Wednesday, August 10, 2011

River Cafe

I am still thinking about our anniversary, so I thought I'd talk about our meal at River Cafe.

River Cafe is important to Husband J and I because it's the restaurant where we had dinner the night we got engaged. River Cafe sits right on the water on the Brooklyn side of the East River with unforgettable views of the lower Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Husband J proposed to me in August 2008 at the park right on the river adjacent to River Cafe now called Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 1. Actually the park was still under construction, so we sat on a park bench near the small makeshift park substitute facing the many boats passing by at sunset. I had been somewhat fooled into going down to the river by a convoluted story Husband J told me about taking a picture at the river to send to my now mother-in-law....Yeah...exactly (Don't fall for that one, ladies!). The next thing I know Husband J was on one knee, and I was blubbering. Afterwards, we walked over to River Cafe and had a lovely dinner.

Some people think River Cafe is overrated, yet I like it for what it is. It's one of the few formal fine dining experiences to be had in Brooklyn. The restaurant requests that gentlemen wear a jacket in the main dining room for dinner. There is a man playing classic jazz tunes on the piano. There's very little like this still going on in Brooklyn these days, and I appreciate River Cafe for that.

What makes dining at River Cafe an experience is the excellent service, beauty of the space and the views. THE VIEWS!! We thought about getting married here, but it was much more than we wanted to spend. It was nice to revisit it for our anniversary.

For once, I look relatively fashionable on this blog. No travel clothes!

Entrance to the garden area

The garden
My dream alternate wedding ceremony would have been here in the garden .

When you walk into the main dining room, what you see are wall to wall, practically floor to ceiling windows displaying Manhattan. The most coveted seats are right next to the window. We scored one! Even Husband J was surprised we got that table.

The pictures below were taken simply by me lifting my camera a few inches off the table and in some cases using the zoom. The view is just that cool.

Statue of Liberty in the distance

Brooklyn Bridge

Of course, we did come to eat. I'm not sure if they have changed the concept a little, but you have the choice of a three course pre-fixe (choosing anything on the menu) or six course pre-fixe of set dishes. Since the six course pre-fixe had everything I wanted to try, we chose that.

First, the amuse bouche/hello from the kitchen

Gazapacho (l), watermelon with parmesan shavings(?) (r)
I think I'm forgetting which cheese this is, but you get the gist, right?

Refreshing and palate cleansing as a summer amuse bouche should be.

Taylor Bay Scallop Ceviche
On the half shell with sea beans, tomato and coriander

I felt bad picking up the shells so that I could slurp a little bit of the ceviche juice/broth, but it was totally worth it. It proved that just a few fresh ingredients can really create real flavor complexity. Taylor Bay is in Cape Cod, Massachusetts (I had to look that up).

Wild Rock Lobster
Roasted lobster tail, mango, fennel, lemon and olive oil

It's fresh, simple lobster. What more can I say? :) The mango made me think of the Caribbean.

Branzino Fillet
Branzino = Mediterranean sea bass; shrimp & chorizo "stuffing" (really a layer), petite zucchini, charred vine tomato with lemon confit (aka a little lemon juice)

I love that this dish toyed with wanting to be light and with the savory richness of the chorizo. It was New Orleans meets an Italian fishing village, and it worked. What stole the show (or perhaps the plate?) was the charred tomato. By the look of it, you would not expect something that tastes like it just came from a grill. Actually the taste made me feel like I had just walked through the remains of burned building. Yes, that transporting.

Foie Gras
Strawberry reduction, strawberry filled crepes, crumbled pistachios

Please don't hate me 'cause I eat foie gras. :( Loved the strawberry crepe.

Charcoal Grilled Sirloin
Red wine mushroom marmalade on the side

This came with
Russet & Sweet Potato Gratin
potatoes with blue cheese fondue

The steak was fine, if perhaps a bit overcooked. I'm not a big steak fan, so I don't feel too qualified to comment on them very much. On the other hand, those potatoes were heavenly. I guess melted blue cheese would make anything better, wouldn't it?

Finally dessert. We had a choice of deserts, and we each picked our own.

For Husband J:

Coffee Caramel Parfait

For me:

Chocolate Sticky Toffee Cake
Accompanied by butterscotch sauce with a pistachio ice cream sandwich on the side. Also a "Happy Anniversary" message for us.

Both great desserts, and the ice cream sandwich should be its own menu item. We also had a tray of petit fours. Yes, I know...a ton of food. I didn't eat much beforehand on purpose. :)

We had awesome meal, and River Cafe remains a romantic spot to make googly eyes at your special someone. We'll definitely be going back.

River Cafe
One Water Street
Brooklyn, New York


Oneika said...

You are absolutely stunning in your dress and your shoes and the food looks extremely tasty! Happy anniversary once again and I am SO glad to have had the chance to meet you!

Maya said...

Everything looks incredible-- I'm dying over those potatoes! And I love that dress -- you look beautiful. Happy anniversary to you two!

lavenderpug said...

look at you all dressed up! what a lovely meal to celebrate your anniversary.

Erin said...

Ditto on the dress! Sounds like a yummy and lovely meal. I too swoon for foie gras despite my guilt ;)

Alexa said...

Oh gosh that looks amazing. Now I'm hungry looking at your post!

Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

Looking good! I love that dress on you.

How was the watermelon? Sounds like an interesting combo.

Daphne said...

Co-sign with everyone on your dress and shoes! Perfect combo of flirty and flowy!

And you two ate very well. As it should be! Potatoes and I are good friends, so I am particularly keen on that dish!

The views are wonderful.

Question about your camera, Terri - do you use a regular digital camera or a DSLR camera? Your pictures always come out so nicely.

Try Anything Once Terri said...

Thanks for the well wishes, everyone!!

@Hannah - The watermelon was nice. I would have never thought to pair the two actually.

@Daphne - I actually do use a regular digital camera. I have been toying around with the idea of getting a DSLR, but I haven't made the jump yet. I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7.

Morgan said...

Wow, what a view! Everything looks so amazing, I really need to visit NCY to try all the wonderful restaurants you get to eat at.

And happy belated anniversary!

Wired & Witty said...

Happy Anniversary. That looks like a ton of food. I don't hate you for getting foie gras. I eat it too. Shh..


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