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Jan 12, 2009 07:03 PM

River Barrel in Greenpoint

Has anybody else been to this new restaurant on Franklin Street in Greenpoint? Stopped in tonight with a friend to check out the place... There was an empty table (one of several empty tables) right near the bar and we asked the bartender/hostess if we could have it. She told us to take a seat at the bar and then we could move there... Then she tried to push some cocktails on us... My friend ordered a wine and I asked for a soda. We had come for dinner so it was a bit annoying to be asked to sit at the bar when there were empty tables in front of us. Nobody seemed to be making a move to prepare the table for us, so when a waitress walked by we asked if we would be able to sit at that table. She said we should go ahead. As we moved to the table, the bartender called out that we needed to settle our tab at the bar first. It seemed like a ploy just to get us to tip her on the drink we would have ordered with dinner. (I don't think it was that the table was really not ready, because the waitress didn't even bring the cutlery until after she brought out our meals...) Maybe business is slow and the bartender really needs some tips, but in my opinion this is not the way things should go in a place that hopes to become a neighborhood joint... We sat down and each ordered a cheeseburger. They were pretty good, ten bucks each, with a side of greens or fries. Mine came out with two bottom pieces of brioche by accident, but the waitress was very nice about bringing me a puffy top piece (which is obviously the best part of a brioche bun!). But then later she came and tried to take my friend's plate -- which was empty, but only because he was holding the remaining half of his burger in his hand! I thought the burger was decent and it would be great to have a new dinner option within walking distance of my apartment, but I hope they get their act together with the service...

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  1. Thanks for the report. That's too bad. Hopefully they will get their act together like you said. I might try it this week and appreciate the warning.

    1. "As we moved to the table, the bartender called out that we needed to settle our tab at the bar first."

      That's standard procedure for most restaurants, good ones included. They track the money for the bar and the dining room separately.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Martinez

        It's true that this is standard procedure. However, the bartender was clearly out of line making them sit at the bar while tables were obviously ready.

      2. The food at this place was really good (I think I've found my Greenpoint burger - blew Label, Coffeehouse, Paloma - RIP- out of the water), but the service was very strange. They were definitely getting their sea legs where that's concerned. My hope is that experiences like the above will disappear as they get settled in. The place has potential: good menu, good prices, good bar, good atmosphere, good location. It's just the service that needs help. Sorry you had a bad experience hungry_united.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lucye

          Thank you so much for your wonderful comments Lucy, I hope to see you at the Barrel soon!

          1. re: lucye

            I'm going to give it a few weeks and try again, hoping for the best!

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. My boyfriend and I had dinner at The River Barrel last night. We started with the duck spring roll which I thought was ok, kind of a strange choice for the rest of the cuisine on the menu but I enjoyed eating it none the less. I had the wild mushroom ravioli with sage butter. It seemed like it had been frozen and was kind of crispy from being cooked in the brown butter. My boyfriend had the hanger steak with truffled mac and cheese. The steak didn't seem like it was all from the same cut of meat and the plating of the dish was strange. They put a huge bowl of the mac and cheese which was virtually covering the steak on the plate. On a bright thought the mac and cheese was worthy of being an entree in itself. Overall I found the food adequate for a neighborhood joint but I would definitely not recommend going out of your way for this restaurant.