which is one of my favorite bottles .all shared the special chocolate brooklyn bridge dessert which was super .
call me stupid but i didnt realise we were actually dinning on a boat , i thought it was just designed to look like one but i was glad it was tethered and didnt move an inch !
the service was first class but i thought it odd that i was being pushed for a wine order before the menus were provided and this was after we had ordered drinks at the bar . any views here ?
i think we all felt to some degree that perhaps the restaurant was living a little on its reputation and some dishes were a little overelaborate .
i know that you might be shocked by this but i found the bill "cheap" at $512 ! in sterling this is only £60 per head which for a first class meal isnt a lot for us london brits living in probably the most expensive city in the world . for eg in the river cafe in london a meal would probably come to $200 per head . i take my hat off to amercians who come to london and arent broke by the time they go home !
Glad you had a good time here in NYC. Thanks for the review. It's pretty much consistant with how many of us view it. With the changing of chefs over the years, it may be less "living on reputation" and more in need of an innovative, creative hand in the kitchen, but it really doesnt matter. The current chef is better than the last one but not setting the world on fire either. By the way, I cant think of a reason for the early wine order expectation, especially if you were sitting with bar drinks, except if they thought you'd be going for an expensive red that they should be decanting and letting breathe for awhile.
Having been in London for a couple of weeks last year, I'm not surprised you found it inexpensive here. We paid as much for way less quality due to the value of the dollar, although we did find some very nice places for reasonable cost (ie; Launceton Place, thanks to howler on CH's International board).