Tom Colicchio – my hero. Beautiful restaurants. Great locations. Fantastic food. Great service. Riverpark is no exception. Well,two exceptions, this place has a GREAT view and participates in Restaurant Week. What a bonus!
Now, it is a little difficult to get here. It isn’t really near the subway or the bus. You can drive there, and for the moment, parking is free if you eat at Riverpark. The view is beautiful and on a clear day you can see up and down the East River.
Riverpark is tucked in an ultramodern office building. You walk through the lobby and through a door and you are just transported to a special place.
The decor in Riverpark is very similar to Colicchio & Sons – dark tables, lots of windows, white plates, big bar area. The host staff is super friendly – and remember repeat customers as if they come in every day.
The Restaurant Week menu had 6 selections each for the appetizer and main course. A little something for everyone. As we sat pouring over the menu, our waiter, Tom, brought us iced tea, bottomless? A basket approaches – we’re always excited by the basket – and tucked inside was Pretzel Bread. Warm, salty, dense, slightly crisp outside – hopefully a sign of things to come.
First came Iberico Pata Negra - literally translated to black hoofed ham. This particular strain of hog is found only in Spain, and has only become available in the U.S. in the last 5 or 6 years. This is a cured ham, not a smoked ham. It melts in your mouth. Very much like prosciutto, just a slightly different flavor. The Jamon was served with triangles of slightly charred, grilled bread – perfect accompaniment.
Our second starter was the Duck Liver Pate, also served with charred toast, and the most wonderful reduced, sticky, yummy cherry – hmmmmm - stuff! Almost like a a cherry preserve that was reduced and most of the liquid
sucked reduced out of it. It was perfect with the rich duck pate. There was a little rosemary and salt sprinkled on top of the pate. I know, I know, this is heart attack on a plate, but there’s just a little pate and it is absolutely exquisite.
Spoon had Fettucine with Pork Ragu. Smelled wonderful, tasted even better. Fresh fettucine perfectly cooked with a rich, meaty, deeply flavored pork ragu on top. Sprinkled over the ragu was fried rosemary. Perfect touch and flavor to go with the ragu.
Fork ordered the Fried Chicken Sandwich with pickled vegetables and garlic mayonnaise. Put the words fried chicken in any dish and Fork will eat it, can’t be helped, it’s an addiction. This was a very large plate of deliciousness. Very generous sized chicken breast, crispy crunchy fried to absolute perfection. Sitting on top of the chicken were great pickled vegetables, perfectly crispy and vinegar-y and spicy to boot. THe garlic mayonnaise was really perfect with this, added a kick to the whole sandwich. The only thing that kept this from being knocked out of the park was the roll. It wasn’t bad, it certainly wasn’t good, it was just EH. Served with the sandwich were my downfall in life potato chips. Really, I was only going to eat one, maybe two – HA! Also a lovely salad - to cut some of the richness and give one a modicum of healthiness.
Dessert! Most times very little thought is put into the dessert course in Restaurant Week menus – not so at Riverpark - actually not so at any Tom Colicchio restaurant.
Fork ordered the Beignet served with a kumquat compote and vanilla custard. Soft, pillowy clouds of fried dough. Tender, tender inside, slightly crisp outside, perfect. The kumquat compote was tart and sweet. Lovely on the beignet. THe vanilla custard was fabulous. If the little ramekin had been a little bit bigger Fork and Spoon would have jumped in. It was intoxicating.
Spoon ordered the Apple Crisp with dried cherries, cognac and creme anglaise. Wonderful crispy, buttery, sugary topping. You dive into apples and cherries and warm spices. Pour in a little creme anglaise and you have another winner. Perfect for a chilly winter day.
This was so worth the wait. This was so worth the trek to the edge of Manhattan. This will so be a place we come back to again and again!