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May 19, 2008 06:17 PM

River Bistro in New Milford, CT... Any info?

On the Housatonic River/ Highway 7/ Kent Road in New Milford is an interesting looking restaurant; "River Bistro". Their website says "same place, new name". I don't see any web presence (meaning no info or reviews) except for their website and that they say they are Zagat rated.....

Anyone have anything on them? They appear to be a Spanish restaurant and tapas bar.

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  1. It used to be called Tapajoz, there is some stuff about them under that name.

        1. re: Scargod

          I am fascinated by your review of the River Bistro. I eat there often and have never had a bad meal. The flavors are complex and meals wonderfully prepared. They usually like to let their diners enjoy a leisurely dinner, but if you're pressed for time, let them know and they will be accommodating.

          1. re: BxFoodMaven

            Just to clarify, I have never been there. I referenced Tripadvisor, which seems to have about all there is about the place. No reviews there are mine.

        2. River Bistro - I was on a Sunday drive with my beautiful and talented girlfriend, and we happened to come upon this attractive restaurant. It is located on a river, just off hwy 7, a nice setting.

          Inside, the restaurant has a large bar and a dining room. The dining room actually has a country feel to it, more so than Spanish. In fact, the decor and menu were confused.

          River Bistro has menu that has 1 page of entrees that contain both italian and spanish influences. I would argue that the use of the word "tapas" is inappropriate here because a few of the items were not specific to Spain. Small plates is the term they should use.

          Overall our experience at River Bistro was unforgettable, but not in a good way. Upon opening the menu, we were immediately struck by random collection of items, seemingly without any rhyme or reason for being.

          Then when the waitress/manager came to take our order, she read us the specials. The list of specials was never ending. She cited at least 10 items/entrees-oh and did I mention it was a Sunday?

          We both got soup to start, Lobster Bisque and Potato Garlic. I must admit the Bisque was quite good. It was able to have a strong lobster flavor, yet remain balanced. The Potato Garlic was not so good. The sum of the 2 ingredients were no greater than the parts. It needed something else to bind/combine the flavors together, to create "soup" So it wasn't very good, at least it wasn't inedible.

          We decided to order 3 "small plates". We ordered Turnovers/Empanatas (spinach and cheese), Chorizo (in brandy sauce), Mussels (in a garlic and tomato sauce, with spice). The waitress informed us they were out of the turnovers. We then ordered Olives and Cheese as a replacement.

          During this time, we noticed the other tables had bread, we did not have bread. My stunning girlfriend asked the waitress if we could get bread, the waitress informed us that it was "in the oven".

          HA! 15 min later, we finally got our bread, and it was cold. (so much for the oven). 15 min later our food arrived. However our olives and cheese order did not arrive, and our waitress informed us that they were out of olives, and she asked us if we just wanted cheese. By this time, we decided we had plenty of food and would order more if we were still hungry after the mussels and chorizo.

          Here is where bad when to worse, to horrible in a hurry. My first bite of chorizo resulted in a crunch. The bottom of the slice I bit into was burnt and had a crispy black shell. I then proceeded to turn over each of the 10 slices of chorizo, and sure enough, each one was burnt. The cook knew it too, because the burnt side was face down on each piece of meat. This bothers me, when the cook, well aware the food is burnt, tries to hide his snafu.

          At this time, my girlfriend pointed out that the chorizo we were served was not even the chorizo we ordered. We ordered chorizo with brandy sauce, instead we got chorizo on rice. I really would not have cared much if the food was just cooked properly. We think they burnt the sauce, thus the rice stand-in.

          After we decided we were going to send back the chorizo, my girlfriend who had 1 mussel, had a very disappointed look on her face. Then I ate a mussel, and I understood why. Their was an overwhelming fish stink, even dead fish, rotting in the sun smell and taste. It was bad. Also, there was absolutely no sauce, the plate was dry.

          At this point, we were done. I asked how long it has been since either of us had a meal that was a total loss (okay the bisque was good)? The waitress, who never returned to check on our meal, finally came within shouting distance of us, 15 min after our food was delivered. We told her that the chorizo was burnt and I pointed out how the cook knew it too, because each piece was magically placed facing down into the rice. The waitress, instead of apologizing, said in a frustrated tone, no problem I'll get you a new order. Then we pointed out the mussels were lacking sauce (the waitress, again refused to acknowledge the poor quality--offered to add sauce to "make it soupy" for us). We decided we had had enough and said we were done.

          We finished our drinks, and, amazingly waited 20 min for our check, which at 15 min, we had to ask for.

          Fortunately the waitress removed both the mussels and chorizo from the bill. She finally apologized and that was it.

          Maybe they had an off night, maybe Sunday really is the worst day of the week for dining, either way, I would recommend this place for kitchen nightmares, not for fine dining.

          zero stars.

          2 Replies
          1. re: BeanoCook

            I have been going to the River since it was Tapajoz and have never had a problem. The food always tastes great, the atmosphere is perfect and the waitstaff is very friendly and courteous. Even the bar is great, it's like my very own Cheer's bar because everyone is always playing around with everyone.

            1. re: CTfood12

              Okay I regret giving Bistro zero stars, as the lobster bisque was good. And the server/manager did attempt (at least somewhat) to improve our experience. But I can't give River more than 1 or 1.5 stars at best for this night. 2 of our plates were inedible.

              I will also allow for a single "off" night as I am reasonable. The people near us loved their dishes, it seemed they had entrees.

              The bar did look nice, attractive and cozy.