The River Cafe

By grace.g.yang · December 27, 2010
Under: American,Brooklyn,Brunch,Desserts,Lunch,Michelin 2010 Guide,Michelin 2011 Guide,My Life,seafood

On the last day of my Michelin adventures, I celebrated with a brunch at River Cafe in Brooklyn. It’s supposed to be one of the most romantic restaurants in New York because it’s right on the water with great views of Manhattan’s skyline. Whenever I mentioned that River Cafe was on my list of restaurants to try, a lot of people told me that they knew someone that got engaged at the restaurant. I went with my family (so there was no pressure of a proposal) and we went on a clear and sunny Saturday afternoon.

The restaurant was decorated for the holidays and reminded us of Tavern on the Green in terms of decoration and I did a little prayer under my breath that the food wouldn’t be similar.

We started off with warm bread and very spreadable butter:


We ordered some appetizers for everyone to share – the octopus salad with char-grilled portuguese octopus, niçoise style vegetables, white bean purée, lemon and olive oil vinaigrette:


I’ve become extremely fond of octopus, olives, and uni during this year of eating and the octopus salad here was phenomenal; flavorful with a lightness from the green beans and tomatoes. The dots surrounding the octopus were olive paste and added just the right amount of salt that the dish needed.

The other appetizer we shared was the Foie Gras Two Ways classic pressed terrine with caramelized fig and banyuls wine poached roulade with coffee, date and almond crust:


The foie gras on the right was absolutely amazing; slightly sweetened from the almond crust and a flavor combination I don’t think I’ve experienced before with the coffee and foie gras combination. I wasn’t a huge fan of the toast that was paired with the foie gras, but I ate it straight from my knife to go around that problem.

The chef sent over two appetizers – Ceviche Of Taylor Bay Scallops chilled on the half shell, sea beans, tomato, coriander:


The scallop ceviche ended up being one of my mom’s favorite dishes of the day; really fresh scallops were marinated in tomato and citrus and the sea beans added just enough crunch and saltiness.

The second dish the chef sent over was one of their signature dishes – Warm Goat Cheese And Potato Terrine marinated golden beets, aged sherry wine vinaigrette, baby greens and toasted walnuts:


The dish was really beautifully presented and we almost didn’t know where to start digging into it! The potatoes are cooked and layered with goat cheese that adds a nice contrast to a bite of the beets and baby greens. It was surprisingly light even with the potatoes and goat cheese.

For my mom’s main course, she ordered the branzino fillet:


The sea bass came with chorizo sausage and shrimp “stuffing”, smoked tomato petals, petite zucchini, and charred lemon confit.

For my main course, I ordered the crisp duck breast:


The duck breast came with truffle honey and fennel pollen glaze, duck leg and potato croquette, organic carrots, and julienned bok choy.

Laura ordered the lobster and lobster:


The lobster and lobster was a rock lobster tail, green beans, sugar snaps, saffron chick peas, and a main lobster and black truffle grilled cheese sandwich.

David ordered the Scottish Salmon:


The salmon came with wild hen of the woods mushroom vinaigrette, port pine and shallot reduction, and baby romanesco cauliflower.

All of us at lunch:


My favorite main course was probably my mom’s sea bass; it was light but had a great crunchy texture because of the toasted bread on top of it. My duck was alright but the truffle honey was too sweet for me (my mom was a big fan). Laura’s grilled cheese and lobster sandwich was more cheese and filler than anything (and I bit down really hard on a lobster shell!). The lobster and lobster was probably my least favorite dish from the main courses. David’s salmon was really light but I felt that it wasn’t really extraordinary.

For dessert, we ordered their signature Chocolate Marquise Brooklyn Bridge:


The Brooklyn bridge is handmade chocolate with a terrine of toasted hazelnut and tahitian vanilla ice cream and really much more delicious than it looks (if that’s possible!) Simple ingredients but really well prepared and really beautiful to look at!

The kitchen sent our second dessert, the coffee caramel parfait with salted caramel chantilly and espresso caramel sauce:


The espresso caramel sauce was actually poured into a hole in center of the dessert and oozed out of the parfait after we cracked open the layer of sugar. It was a bit sweeter than the Brooklyn bridge but also delicious.

After lunch, we took some photographs in the first room of the cafe by their Christmas tree decorated with poinsettias and also took some photographs outside in the garden. The restaurant decorations aren’t exactly classy but the food, service, and the views of Manhattan definitely makes The River Cafe worth a visit.

River Café on Urbanspoon

Reader Comments

I visited the River Cafe once. The ambiance is homey – not upscale or classy but good for home gatherings or comfort dining. The location is great because of the water. Some of the dishes are nicely done (I also loved their octopus salad). I think they can make this restaurant a lot better and classier but it is certainly a nice place for dining and views.

I admire you for finishing eating through all Michelin restaurants in NYC. A tall order but you made it.

Written By Comfort Food on January 2nd, 2011 @ 2:01 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed your food at The River Cafe!!! I just finished my externship there in the pastry department and I was excited that you had a picture of the desserts because I know that I plated them =)
The RIver Cafe is such a great place to eat and work in I would recommend it to everyone!!

Written By Karissa on February 8th, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

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and reporting! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve added you guys to my ppersonal blogroll.

Written By Beatris on March 11th, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

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