The River Cafe

November 1, 2009

1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 522-5200

Every so often we have a dining experience that could not be replicated anywhere else in the world. Brennan’s in New Orleans is one of these places…and The River Cafe is another.

River Cafe Front

From the minute that your car pulls up to the location, you know this is going to be special. The trees are filled with lights and, together with the flowers, create a scene that transports you.  We visited The River Cafe on a Saturday night and, after D received a ‘loaned’ Jacket, we were seated. We were given the choice of sitting side by side so we could enjoy the view or in a regular table that would be close to the window. We chose the option with the view…can you see the view in the photo? It is not to be missed!

river cafe 1

River Cafe 3

The atmosphere is welcoming with a touch of formal. By this I mean there are almost as many servers as guests, but they don’t seem stuffy. This also could have to do with the fact that we visited on Halloween and a table of six “witches” in costume were seated next to us, and the staff really seemed to have fun with it.

The menu is pre fixe ($98 per person) and includes a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert. To start, D selected the Pear Salad, “warm roasted anjou pear, curly frisée and arugula, smokey bacon, goat cheese fondue, cider vinaigrette”. I was concerned that he would not like the frisée, but he raved about the entire salad. I selected the special appetizer which consisted of house made ravoli stuffed with buffalo mozzerella on top of crisp fried mushrooms, and topped at tableside with shaved truffles (this was $20 extra). It was decadent. The combination of flavors made me wish there were more than five, but how could I know there was so much more flavor to come?

For the main course, D selected Alaskan Halibut, “light almond crust, Catalonian Romesco sauce,
sweet Spring onion puree, stuffed baby eggplant”. Again,  this was a unique and one of a kind entree. The perfectly cooked halibut was highlighted with the sauces. I, again, went with the special which was whole main lobster poached and removed from the shell. It was perfectly cooked and complimented by a sauce that included diced fruit. I don’t know what fruit, but I know it was fabulous!

Finally, when we thought things could not possibly get any better…dessert! I selected the Chocolate Sticky Toffee Cake “pistachio ice cream sandwiched between dark chocolate cookies, butterscotch sauce, Ronnybrook Farm whipped cream”. Between the ice cream sandwich and the cake, I couldn’t even decide what to eat first. The ice cream was lightly flavored wit coarse ground pistachios and highlighted with light chocolate wafers. The cake was a warm and chocolate and smothered in toffee sauce..did I taste bourbon in the sauce?  D selected the Chocolate Marquise Brooklyn Bridge, “handmade chocolate with a terrine of toasted hazelnut and Tahitian vanilla ice cream”. The ice cream was so smooth and light that is seemed like a mousse. The presentation was irresistible.


We were thrilled with our meal and the evening when they brought the finale- a plate of delicious treats. These included house made chocolates and cookies. I didn’t think we could eat another bite…but we did!

The River Cafe combines outstanding food and a unique setting to make it one of our top picks of all time!

5rating5 overall