Food, Places I've Been, Travel

Dinner at Michelin-starred River Café in Brooklyn

May 13, 2016
River Café in Brooklyn, New York

When planning my trip to New York, I really wanted to visit the restaurant that Meg Ryan has dinner in in Sleepless in Seattle. I found out it was the Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center and booked a table only to find it was a special occasion that cost way more than I was willing to give for a dinner without wine. So I researched some more and found that River Café in Brooklyn was a good alternative, with an even better view. Of course, I booked a table right away.

We arrived a bit late, but our table wasn’t ready so we grabbed a drink in the bar, right after we had picked our chins off the floor. We had hurried through the Dumbo area of Brooklyn from the subway and when we finally found the place we were astonished by not only the view but the atmosphere outside of the restaurant. I mean, take a look at the picture above as well as this one and tell me you’re not impressed:

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River Café in the front with the Manhattan skyline in the back

We had the most amazing view from the restaurant over the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Our amise bouche arrived, which was octopus, so we politely asked for a vegetarian version and the friendly server soon arrived with a cold asparagus soup. They don’t have an a la carte menu, as we had first thought,  but a three course menu where you get to choose your meals from a menu.

For starters, I ordered the handmade ricotta gnocchi with asparagus spears, grilled wild ramps, salsify purée and crispy guanciale. No, I have no idea what the last two are but it was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life – it was that good. Jacob ordered the beet salad with goat cheese and was also impressed – although not as impressed as I was with my meal. I wanted to order it again for the main course, but instead chose the only vegetarian thing on the menu: the mushroom wellington which was a vegetarian take on the beef wellington and it was served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Of course, I was again delighted! How could something so simple taste so good? Jacob, who rarely eats meat, ordered the duck breast and he said it was the best damn piece of meat he’d ever had.

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Jacob’s beet salad

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Vegetarian choice: Mushroom Wellington, with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

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The best damn duck in the world, according to Jacob.

As we sat in our little corner overlooking the rest of the room and the big windows with the spectacular view, the servers catered to our every need, never letting our wine or water glasses get even remotely empty.

After a little rest & digest, we ordered our desserts: Jacob ordered the Chocolate Brooklyn Bridge with raspberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream and meringue while I ordered a milk chocolate soufflé (without the marshmallow as it’s not vegetarian) with hot fudge and Tahitan vanilla bean ice milk. As you can tell by that description alone, we weren’t disappointed. As we were about to devour our desserts, the server came up and said it was about time we moved up to the first row of tables for a n even better view of night-time Manhattan. We happily agreed.

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The chocolate Brooklyn Bridge…yum!

Everything about this restaurant was pure perfection and it was only when we were about to leave that I saw that it has indeed been rewarded a Michelin-star not once, but twice. I wasn’t surprised at all, as it genuinly was a an excellent restaurant with delicious, yet unpretentious food, an impressive wine and cocktail list, and impeccable service.

As we sat in the cab heading back to Manhattan, impressed beyond or expectations, we did feel a bit guilty having spent so much money on food and drinks – but considering it was a night we’ll always remember, we decided it was 100 percent worth it.

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