the river café
Hey guys! Gerome and I started off the month with a short trip to New York for his 25th birthday because we got tickets to the August 6th show of Dave Chappelle's Radio City Music Hall residency. I thought about making one big post about the trip, but there are a couple different things I want to highlight from the trip so this will probably be a series of New York posts I scatter around other pieces of content on my blog instead of an extra long post. This post is about our experience at The River Café, which is a beautiful Michelin-starred restaurant in Brooklyn. We started off our trip in New York with lunch at the restaurant, and I honestly think I’ll remember the meal for life. I hope you enjoy my little attempt at being a food blogger!
We started off our trip to New York in Brooklyn, a borough we’ve never really explored before. We went to the famous River Café, which boasts the most beautiful views of the Manhattan Bridge and Lower Manhattan that you could ever imagine. It’s a Michelin-starred restaurant, so we were buzzing with excitement as we crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge on our way to lunch. They only serve lunch on Saturdays and we were lucky enough to squeeze in an 11:30am reservation for their first service of the day. When you walk toward the restaurant, you enter a spectacular garden oasis - you wouldn’t believe that you were in Brooklyn if you hadn’t just been walking around DUMBO seconds before. It was a picture perfect place to take some photos of my back tie blouson dress by Lush and sandals by Michael Kors, but we were mostly really excited for the food to come.
The service inside was very fancy. You stay in a waiting area or can walk around a terrace area (also immaculately decorated in flowers) before the hostess walks you inside, where another set of hostesses awaits. You’re then taken to your table by the maître d'. In our case, we got a beautiful table right next to the window, and the views actually took my breath away. You could see right under the Manhattan bridge and had such a clear view of the Financial District skyline and you could also see all the way to the Statue of Liberty. I would pay just to see this view (as the people did in the tourist boats we watched pass by) but it was nice having spectacular food too. The menu was a prix fixe menu with a few options for the appetizer and main course. Even with a set menu, they were very accommodating with my gluten intolerance and were able to make all the dishes I chose gluten free with no extra charge - they even provided me with gluten free bread at the beginning, which was a nice touch especially with my choice of a first course.
I ordered the Foie Gras Duet and Duck Breast. Gerome ordered the Sea Scallop and Pork Belly and the Halibut. Before we were served our dishes, we were given an amuse-bouche from the chef that was a wonderful little squid dish - it definitely perked up my palate and got it excited for the meal. I also ordered a drink called a Hemingwayesque Daquiri, which was excellent (Gerome obviously opted for a scotch). When my foie gras arrived, I was in heaven. Foie gras is absolutely delicious and I love when it’s prepared two ways. The pressed terrine was firm but pliant and more of a meaty preparation of the foie gras. The parfait was rich, creamy, and extremely indulgent in its flavor - there was even a fleck of gold in the pot. I was actually really full after getting through the first course, but the duck breast arrived and I rallied. It was very tender and juicy and the lavender and spice crusted skin was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. They also prepared roasted vegetables for me since the sweet potato spaetzle paired with the duck would have had gluten, and they were somehow the best roasted veggies I’ve ever had. Gerome also thoroughly enjoyed his food. After the meal, we passed on dessert since we were both full (people who say you can't get full at fancy restaurants haven't eaten at enough fancy restaurants), but they sent a selection of miniature sugary treats from the chef anyway. I loved the mini macaron.
Overall, I really loved the experience. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten at a Michelin-starred restaurant before and this was a wonderful first time. The food was extremely delicious - I can still taste the buttery foie gras if I think back on the trip. The immaculate service was also lovely - it was almost an artful dance how the hostesses, the maître d’, and the servers worked together to make the meal as pleasant as possible. They even put a stool out for my handbag - I thought that was a nice touch as someone who struggles to find appropriate places to put my bag. For a birthday lunch in New York, the River Café was almost a bit much, but Gerome and I both appreciate fine dining so the experience was very lovely for the both of us. We had a long drive so it was nice to sit, enjoy the view, and have an excellently prepared meal to start off our weekend in New York. If you want to try going to the River Café for a fancy date night or special occassion, make sure to get a reservation well in advance and be wary of the dress code. They’re a bit more lenient at lunch, but jackets at dinnertime are definitely a must.
That’s it for our meal at The River Café! It was one of those amazing culinary experiences that you really cherish and feel lucky to have. I don’t really think I’m deserving of gold-flecked foie gras, but it really brightened my day to eat food fit for a princess and be treated like one too (by Gerome as well as the staff at the restaurant). The meal was romantic, indulgent, and framed by the best views of Manhattan you could ever dream of. Would you go to the River Café? Comment if you liked this post or have a New York food experience you want to share. You can visit the River Café's website here if you want to check out their different menus or make a reservation. If you want to follow me on social, I’m on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also get updated on when I post next if you follow me on Bloglovin’. Thanks for stopping by my blog - please come back soon!