NYC Restaurant Week: Riverpark
NYC Restaurant Week kicked off this Monday where diners can enjoy a 3-course lunch for $29 or a dinner for $42 at select fine dining restaurants across the city. Long before I came to live in NYC, I had been an avid watcher of the TV show 'Top Chef'. One of the judges on that show is Tom Colicchio, who owns Riverpark as well as Craft and Craftbar & several others in the city. Riverpark is situated right by the East River, so a beautiful evening view while eating your meal is an added bonus. The restaurant itself is chic yet still inviting, with leather and pin-lighting throughout. I found it to be very comfortable: both with the seating and noise level. Tables are spaced well-enough apart that you can hold a conversation without having to raise your voice. The staff were very welcoming and helpful. There's nothing more I detest than to go to an upscale restaurant and have rude or snobby service. Thankfully, you won't find that at Riverpark.
One thing that sets Riverpark apart from other restaurants is its urban farm, which is just feet away from the kitchen. Sourcing its produce directly from the garden, Riverpark's menu also highlights seasonal ingredients from local farms & Greenmarkets. Therefore, the menu changes with the seasons and is always fresh.
My friend and I started off our evening with a cocktail called Mrs White (all the cocktails are named after characters from the board game, Cluedo). This was a very tasty start to the night. With El Dorado 3 year rum, coconut, vanilla syrup, nocino walnut liqueur & Mexican bitters, I almost felt like I was having my dessert before my dinner. Not a bad thing!
For my first course, I got the MapleBrook Farm Burratini, with granny smith apples, croutons, honey almonds & anise hyssop. I could not have been happier with this dish: I am a huge cheese fan, and this was right on the money. It was a beautiful medley of textures and flavors. The tartness of the apples, along with the 2 ounce creamy burratini ball made for a wonderful appetizer. Sourced from MapleBrook Farm in Vermont, this cheese has a luscious creamy center, comprised of cream and strands of mozzarella which give it a distinct flavor.
For my main course, I got the Maple Glazed Duck Breast (main photo above) with sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, hen of the woods mushrooms and pecans. This dish really has it all. The duck was tender and cooked to medium, and I especially loved the maple glaze and the crunch of the candied pecans.
For dessert I went with Cereal & Milk, at the waiter's recommendation. Now this is a special and interactive dessert! On the bottom sits a chocolate ganache cake, similar to a brownie. Caramelized rice puffs surround the cake, which is topped with a chocolate ball adorned with a gold leaf and filled with vanilla malt cream. To get the 'milk' for your rice puffs, you must tap on the chocolate shell with your spoon to crack it open. Once you break through that gorgeous dark chocolate, your dessert is complete; enveloped in a dreamy pool of vanilla malt cream. Total indulgence. This has to be one of the best desserts I've ever had the pleasure of eating. Please visit my Instagram feed to view the video.
I will definitely be returning to Riverpark again when the occasion strikes, and I strongly suggest you do too, for a truly amazing meal.
Riverpark: 450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016