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Rio Mar?

Any recent experiences at Rio Mar? I don't see it much on CH, saw some chef shuffles (at least in titles) and was wondering what Chowhounders think of the menu, execution and ambiance.

Just had not thought of NOLA Latin/Seafood, in the past, but would love to know your thoughts for my forthcoming April and November visits.

Thanks..

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  1. I recommend it without hesitation. Been 3 times in the last 6 weeks, one meal better than the next: assorted ceviches, fish specials that were creative and fresh; roast pork with black beans, delicious flan. Chef Miles Prescott is keeping the bar high and delivering. Go!

    2 Replies
    1. re: sanglier

      Since my travel companion does not eat beef/pork etc creative fish dishes sounds excellent. And I love flan. Well located near our lodging, too, and open on Mondays. Could be a good fit!

      Any thoughts on wine v cocktails @ Rio Mar? We are from Sonoma County so we are pretty spoiled on the wine side. :}

      Thanks, Sanglier, you are always so helpful and knowledgeable!

      1. re: sanglier

        Haven't visited the city in years, but was a great fan of Rio Mar under Chef Garcia.

        I happen to be a flan fanatic. If the restaurant has kept Chef Garcia's flan on the menu, I can honestly say it's the best flan I've ever had in my life!

      2. Thanks for the kind words! I don't recall that they are so much into the "craft cocktail" scene, though they do make a wicked caparihna (I know for sure I misspelled the national drink of Brazil, for shame!). I usually stick to opening glasses of cava or the natually fizzy Txolina (another buthcer job, you know the stuff, chock-oh-leen-a), then on to a Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, etc. Very well-chosen wine list at imminently fair prices. I think your group will be happy, a post-mortem, please! Have a safe trip.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sanglier

          Thanks sanglier et al. I will imminently put it on my list. :} Thanks moderator, too!

        2. Great news about the wine list, great news about the flan. And I love cava don't think I've ever had Txolina.

          I have i plugged Rio Mar in as a strong possibility for a Monday night dinner. The rest of the dining/drinking itinerary is in my most recent update of the post: "April visit with NOLA virgin."

          Will do a trip report for sure. Thanks!

          1. Recently (last weekend) I was disappointed with the service and the pacing at Rio Mar. Having been there once per year for the past 5+ years, we are accustomed to their policy of taking the order for all courses up front. When giving our order we tried to be very clear that we did not want to be rushed. Specifically, we said "we are not in any hurry". The server responded dismissively with "no one here is in a hurry", but he did at least seem to understand what we were saying.

            Unfortunately, the courses came too fast, actually overlapping in the end. The server did apologize for the pacing and reported that the kitchen was slammed and that he wanted to make sure we got our entree without waiting too long. I should have asked "what part of not in a hurry did you not understand?".

            The food was very good. The ceviche is excellent as always.

            At the price they are asking, I expect better service and pacing. If we decide to return, I will try telling the server something explicit like "We would like to have a minimum of 5 minutes between courses. If the kitchen is slammed and you think there will be 15 minutes or longer between our courses, just let us know."

            I don't quite understand the policy of not allowing diners to order courses as they go, but I'm certainly willing to participate as long as they are willing and able to follow our request for slow pacing.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dleigh

              In fairness to the kitchen, think how hard it would be if they had your order in front of them but with the instruction to wait until the server alerts them when you're ready for the next course. All while, on the slammed night, tickets are pouring in, from customers who want normal/not slower pacing. That's quite a balancing act to pull off. And what if others in that crowded dining room wanted slow pacing too? I think, on a slow night, your request could and should be granted. But not a busy weekend night.

              1. re: sanglier

                Isn't "wait until the server alerts them" what's meant by firing a course? This should be (and almost always is) the server's task and should, as dleigh insinuates, be paced to match the mood of the table. If there's a time limit on eating & drinking, it should be printed on the menu, right alongside "cash only" and "no separate checks."

                (Okay, so this is one of my real peeves, so much so that I no longer look at a menu until I have a cocktail in front of me -- far too many times I've had an app show up and have my first drink still be missing.)

                1. re: montuori

                  Again, I just think a fully booked night impacts these things. If you're there at 7:30 and wish to eat at an abnormally slow pace, you're impacting the group with a reservation after yours. I adjust my desires to what's going on in the restaurant that night.

            2. Went last week, and have eaten there (sporadically) for years. Menu is little changed, quality and service left nil to be desired. They were patient w/ our pace (tho' we were there early-ish), and any changes were fully benign.

              1 Reply
              1. re: brucec

                I think I am on board with this: "I no longer look at a menu until I have a cocktail in front of me."

                That was one of my biggest beefs with GW Fins, we had our appetizer well before we had a our wine. Not good. Keep up the good discussion of Rio Mar as it looks like I won't get there until the fall.

                More European to take the order at once BUT more notoriously, wonderfully leisurely pacing in France, Spain etc. You own that table for the night!