Restaurant Week Lunch at Riverpark

I woke up bright and early Thursday morning to find an enormous blanket of snow outside and all city schools closed. Since my work closes when schools close- I had a snow day! To be honest I was pretty angry at first- I have a ton of stuff going on right now and really wanted to get it finished. However it was out of my hands- fate had another plan for me that day and once I remembered it was Restaurant Week, my anger diminished completely.

I started my day with a nice walk through Madison Square Park that was looking absolutely beautiful from the storm. I love when snow covers the city. Everything turns so quiet and lovely. I contemplated making a snow man but decided I wasn’t quite dressed for such a task and walked over to Eataly instead.

Walking inside Eataly was a totally different experience since the snowfall as well. Instead of the lively hustle and bustle that usually greets me, I entered a clam, warming sanctuary. There were maybe 5 people inside the whole place and everyone was quietly sipping espresso and gazing at the scene outside. It was the most relaxing moment I’ve ever experienced there thus far.

After some serious shopping at the Limelight Marketplace and down 5th avenue I made my way over to the East Side and popped in for a beer at Waterfront Ale House. Here’s where I met up with my teacher friend Sean who was looking to enjoy our snow day off as well. We had a quick beer and then walked over to our RW reservation at Riverpark.

Riverpark is Tom Colicchio’s newest restaurant located in a work plaza space on the East River. The layout is definitely strange. The restaurant is inside an office building where the bathrooms aren't really even connected to the space. It felt a little sterile but luckily the restaurant itself was quite beautiful. Big glass windows surround the outside giving long views of the river which will be gorgeous in the summer months. We got seated right at the corner table and I have to say we had the best view in the house.

I started out with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc and Sean had a Founders IPA. I have to say the drink list was quite refreshing. All of the wines by the glass were reasonably priced and the draft beer list, while small, had a lot of good finds all for $5. I was also impressed by their RW menu. There were about 7 choices for both appetizer and entrée and everything looked tasty. I was torn between the Burger and the Lamb while Sean was torn between the Fried Chicken sandwich and the Skate. Decisions, Decisions!

They started each of us with a toasty warm mini baguette that had a welcome sprinkling of salt on top and even more little crystals on the butter. I actually loved this piece of bread. It was had a terrific crust and the butter was room temperature which made spreading a breeze.

For my appetizer I went for one of my favorites the Cesar Salad.

This was a winner! The romaine leaves were nicely tossed in a super creamy dressing and cut with some enormous chunks of parmesan cheese and white anchovies. The thing I loved the most about this salad were the crouton crumbles. I’ve never liked croutons, something about the big crunchy bites bother me, but here I finally fell in love. There were no coarse squares, just crumbled up bread. They just gave the salad a little more depth and really livened up the dish. This was the best Cesar Salad I’ve had in years! I liked it so much that I took some home in a doggie bag. Ridiculous for an appetizer, I know but it was awesome later!

Sean went for the Butternut Squash- Apple Soup. I didn’t try any but he polished the bowl clean and it looked very pretty with its deep hues of orange and red. For my main course I ordered the Grilled leg of Lamb with yogurt, smoked chickpea, cucumber-olive salad.

My lamb was wonderfully cooked. I’ve been disappointed many times by an overcooked leg but this was spot on. The yogurt and chickpea salad gave it a very Middle Eastern flair with a nice spicy kick from the sauce underneath.

Sean ordered the Skate for his entrée. I thought it was tasty but it could have had a little more seasoning. The skate also lacked any crispness to the edges which I love. I think a little more char and some brown butter sauce could have elevated this dish to another level.

Onto dessert! Molten Chocolate Cake with salted caramel, espresso ice cream. Good lord this dish was fabulous! I’ve been done with the Molten Cakes for a while now but the salted caramel oozing out of this warm fudgy cake was intense! It reminded me of the Chocolate Cake from Daniel that blew me away. Each component just worked perfect. Chocolate, caramel, espresso and a fantastic peanut brittle like square- this dish was worth every single calorie.

Sean had the Beignets which came out looking fabulous. Light, fluffy with just a dusting of sugar, I thought these were pretty good albeit a little boring.

They came with a side of vanilla custard and some sort of fruit compote but neither sauce really brought anything to the dish. It wasn’t a bad dessert by any means but it could have been better.

Overall Sean and I truly enjoyed our meal at Riverpark. I believe if we had ordered the cheeseburger and fried chicken sandwich we had been oogling we would have liked it even more but it was a fantastic meal. In the end with two drinks each and espresso the bill was about $80. Not too bad for a fancy lunch!

I actually had been promised free Prosecco’s and dessert because they had cancelled a previous reservation on me but they never came. I wonder if the snow day made things a little crazy there. Oh well we had a fabulous meal as it was and a free day off of work as well! Can’t complain about that!