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Has anyone tried the new Tom Colicchio place Riverpark on 29th and the FDR

princeofpork Sep 30, 2010 08:22 AM

Has anyone tried the new Tom Colicchio place Riverview on 29th and the FDR

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  1. m
    ml77 RE: princeofpork Sep 30, 2010 09:40 AM

    FYI, it's Riverpark. I live in the nabe and am planning on checking it out tomorrow and will report back. i checked on Open Table and they aren't taking online resies for any date before the 14th.

    It'll be interesting to see the extent of Colicchio's influence. He's not the chef -- the chef's name is Sisha Ortuzar, who has worked with him for many years at GT and Craft. Though I'm sure he's been involved in every step of planning, it seems like he'll be less directly involved in setting the kitchen's course than he is at his other restaurants.

    At any rate, I'm very interested to try it. We could really use a fine dining option in this area.

    -----
    Riverpark
    450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

    5 Replies
    1. re: ml77
      princeofpork RE: ml77 Sep 30, 2010 10:45 AM

      Tell me about it. There is no fine dining for blocks and blocks. Please report back once you go.

      1. re: ml77
        a
        allister RE: ml77 Oct 1, 2010 03:57 PM

        Riverpark is already open. They are in previews until oct 5 I think. You can call the main number to make a reservation prior to the 14th. Going tonight. Will try to write review

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        Riverpark
        450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

        1. re: ml77
          m
          ml77 RE: ml77 Oct 3, 2010 12:40 PM

          So I made it to Riverpark on Friday. Overall, I enjoyed it.

          I called at about 630 to ask if I could walk in. The woman who answered said that they were fully booked, but that I could walk in and they would definitely accommodate me. I arrived around 8, and took a minute to take in the new outdoor space. They've done a great job creating a nice park out of a formerly grimy space. You enter at 29th and 1st onto a brick-covered pedestrian street, and walk down (past the new 'wichcraft, which I was not aware of) to a nice view of the East River. It's too bad that riverpark has opened just as it's about to get too cold for al fresco dining, as it's a great space for it.

          The restaurant itself is inside a new office building. It's kind of a strange space. The restaurant is at the far end of the lobby. There's a beautiful spiral staircase just in front of the restaurant's door, which I was told leads to a lounge. I didn't clarify if the lounge is part of the restaurant.

          I checked in at the front desk, and was told that there was a wait for a table, but that I could dine at the bar. I wanted to sit at the bar anyway so this was not a problem for me.

          Sitting down at the bar, I took in the room. Sleek and modern, with a wall of windows to the East that provide great river views. The bar backs up against the main section of the dining room, with additional seating in front of the bar and against the windows. It was busy but not full when I arrived. Noise level was energetic without being loud. Classic and modern rock music played throughout the night, at a reasonable volume. I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure it fits the room.

          I was given a bar menu with snacks and 5-10 dishes on it. For a moment I was concerned that the full menu would not be available to me, but upon asking I was given the full menu. I decided to order the potato chip snack and the glazed pork belly appetizer from the bar menu, and the cavatelli from the main menu. To drink, I order the Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter. This was great, nice and smooth, with a hint of chocolate, and the smokiness really came through nicely.

          The potato chips came first, described by my server as "sort of our take on buffalo wings." They are somewhat spicy, with a blue cheese dipping sauce. The first chip I bit into was soft, but every other chip was good, crispy with some spice and the blue cheese dip complimented them very well.

          The glazed pork belly followed. I am a pork belly fanatic, so I was looking forward to this dish. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed. It was OK, but not great. The belly was too soft, the skin was not crispy. It came as a thin strip of belly with some vegetables laid over top. The vegetables provided an earthy contrast to the fattiness of the belly. It didn't quite work for me, but I could see what they were going for. It may have worked if the belly had been cooked better.

          Whatever problems I had with the belly were redeemed by the next course, cavatelli. The pasta came in a lamb ragu with cheese (probably parmigiano) and mint. It was superb. rich, hearty, flavorful. Definitely didn't skimp on the lamb. I had the appetizer portion and I thought that it was plenty.

          After finishing the cavatelli, I asked where I could find the bathroom. I was told it was out past the front door. I walked out the front door, and went left as I had been instructed, but didn't see anything. I went back to the front desk and was told that it was indeed out the front door and over to the left, a good 30 yards from the door in the lobby of the office building. Very strange. The paper towel bin was overflowing, and towels were all lying on the ground in front of it. I'm sure the restaurant is not in charge of cleaning the bathroom, but they should make sure that building mgmt is taking care of it as it's a real turn off.

          I then ordered a dessert of beignets, and a scoop of Peanut Butter Swirl ice cream on the side. The beignets were great. They came with two dipping sauces, a vanilla custard and a rum chocolate sauce. Both were excellent. I rate them just shy of the beignets at the Modern Bar Room, which are probably the best there are outside of New Orleans. I had to remind my server that I ordered the ice cream, which then came promptly. It had a nice taste, but the consistency was very thick so I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped. Maybe I've just been eating too much gelato lately, but it just wasn't smooth or creamy enough for me.

          I decided to finish off my meal with a whiskey. I asked for the liquor menu and was told that there was none. I asked why not and was told that it was probably not a high priority for the management. I thought this was an odd thing to say to a customer. I asked what Irish whiskeys were available, and was given a choice of three. Not hearing anything I wanted, I kept searching the bar and noticed what I thought was a bottle of Redbreast above the bar. I asked and was told that yes it was Redbreast as well. I don't blame the server; this is exactly why they should have a menu. I ordered a glass of Redbreast, neat. When I eventually took the check, my server told me that my whiskey had been comped.

          With the drink comped, my total bill was $52. I thought this was very reasonable for what I had ordered. Even with the whiskey included, the bill would have been only about $65.

          Overall, I really enjoyed my meal at riverpark. It's clear that they are still working out the kinks (servers were introducing themselves to each other throughout the night) and figuring out their identity, which is inevitable at a restaurant that just opened. But I had a good meal in a nice setting at a reasonable price. This is something that is not that easy to find in this area. I'll be back.

          -----
          Riverpark
          450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

          1. re: ml77
            ellenost RE: ml77 Oct 3, 2010 06:23 PM

            Thanks for the very detailed report. I'm trying it this week. I look forward to it. The restaurant is not in a good location--I couldn't see it from the First Ave. bus yesterday. I hope good word of mouth spreads. They may not get much "walk by" traffic.

            1. re: ellenost
              m
              ml77 RE: ellenost Oct 4, 2010 08:45 PM

              You're welcome. I look forward to your report. They're still working out the kinks but I think it has definite potential.

              It is the very definition of out of the way, but I don't think they're relying on walk-ins to make it work. Colicchio's name will pull in a certain crowd, and they should do brisk business from everyone who works at the Med Center. Throw in the lack of fine dining options in this area (lamented earlier in this thread) and I think they'll rise and fall on their own merits.

        2. ellenost RE: princeofpork Sep 30, 2010 11:49 AM

          Funny, I was about to start a thread on Riverpark. I have a dinner reservation next week, so I'm very eager to hear what our fellow Hounds think about the restaurant. The neighborhood desperately needs a great restaurant. I wish them great success!

          -----
          Riverpark
          450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

          3 Replies
          1. re: ellenost
            princeofpork RE: ellenost Sep 30, 2010 01:13 PM

            What is the difference between Chef and Chef de Cusine?

            1. re: princeofpork
              ellenost RE: princeofpork Sep 30, 2010 01:26 PM

              no idea.

              1. re: princeofpork
                f
                filmbomb RE: princeofpork Sep 30, 2010 07:16 PM

                In descending order:

                Executive Chef
                Chef de Cuisine
                Sous Chef
                Line cook (in order of prestige: Grill, Saute, Garde manger)

                /starts argument and runs!

            2. ellenost RE: princeofpork Oct 10, 2010 06:36 AM

              Riverpark is the new gem in the Tom Colicchio empire! It is definitely out of the way in a Life Science building on E. 29 St. between First Ave. and the FDR (with a very small sign on First Ave--need bigger sign). Definitely worth the visit. Food is excellent--I ate half of the menu, and everything was wonderful: cavatelli with lamb and mint--yummy; hamachi crudo and tartare; beet flavored deviled eggs with smoked fish; pork belly with pickled vegetables; potato chips with blue cheese dressing (okay, the dressing needs to be thicker--it drips on everything). Main dishes were the duck breast and the rack of lamb; the duck breast was sensational! You must order the french fries; ask for an extra portion of the delicious garlic aloli. Desserts were great too!--malt ice cream; beignets with two sauces--chocolate and cream; and lemon meringue with a lemon/mustard ice cream--okay, that was a weird combo that needs to be rethought. Service was very friendly and accommodating. Lovely view. In the warm weather, the outdoor tables will be the most sought after tables in all of NYC--gorgeous view! Kind of strange that the restrooms are outside of the restaurant in the lobby of the office building though. Definitely plan to return many times. Thank you Tom for opening a great restaurant in this part of town!

              24 Replies
              1. re: ellenost
                ellenost RE: ellenost Oct 30, 2010 06:03 AM

                I returned to Riverpark last night for a birthday celebration for my aunt, and it was another great dinner. We had a great table by the window. Service was very attentive and friendly (as well as very professional). Appetizers included the cavatelli with lamb that remains outstanding. My sister had the swiss chard ravioli with chanterelles and lemon, and she loved it. Our aunt started with the lobster and artichoke salad that had a gigantic piece of lobster that was tender. Entrees included the wonderful duck that I had previously loved that remains delicious. Our aunt had the rack of lamb that now has three generous chops. I had the scallops that were lovely. Desserts included a trio of ice creams sorbets (wonderful malt ice cream and concord grape sorbet), the delicious beignets with two sauces, the molasses pound cake, and a complimentary lemon meringue with the lemon/mustard ice cream that now tastes much better.

                Riverpark is quickly becoming a new favorite restaurant of mine. The restaurant was almost full by 8:30 when we left. I look forward to many more visits.

                -----
                Riverpark
                450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

                1. re: ellenost
                  g
                  gutsofsteel RE: ellenost Oct 30, 2010 06:10 AM

                  Thanks for these posts Ellen. How's the price point? And any thoughts on the wine list?

                  1. re: gutsofsteel
                    d
                    David W RE: gutsofsteel Oct 30, 2010 06:30 AM

                    They have a website that will give you an idea of price-but they only have drinks and wines by the glass posted at this point...looking forward to trying it soon.
                    http://www.riverparknyc.com/index.php

                    1. re: David W
                      g
                      gutsofsteel RE: David W Oct 30, 2010 06:32 AM

                      I know, but I value Ellen's opinion and evaluation.

                    2. re: gutsofsteel
                      ellenost RE: gutsofsteel Oct 30, 2010 06:33 AM

                      Hi GOS!

                      Prices are (at least to me) very good. Entrees are mid-$20s and appetizers are mid-teens at dinner from their dinner menu. They also have a "cafe" menu that you can also order from where the entrees are mid-teens. Riverpark also serves lunch. I'm not as crazy about their wine list but I tend to limit myself to German Rieslings. Prices on the Riverpark wine list seem more reasonable that many restaurants. We shared a half bottle of champagne for $57 (a bargain for us).

                      The view of the East River is absolutely stunning! In the summer/spring they have outdoor seating that will be among the most difficult tables to get. Even indoor window seating will be among the most sought-after tables. I believe orignally the dinner tables were the tables on the raised platform and the window seats were for the bar/cafe, but it seems that all tables are available for dinner now (very smart move).

                      The website for Riverpark is "riverparknyc.com". I hope you try it.

                      -----
                      Riverpark
                      450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

                      1. re: gutsofsteel
                        r
                        RCC RE: gutsofsteel Oct 30, 2010 10:56 AM

                        The wine list was limited when we were there 2 weeks ago. It was also slightly out-of-whack.. I ordered a bottle of the 2001 LdH Bosconia Reserva off the list and waitress came back to tell me that they never had a 2001, but they have the 2002 which, imho, is a lesser-quality vintage in Rioja. It was for $60+ iirc. I stuck with it because I didn't want to have to review and rethink what we should drink.

                        Service, then, was also quite wacky. While waitress was trying to professionally serve our wine to be tasted, another wait staff came, stood for 15 seconds, got impatient and decided to "intrude" and serve our appetizers while waitress was talking and serving wines. A bit comical when he had to move wine glasses that was just about to be poured wine in order to place the plates he was holding.

                        Good food, friendly staff and I hope they straighten out the loose ends over time.

                    3. re: ellenost
                      r
                      rrems RE: ellenost Jan 14, 2011 07:33 PM

                      Wow, what a find. Thanks so much to ellenost and ml77 for your reports. I had made a reservation for later this month, but was so excited by the menu that I changed it to this week and am really glad I did. The only disappointment was that the menu had changed somewhat from the one on the website and the roasted sturgeon was no longer on it. However, they now have a smoked sturgeon carbonara, which I had for the appetizer, and it was superb. The goose tortelloni was also great. The pork chop and arctic char were excellent, as was the chocolate tart. I was especially impressed with the selection of beers, both tap and bottled. We had the smoked porter and chocolate stout, both on tap and only $5 each, and they were wonderful. Loved the atmosphere, service was still finding its way but no serious problems, and as ml77 mentioned, the bathroom situation is a little weird. For the price, I felt we got tremendous value. If this were in a more central location I would bet they'd be mobbed. Luckily, for the time being it's easy to reserve, but I suspect that will change. I can't wait to go back and try the squab and octopus appetizers.

                      1. re: rrems
                        r
                        RGR RE: rrems Jan 14, 2011 10:45 PM

                        I mentioned on another thread that we went to Riverpark in early November and enjoyed the food. All the dishes we had are still on the current menu. Service was fine although the bread didn't arrive until we were well into our appetizers. Our only major complaint was the poor design of the space, i.e., the massive wine display behind the bar that blocks the view from those seated in the main dining area.

                        Riverview photos can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                        1. re: RGR
                          ellenost RE: RGR Jan 15, 2011 05:48 AM

                          RGR: I loved your photo of the rack of lamb. We've had it twice, and think it's one of Riverpark's best dishes. Since I know you enjoy duck, I highly recommend Riverpark's duck breast dish to you. And since you're the "foie gras queen", I also highly recommend the foie gras torchon.

                          1. re: ellenost
                            r
                            RGR RE: ellenost Jan 15, 2011 06:53 AM

                            ellenost, I thought the rack was very good though there was a bit of the problem with the accompaniments, i.e., a bit overcooked and dry.

                            Foie gras Queen, indeed! LOL I'll certainly give the torchon a try, as well as the duck, which is also one of my favorite foods. I'm also keen on ravioli. Stuffed with sweet potato sounds delish.

                            I'm not sure when we'll be going again. One thing's for sure. No more sitting behind the barrier for us! We will only go if/when they can guarantee us a table with a view.

                            Though it's a short walk from our apartment, this frozen tundra-like weather makes me shiver just thinking about going there right now, what with the wind blowing off the river. While we can easily get a cab going there, getting one going back means walking that long block to 1st Av. Brrrr! However, I'm sure once the weather warms up and especially when it becomes conducive to al fresco dining, we'll likely go there quite often.

                            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                            1. re: RGR
                              ellenost RE: RGR Jan 15, 2011 07:10 AM

                              RGR: When we were last at Riverpark for NYE, as we were leaving, a taxi was dropping off people who were going to Riverpark for dinner, so I could have had an immediate taxi ride home. The smart thing that's been done is that the block is very well lit, all the snow was shoveled and there is a security guard walking the street (just in case someone was concerned about the quietness of the street). I love the fact that once you reach First Ave, the new SBS bus stop is right there at 29th St.--I was back to 86th St. in 15 minutes!

                              BTW, I am sure if you specifically request a table by the window, they'll accomodate you. We took our aunt to Riverpark at the end of October to celebrate her birthday, and since she walks with a walker, they knew she would have difficulty managing the step to the main dining area and seated us at a nice table near the window. It was a lovely (and delicioous) way to celebrate our aunt's 84th birthday!

                              -----
                              Riverpark
                              450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

                              1. re: ellenost
                                r
                                RGR RE: ellenost Jan 15, 2011 07:30 AM

                                ellenost, Having that cab right there when you needed one on NYE was really lucky. Given the location, there is no way a cab is just going to be cruising by, and unless they do a landslide business with lots of people arriving by cab, there won't be cabs readily available. Maybe that's the case during the weekdays when businesses in the building are open. We were there on a very quiet Sunday evening in late October. I had to laugh when, as we were leaving, I heard someone ask the receptionist if she could call them a cab.

                                I know they would have given us a window table if one had been available. But there aren't that many of them and, despite the fact that things were slow, all of those were occupied. They did offer us a table in the front area, but it was right next to a bussing station, which didn't appeal to me.

                                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                1. re: RGR
                                  ellenost RE: RGR Jan 15, 2011 07:41 AM

                                  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover that since your visit in late October, there is more "traffic" in the area. No doubt Sunday evenings will be quieter than usual. I absolutely thought that the Sifton review wasted so much space complaining about the remoteness of the location of the restaurant instead of talking about the excellent food. For those of us who visit, or like me, used to live in the Kips Bay area, Riverpark is a very welcome addiition to the neighborhood, and I hope more people try it.

                                  1. re: ellenost
                                    r
                                    RGR RE: ellenost Jan 15, 2011 07:55 AM

                                    Yes, Riverpark is a fine addition to the neighborhood. Good to know that it's getting busy. As for Sifton, I pretty much gave up on him when he awarded SHO Shaun Hergatt only 2 stars because he didn't like the decor -- which, btw, I find quite attractive.

                                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                  2. re: RGR
                                    r
                                    rrems RE: RGR Jan 15, 2011 08:27 AM

                                    < I had to laugh when, as we were leaving, I heard someone ask the receptionist if she could call them a cab. >

                                    Did the receptionist refuse to do this? I would think that a restaurant that is out of the way would offer to call for a cab, without even being asked. I'm sure there are many others like you, who will put off going there due to the weather, so I hope management is smart enough to be accommodating. It's just good business sense.

                                    1. re: rrems
                                      r
                                      RGR RE: rrems Jan 15, 2011 09:42 AM

                                      You cannot call for a cab in NYC -- which I think was the response from the receptionist. A car service (town car or limo), yes. But they charge by the hour, and are way more expensive than a cab ride. I don't know if she offered those patrons that option.

                                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                      1. re: RGR
                                        r
                                        rrems RE: RGR Jan 15, 2011 10:50 AM

                                        Boy, am I ignorant! I've lived in Manhattan nearly 40 years and I always assumed you could call for a cab (though obviously I've never tried).

                                        1. re: rrems
                                          s
                                          small h RE: rrems Jan 15, 2011 11:09 AM

                                          I mention this as a public service, although it may not be of interest to anyone on this thread (so far): there's a parking garage in the building that houses Riverpark, and they validate. So if you come there by car, you can park for free for three hours.

                                          @RGR: Car services do not always charge by the hour. You pay a flat rate for a ride to JFK, for instance (or from the LES to Park Slope, as I can tell you from personal experience). And that makes a car service a better deal than a yellow cab, sometimes.

                                          1. re: small h
                                            m
                                            ml77 RE: small h Jan 15, 2011 08:33 PM

                                            small h,

                                            You may be right, but the larger point is that anyone who thinks that the restaurant can summon a yellow cab to their door will be disappointed. I'm sure the patron who requested this was not expecting to negotiate a rate with a car service as opposed to getting a cab.

                                            1. re: ml77
                                              s
                                              small h RE: ml77 Jan 16, 2011 09:00 AM

                                              And the even larger point is that people don't emerge from the womb knowing that you can't call for a cab in Manhattan. I roll my eyes at clueless tourist behavior all the time, but that particular request doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

                                              1. re: small h
                                                ellenost RE: small h Jan 16, 2011 09:20 AM

                                                It's definitely a reasonable expectation, since when I travel to other cities, I always ask for a taxi to be called to take me back to my hotel with no problem. I think NYC may be unique in that taxis are not called.

                                                1. re: ellenost
                                                  k
                                                  kathryn RE: ellenost Jan 25, 2011 07:24 AM

                                                  What ellenost said.

                                                  Hopefully restaurants explain to their patrons that NYC does not have a central taxi dispatch, unlike other cities. Our yellow cab / livery cab (which cannot be hired off the street) system is unique.

                                                  1. re: kathryn
                                                    i
                                                    IntrepidNook RE: kathryn Feb 20, 2011 07:18 PM

                                                    For future reference, prior to leaving our server asked us how many taxis we needed (security flagged them off 1st ave and sent them down 29th to pick us up).

                          2. re: rrems
                            ellenost RE: rrems Jan 15, 2011 05:43 AM

                            I'm so glad that you enjoyed yourself rrems! I definitely want to try the artic char and the smoked sturgeon carbonara. Riverpark has become our "go-to neighborhood spot" since my sister lives a few blocks away. I'm looking forward to a return visit soon especially since they added to their dinner menu two dishes that I adored when I was there on New Year's Eve: the foie gras torchon and the sirloin steak. I saw that they have a new pasta that sounds perfect for the cold weather: sweet potato ravioli.

                        2. ellenost RE: princeofpork Dec 8, 2010 10:56 AM

                          Very nice review today by Sam Sifton (NYT) in today's Dining Section (two stars).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ellenost
                            princeofpork RE: ellenost Dec 8, 2010 11:30 AM

                            There goes the neighborhood.

                          2. s
                            sheio RE: princeofpork Jan 24, 2011 09:01 PM

                            I had a really great Restaurant Week dinner at Riverpark tonight and will absolutely return again soon - it's been my best Restaurant Week experience to date. The room is comfortable and spacious with a similar feel to Colicchio & Sons, and the Restaurant Week menu has a surprisingly extensive variety of appealing options (slightly different from what's posted on the nycgo website).

                            After ordering, we were offered fresh, warm, salted mini baguettes. My first course was a spaghetti with lobster and golden raisins and capers, not listed online but strongly recommended by our server, and it was the best dish on the table. The glazed pork belly and baby lettuces weren't misses but weren't particularly special either.

                            We moved on to the pork chop (brussels sprout-apple hash, parsnip puree), cavatelli (smoked lamb, mint, horseradish), and "burnt" flour pasta (cauliflower, pecorino, bread crumbs - I don't think it was served with fettucine tonight). I thought my pork chop was again the best dish, possibly because I'd just had a pasta, but the meat was a perfectly tender medium with a caramelized crust that added quite a bit of flavor. The two pastas are also definitely worth ordering.

                            For dessert I had beignets that came out perfectly hot and light (kumquat instead of cranberry compote), and my friends both ordered the cinnamon panna cotta with rosemary ice cream. I would order that panna cotta every time!

                            Portions were generous and service was friendly, and our server told us the menu has a seasonal emphasis and thus changes slightly almost weekly. I didn't sit on the side of room with a river view but it looked lovely. Overall, very highly recommended!

                            -----
                            Colicchio & Sons
                            85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                            Riverpark
                            450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: sheio
                              ellenost RE: sheio Jan 25, 2011 05:12 AM

                              Great to hear that Riverpark did so well with Restaurant Week. I definitely need to schedule a return visit soon!

                              1. re: ellenost
                                r
                                rrems RE: ellenost Feb 22, 2011 07:25 PM

                                As I just noted on another thread, the RW menu is amazing. Do try to get there this month while it is still on. We had a memorable meal at a bargain price.

                              2. re: sheio
                                r
                                RCC RE: sheio Jan 25, 2011 05:19 AM

                                I usually skip dessert and go for cheese after dinner, but that Panna Cotta is hard to turn down.

                                1. re: sheio
                                  k
                                  kathryn RE: sheio Jan 25, 2011 07:25 AM

                                  How busy was it?

                                  1. re: kathryn
                                    s
                                    sheio RE: kathryn Jan 25, 2011 10:14 AM

                                    My reservation was at 8:45P and the restaurant seemed about 75% occupied. No issues with crowding, comfort, or noise level, and as I was the first of my party to arrive they offered to seat me at the table. Not sure if they would've been able to accommodate a request to be seated by the windows facing the river, but I definitely plan to ask next time, and the room on the other side of the bar is also a very attractive space.

                                2. p
                                  Pan RE: princeofpork Feb 24, 2011 09:18 PM

                                  I thought this would be a good thread for a report on the dinner my girlfriend and I had at Riverpark last night.

                                  First of all, the service was excellent from beginning to end, including a friendly reception, an enthusiastic waitress, and an extra dessert for the birthday girl, compliments of the pastry chef, and the restaurant was pleasant.

                                  Secondly, it was a wonderful windfall that their entire menu was on the $35 Restaurant Week menu.

                                  On to the food.

                                  For our first courses, my girlfriend got:

                                  Mackeral Escabeche, Crispy paella, Iberico "pata negra," aioli

                                  I got:

                                  Goose Tortellini, Hen of the woods, huckleberry consomme

                                  Mackerel is a fishy fish, but for us, in a good way. We were told that the mackerel had been slightly seared and then marinated for several hours, so it tasted kind of pickled or like a cooked version of ceviche. The crispy paella was wonderful and had somewhat of the taste and consistency of a crispy little potato pancake. There were some delightful pickly vegetables under the fish, too, and the aioli was pleasant. Overall, a good, tasty dish. My girlfriend adds that the mackerel would have been too fishy to eat by itself but was good in that combination.

                                  I feel a bit bad about having to pan my appetizer. My girlfriend and I love mushrooms, but the taste of mushrooms in the consomme was really excessive. They used very concentrated dried mushrooms and cooked the stock down more, so that it was a very powerful mushroom/chicken stock - my girlfriend says, like bouillon. I would have liked to taste the huckleberries but couldn't, and while the tortellini (or whatever the exact name for the pasta was) were good, they would have been a lot better in a different context.

                                  For our mains, we got:

                                  Arctic Char, Salsify, caramelized endive, red wine

                                  Roast Veal Breast, Trumpet mushrooms, lentils, some kind of wine

                                  The arctic char was a terrific piece of salmon, perfectly unfishy, cooked exactly as long as we prefer (a lot of places cook fish more rare, barely seared, which is OK, but I thought this was better), and the skin was wonderfully crackly. The crispy salsify was pleasant and tasted something like potatoes to me (my girlfriend says almost like turnips). The endives were nicely caramelized in the good red wine sauce.

                                  My girlfriend liked the veal dish better than I did. It was good but somewhat saltier than I would have preferred. All the elements were good, though.

                                  My feeling was that the savory dishes were good but not outstanding (my girlfriend somewhat disagrees with me). However, the desserts were all great!

                                  We had:

                                  Cinnamon Panna Cotta, Pumpkin spice cake, rosemary ice cream, pumpkin seed chips

                                  Hazelnut Financier, Vanilla semifreddo, pomegranate consomme

                                  Both were outstanding as a whole and in every element. In particular, we loved the rosemary ice cream, the pumpkin seed chips (not mentioned on the menu) and the pomegranate consomme.

                                  Our waitress also brought out four beignets with cream and marmalade on the side with "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate. The beignets were light and fluffy and the cream and marmalade were lovely.

                                  We had a very good wine with our meal - Ship of Fools, a white wine from Michigan - for $44. It is made from four varieties of grapes, so it changed tastes in interesting ways and went well with all our savory courses.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Pan
                                    r
                                    RGR RE: Pan Feb 25, 2011 07:52 AM

                                    Thanks for reporting back, Pan. I'm glad that you both enjoyed the overall experience despite the dishes that disappointed you. I wasn't as wowed with the food at our one dinner at Riverpark as others have been though it was certainly more than good enough for a return visit.

                                    I've found that veal, depending on the cut and how it's prepared, can be problematical even in much higher end restaurants than Riverpark. When we dined at per se, our veal dish "main course" left me totally deflated as it was totally bland.

                                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                    1. re: RGR
                                      p
                                      Pan RE: RGR Feb 25, 2011 09:09 AM

                                      I wouldn't say I was wowed by the meal as a whole. I found it a very pleasant experience and a really good value as a Restaurant Week meal. I was wowed by the desserts. The fish dishes my girlfriend ordered were very good, but to me, the only things that were truly great were the desserts. The veal definitely wasn't bland, though, but rather, too salty.

                                      One potentially exciting thing, though, is that our waitress told us that when the weather gets warmer, they will put 200 seats outside and serve brunch. Based on our experience, I would expect any sweet items they might serve for brunch, such as pancakes, crepes, waffles, whatever direction they go in, to be great!

                                      1. re: Pan
                                        r
                                        RGR RE: Pan Feb 25, 2011 09:28 AM

                                        I agree with you about dessert. Mr. R. opted out, but I had the chocolate tart with salted caramel which was seriously delicious.

                                        I'm really looking forward to their outside seating. Since the restaurant is a short walk from our apartment, once the weather turns warm, we'll probably be going there regularly to take advantage of dining al fresco at lunch and dinner. As for brunch, that will depend on the menu. We don't care to eat breakfast foods out, so I'm hoping the brunch menu will include lunch dishes.

                                        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                        1. re: RGR
                                          p
                                          Pan RE: RGR Feb 25, 2011 07:35 PM

                                          Yeah, but since their sweet items seem to be superior to their savory items, maybe you should go somewhere else if you prefer lunch dishes, rather than sweet brunch dishes.

                                          1. re: Pan
                                            r
                                            RGR RE: Pan Feb 25, 2011 07:57 PM

                                            Since we really enjoy having brunch/lunch al fresco during the warm weather months, and Riverpark is so conveniently located for us, I'm more than willing to give their savory dishes a try, presuming there will be any and that they will appeal to us. After all, it's not as though the savory dishes we had for dinner were out-and-out bad. Both our starters were actually really good. It was the main course lamb, which we both had, that I felt could have been better. We shall see....

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