River City Grille in Irvington: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011

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by Chuck Dorris, edining.us

My tasting notes read as follows… “Fries, great, chipoltle mayo fab.”

rivergrille_chickpea_fries

River City Grille Chickpea Fries

“Popcorn shrimp wow.”

River City Grille with Popcorn Shrimp

“Caesar Salad nice … Crisp crunchy.”

“Soup is great pumpkiny, sharp flavored.”

“Butternut best I ever had.”

Waitstaff…Tracy .. expert Enthusiastic, waitperson extraordinaire.

Tracy, our server from River City Grille

Tracy, waitperson extraordinaire

“Pork, sensational, could use more jus.”

Pork Tenderloin at River City Grille

Pork Tenderloin at River City Grille

“Salmon flavors distinct.”

Grilled Salmon from River City Grille

Grilled Salmon from River City Grille

“Flank really good straight ahead with a twist Dijon mustard perfectly cooked greens.”

Grilled Flank Steak, Carmelized Onion & Dijon whipped Potatoes, haricot Vert and natural jus

“Scallops . Very sea- ish”

At this point, after a bottle of Finger Lake Reisling and an Israeli Chardonnay, the notes mysteriously cease.  By that time, Margery, my intrepid spouse of earlier reviews (an accomplished cook and world traveler, and jam pioneer), our friends Liz and Bruce (both producers at NBC and residents of Irvington who’d never been to River City) and I were far into deep conversations about digital photography, horses, wine, restaurant week and what a sensational time we were having.

River City, we all agreed, in was in a most unlikely spot, a former diner sharing a parking lot with a tire repair garage,  but had totally transcended the location to become a MUST TRY destination. It was Friday night, we had reservations and it was a good thing, because spouse and I arrived at 7:34 for  a 7:30 and the place was completely full, the only two empty seats were ours, with Liz and Dave already comfortably seated in the back room. We had to go through the fully packet front of house and it really was like walking into a party, but instead of everybody staring  daggers at outsider newbies, everybody smiled at the latecomers and the whole place was happily abuzz with good food and wine. Very happy place.

Service was sensational. As the notes indicate, Tracy is a very expert hostess, she seemed way too young to be serving such ancient, habit-bound idiots (us), but she was remarkably flexible, given the rigidity of our arteries and preferences. At some point we had four people serving us, including the owner, who brought the order of pork the table, with no fanfare or  eating-stopping introuctions..

Liz had the best quote of the night, referring to my beautifully stacked chickpea fries…”they don’t want it to look like a blue plate special, they want it to be delicate and artful.” Fair enough. No chance of blue plate-ness, though, they were totally original.

This all sounds uncritical to the point of suspicious, but every dish we ordered was perfectly prepared, expertly plated and quite generous in its proportions. Flavor profiles were all well developed and we left satisfied, each of us is looking forward to coming back and eating our way through the rest of the menu!

PS. desserts were great.

Molten chocolate Cake

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Bread Pudding

Thanks to River City Grille and their kind staff,  we know we had too much fun, but it was really, really GOOD!

The 411 on River City Grille.

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