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River Bend Bistro: More hits than misses.

monkeyrotica Oct 28, 2013 08:37 AM

Since they've only been open for a week, we went in with low expectations and were impressed. River Bend Bistro is located in Hollin Hall in the former location of The Warf, a notoriously bad eatery that died a slow and lingering death of mediocre food and worse service. The new owners split the restaurant (no more sprawling rabbit warren) and cleaned up the interior: they kept the exposed duct work, but added a nice bright wine bar and comfortable furnishings. Sunday dinner at 5pm, there was a thin crowd, but the place was at capacity by the time we left at 7. The cod fritter balls with aoli were so good, we ordered a second helping. Addictive. Entrees were a mixed bag: the salmon and lentils were underseasoned, but the seared duck breast breast with fig and madeira sauces was outstanding. Had there been a bread basket, it would have all gone to sopping up the juices. My pan roasted sweetbreads were a little too firm for my taste; I'm used to the creamy, deepfried version at Restaurant Eve, but for $23 this is a steal, considering how generous the portion is (two BIG honking sweetbreads). The wife's spinach and ricotta agnioloti with walnut and parsley pesto was also a high point, as was the carefully thought out wine selection. The server recommended a crisp chardonnay that worked really well with all the dishes. Docked a star for the middling beer selection (food this good deserves some decent craft beer), but add a star for having some decent port, sherry, and madeira options. Surprisingly, no kinks in service; staff was attentive but not intrusive. Yelpers are already complaining about the lack of a kid's menu and burgers, even though the menu is IN THE WINDOW and there's no kid's menu or burgers to be found on it. I'm confident that soon, they will pull a Marvin and offer a $15 burger that will end up being the most popular item on the menu, given the number of families with fairly well-behaved kids dining here. All in all, a welcome neighborhood addition at a reasonable price point (the most expensive entree is the ribeye at $24). So glad we don't have to drive into Old Town for a decent parents' night out. http://riverbendbistro.com/

  1. tcamp Oct 28, 2013 10:35 AM

    My husband just went for lunch with coworkers and texted me that he enjoyed the liverwurst sandwich.

    I'm so glad something seemingly decent went in there.

    1. linguafood Oct 28, 2013 11:02 AM

      That menu looks amazing.

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