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The Riverhead Project WOW!!!

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Last night we checked out this new restaurant in Riverhead. You would never know The Riverhead Project has been open less than a week.
The servers were priofessional and spot on! Food was fantastic and ultra creative.
The owner had The Frisky Oyster in Greenport previously. He transformed the old Chase Manhattan bank office on Main St into a perfectly lovely and subtle space.
The salads and appetizers of lobster pierogies and steak tartare with quails egg were exceptional. For entrees we had perfectly cooked soft shell crab and fish and chips.
Plum pie, luscious chocolate cake and gourmet cookies wrapped up this meal.
$75pp with drinks and a bottle of wine seemed like a bargain for this creative gourmet meal.
Main St in Riverhead is on it's way to becoming a gourmet restaurant row.

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  1. Thanks for the report! That sounds wonderful.

    1. My friend Moto! Any trips to Coney Island lately?

      The lobster pierogies sound luscious. How were they dressed? (Hopefully) drenched in butter? We'd love to have a decent steak tartare around here.

      1. Doesn't he also have a BBQ place opening nearby at the old Boardwalk location? I know we will be eating in town a lot this summer!

        1 Reply
        1. re: coll

          BBQ place is opening down the street but I don't think it is the same owner. Once the hotel opens the stores and restaurants may have a chance of survival. Keep your fingers crossed.

        2. Our experience was not as good. We had spotty service including poor wait service (non-existent wine service). Starters: Lobster perogie was a lobster ravioli and while OK, not spectacular. The tomato salad was not as on the menu; no baby lettuce, no basil and no red onion only fresh and baked tomatoes and arugula; mains: Berkshire pork chop that was heavily "smoked" that ruined the flavor of the dish and the tempura soft shell crabs that were overly tempura-ed particularily the veggies. Beautiful restaurant with many current flaws. Management seems more concerned with investors, family and friends then paying patrons.

          14 Replies
          1. re: Martin_Chamois

            Martin: As you can see, our experiences were completely different. Was the place very busy when you were there? It was only half full when we were there.
            The crab coating was lite and flacky. Excellent waitstaff ( a local gal) and wine server who suggested an excellent white to go with our seafood. I thought about getting the pork chop but I have a weakness for soft shell crab.
            The owner came over to see if we were enjoying the meal. He could not have been more gracious.
            Go figure??

            1. re: Motosport

              We just ate there last night for the first time, and we say WOW, too... except for some heavy oversalting on my plate (husband had no such complaints) we had wonderful, seamless service that struck the right balance between attention and non instrusiveness. Our server was gracious, very informative about the food and timely with checking in, offering refills, etc.

              Apps were tuna poke, which was a beautiful melange of taste and texture, along side the most incendiary wasabi we've ever had... grilled octopus was wonderful, too. I had duck breast med rare which was perfect and delciously balanced with a slight citrus flavor but not sweet, and perfectly cooked but very salty rainbow chard and fingerling potato.

              We are not dessert eaters, but we loved our meals so much (and serving sizes are fairly modest, too) that upon being told that desserts are house made we ordered the chocolate messt, which I HIGHLY recommend.

              The room is beautiful, sophisticated and has so much padding on upholstered walls and dividers that the noise is well suppressed and conversation is easy and pleasant. Will definitely make the long trip again, we both loved it.

              1. re: mcf

                It's one of our favorite place to eat Al Fresco once the weather gets really nice.

                1. re: Motosport

                  Riverhead is getting nicer every visit, too. Love seeing it. Such a citified sophisticated room and bar area there, too. I rarely order dessert, and I never keep thinking about it all weekend, but the chocolate mess got my attention and kept it. :-)

                  1. re: mcf

                    I.M.H.O. things are moving way too slow in "Rivercity". I blame it on the politicians who just can't seem to make up their minds about anything and throw obstacles in the way of anyone with a creative idea for downtown Main St. I have to give credit to the tRP owner who got his project going in record time.
                    FYI: Blue Door Bakery of Southold is opening a place across the street from tRP a,d there will also be a Ralph's Ice Cream nearby.
                    If we could only get that movie theater open so there would be some foot traffic on Main St. some enterprising entepreneur might open a boutique or two and revitalize the ghost town.

                    1. re: Motosport

                      I remember it going back decades, and even just a few years. This is how E. Main St., Port Jefferson, a bombed out, derelict neighborhood looked decades ago when I first lived in that town and it was just coming back under Mayor Swenk. I think a thoughtful, sustainable approach to redevelopment leads to long term enhancements. Definitely, Bay Shore and Patchogue are benefiting hugely from their open theaters and I seem to recall having seen one going up or open in R'Head (as in Westbury, another gentrifying town looking good). Movie theater or other entertainment venue bringing in more evening/late night traffic could be a great addition, yes. But from my outside perspective, it's like time lapse photography and getting out there a couple of times per year seems to be happening so fast! Perspective.

                      1. re: mcf

                        The last movie I saw at the Suffolk Movie theater was "Gone with the Wind". I have to admit it was a re-release around 1975. So sad that it sits unused after all these years.

                        1. re: Motosport

                          Yes, hope that comes to pass. We're paddlers; have to make sure to paddle the Peconic this year, then eat in town. Have you gone to any of tRP wine project dinners? I'm thinking we'd like to, though it's mighty far on a week night... could be worth the trip?

                          1. re: mcf

                            It's a good wine dinner, communal service, not pretentious and the winemaker is there to talk about the wines. Not bad for $45.

                            1. re: devain

                              Thanks for the info... is the menu available ahead of time?

                              1. re: mcf

                                Sometimes on the face book page, but the Chef does it spontaneously, anywhere from 4 big plates to 15 tapas style courses to a plated dinner.

                                1. re: devain

                                  Thanks, sounds better and better...

                      2. re: Motosport

                        OOPS! It's the Blue Duck Bakery!!

                        1. re: Motosport

                          I don't eat baked goods, but in my head, it was The Big Duck. :-)

            2. We finally made it to Riverhead Project last night and had the most wonderful meal. The service couldn't have been more perfect (luckily we were almost the only people there, but that could have been a bad thing elsewhere). My husband started with the lobster pierogies, which surprised me as he's not the biggest lobster lover, but he didn't even share with me so they must have been extraodinary. There were big pieces of lobster on top, and beautiful carmelized onions underneath, from what I could see. I had to have the foie gras, and have never had any better than this. Melted in your mouth, it was a revelation to me. Came with a soft fried egg, so continental! And the fact that it came with fig mostardo was the cherry on top, so to speak. I make my own, but have never seen it served anywhere before.

              We decided to skip the shellfish, since everything is pretty much local and there is an issue right now out here, but no problem at all. Still plenty to choose from. I had the duck breast, which was a enormous piece, while my husband decided on the crispy suckling pig. Both had the skin attached, which was cooked perfectly to bacon-like goodness. There was plenty of food in each serving, I was expecting the usual 2 or 3 bites that is so popular now, but that was not the case at all. A bed of cut up asparagus under mine, with baby fingerlings cooked in duck fat. While I was driving there I was noticing the farm stands just started with their asparagus and was craving some, it was like they read my mind.

              We split a dessert, creme brulee, which was fine (but not as good as La Plage! I am spoiled) the best part of it were the fresh whole raspberries on top and the raspberry coulis underneath.

              The bill was exactly what I expected (it was our anniversary so I wasn't keeping track) $200 with tip, we each had a couple of martini type drinks so of course that brought it up a bit.

              It is a beautiful room, wish I could have checked out downstairs too but a distinguished group of men headed there at one point while we were eating, obviously a scheduled winetasting. They thought of everything when they designed this restaurant, and it will be high on my list for all our future special occasions.

              22 Replies
              1. re: coll

                $200 with tip!!! What a deal!!! Manhattan ambiance, service and quality @ Riverhead prices!! WOW!! It's our special occasion destination.

                1. re: Motosport

                  Can't wait to see our bill at Comtese Therese next week.........good thing we have the Corvette up for sale!

                2. re: coll

                  I was there last night too!

                  1. re: devain

                    Were the the couple with the baby, or the younger couple in the front window, or part of the group at the bar that went downstairs? (Unless you work there!) We were only there from 5 til 7, so we may not have crossed paths; we used to always say we need a secret Chowhound sign so we can recognize each other out in the real world!

                    1. re: coll

                      We should arrange a meetup there sometime. I'd make the trip!

                      1. re: mcf

                        I think I know a few others who would join us....that would be a fun thing to do this summer.

                        1. re: coll

                          Definitely!

                          1. re: mcf

                            We're in!!

                      2. re: coll

                        Full disclosure: I do work there

                        1. re: devain

                          Well congratulations, you really made our anniversary special!! See you again soon....

                          1. re: coll

                            tell them the chef sent you

                            1. re: devain

                              I am honored, sir. You rock!

                              1. re: coll

                                Thanks, we like what we are doing here

                                1. re: devain

                                  So do I! Frankly, if all you did was chocolate mess, I'd make the trip. :-)

                          2. re: devain

                            I'd guessed you had an association before now.

                            1. re: mcf

                              OK, so has anyone arranged such a meetup before? If so, any volunteers to help make it happen? Am glad to participate in making it happen, but I know it's supposed to be coordinated off the boards...

                              1. re: mcf

                                I've met with some local 'hounds before and it was arranged by regular email. Drop me a line and we'll work it out!

                                1. re: coll

                                  the wine project is a good night to get a feel for what we do without breaking your budget and we have a few wine dinners coming up also. A $88 eight course Rose Dinner is in the works.

                                  1. re: coll

                                    i actually live near there and have yet to go.I have a hard time justifying the price
                                    for just a casual dinner.Seems like more of an occasion place.Am i wrong??

                                    1. re: ronhall51

                                      Relatively speaking the prices are reasonable. For us it's a special occasion place.

                                      1. re: ronhall51

                                        Ron, we're arranging a Chow meeting there to check it out, send me or motosport an email.

                                    2. re: mcf

                                      my email is in the "profile"