today i ate: river city grill

River City Grill Irvington LogoAs I’ve noted previously the Hudson Valley has given birth to a large number of appealing eateries as of late. Particularly in the Lower Valley region where each town is hardly a mile large featuring a quaint main street section of town there’s a disproportionally large number of options to whet your palette and as we found this weekend, you can stop in just about anywhere for an enjoyable entre.

River City Grille was certainly no exception and the brunch was so good it inspired a return trip for lunch as well. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, unassumingly situated next to an auto repair shop and across from a computer parking lot and if you did happen to notice it there and enter the interior is fairly non-descript with a faux-upscale aura.

Looks aside, since you should never judge a book by its cover, the resulting experience was beyond pleasant. Our servers were fairly chipper and extremely informative (even the one that was her first day on the job) and the food…

Homemade Bread Basket: assortment of house made seasonal breads and muffins: corn muffin, locally harvested apple muffin, lemon-raspberry muffin; pumpkin bread, asiago cheese bread, 12-grain bread; assorted butters

The basket was good enough we ended up needing seconds and were mere steps away from ordering thirds to take with us as snacks for the day

Chick Pea Bites: Lightly breaded and fried house made chick pea puree; smoked paprika aeoli

Sublime. Although, I can see how one might be possibly put off by the internal texture, the overall experience and balance of spices and just everything about the concept of it resonated with me.

Korean BBQ Beef Tacos, jasmine rice, sesame vegetables, chili paste served in Boston bib lettuce cups

This is a lunch to die for. The beef strips are tender and exquisitely grilled off post marinade, the rice is sweet, the vegetables crispy and flavorful and the chili past added just the right amount of heat in the undertone all packed in fantastic little cribs of lettuce. Just the right amount of food served with perfect presentation.

Local Caught House Smoked Trout Salad, chopped boston bib lettuce, locally cured bacon, red onion, lemon horseradish dressing

Holy crap. That’s smoke on smoke with the trout and bacon and, yes, it was as sublime as you’d anticipate. The trout was beyond flaky, delicious perfection and the dressing added just the right citrus and heat to envelope the meal without overtaking any part of it so you are left with this depth of flavors and complimenting textures throughout. And, let it be know, this was my breakfast!

There were a couple of other menu items my wife tasted that I can’t comment on but she seemed to adore and the people sitting next to us spent part of the meal commenting in awe of what they had so you can take my small sampling as being fairly representative of the experience. The menu is considered seasonal and in other reviews I saw referenced a number of dishes not currently available which is enticing from a repeat customer point of view because the selection is so dynamic.

Since we already touched the bacon portion, it’s on to the bourbon (and other booze)

The didn’t have fun names for their drinks, just straight forward description, such as:

Bourbon, Red Wine, Grenadine, Lemon Simple Syrup

If I would have never had Sangria with whiskey as a kicker or put Kentucky Rye and Shiraz together on my own at home I would have been more shocked by this combination, but I wasn’t and for that I was pleasantly surprised at its inclusion and mostly, I would say, the did it right. It’s not overpowering on either the wine or the bourbon, although I might have made different selections for each than the mid-shelf they used for each.

Speaking of sangria, the other drink of note was their pomegranate sangria for brunch. Woah. That’s a morning drink if you ever experienced one.


About thedoormouse

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