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“The View Makes It”
Review of The River Cafe

The River Cafe
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Ranked #3 of 5,459 Restaurants in Brooklyn
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $100
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Old Fulton St.
Transit: A or C train to High Street/Brooklyn Bridge; 2 or 3 train to Clark Street; F train to York St.; Bus #41 to Old Fulton St./Cadman Plaza West
Description: The River Cafe is open for Dinner service every day of the year. Dinner service begins at 5:30 Lunch is served on Saturday from 11:30 AM until 2:30 PM Brunch is served on Sunday from 11:30 AM until 2:30 PM
Reviewed July 9, 2012

The food here was very good on our recent visit. Not the best we'd ever had, but very good. The service was great. But make no mistake about it, the view across the East River to Manhattan makes the River Cafe experience.
We were recommended the River Cafe by a local friend who had been there a couple of times. She said two things: call and reserve a table in advance and get the Brooklyn Bridge dessert. We did both.
Upon reserving our table online - as mentioned in another review - there was no mention of a jacket required. Before leaving, at my wife's insistance, we called to ask if a jacket was required. Low and behold, it was required on Friday nights, which is when our reservation was booked. Glad we called and asked, but we wouldn't have otherwise known. Also - it would have been helpful if the website maybe had some options of how to get to their place. There are ferries that dock within a few feet of River Cafe, but depending on where you start on the Manhattan side, the ferry can cost $26 or $5 depending on the pier you leave from. Wouldn't a restaurant expecting people from out of town have the foresight to include that klind of helpful info on their site? Maybe it's too obvious for me since I was the out-of-towner.
We flew into NYC on a Thursday and had dinner somewhere in the city and got a call from the River Cafe reminding us of our dinner reservation the next night - and informing us that men are required to wear jackets on Friday nights. Oh - now you tell us? Glad I called ahead and had a jacket packed.
It's the wrong way to treat a guest before he ever reaches the front door.
However, the experience at River Cafe only went uphill from there. The staff was very friendly and seemed to go out of their way to be friendly. Then again, because of the sticky reservation process, we could only reserve 6:00, fairly early on the dinner side, so were were one of the first guests of the evening. Being that early, we did get a window seat, which was a bonus.
The food, again, was really, really good. It was not the best thing we'd ever eaten, but was commendable and will get a solid four stars (circles?) on my review here. Actually, the best part of our meal was the appetizers. We had an all-inclusive meal for a flat fee of $100 that included an appetizer, entree and dessert. Both our appetizers rocked and were an incredible start. My wife had a lobster ravioli and shrimp dish that was not on the menu, something of a special of the day, and knocked our socks off. I had the River Cafe oysters with hollandaise and bacon and about fell out of my chair. For entrees I had the New York Strip and my wife the salmon. Good, but nothing to rave about. Actually ... not just good, it was really good. No disappointment. For dessert I got the recommended Brooklyn Bridge chocolate dessert. The fudge and seltzer drink is a bad idea they could do without. The crafted chocolate bridge and chocolatey mousse was really good. Not the best dessert I'd had in my life, or even in the month, but it was really, really outstanding.
What's so wrong with really, really outstanding and very good? I'm surprised at the bad reviews this place got because everthing wasn't the best thing anyone had ever put in their mouths. What's so wrong with having a really great meal and a great view? We found nothing wrong with the experience and lots of things right.
We will pass the torch and recommend this place to the next person we know going to the city - offering some pointers about the dress code on Fridays and how to get there, since the restaurant itself won't do so.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
2  Thank Fletch32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,589 - 1,593 of 3,146 reviews

Reviewed July 9, 2012

A great place to have lunch or dinner with a magnificent view of the river. The food is expensive (go for lunch or desert) but beautifully presented. Service is slow so don't plan to rush in and out, but thats the beauty of the place.

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1  Thank Daniel C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2012

The view is lovely. It is a romantic place or a party place to me. the service was also excellent. However, I was disappointed in the food. My tuna appetizer was good and my companion's was also very good, but there seems to be a bit of a hit and miss on some of the food. I had a lobster special and the lobster claw was tasteless and the tail was tough (overcooked?). It came with a tomoato sauce which was great for the pasta side, but overwhelmed the lobster. My companion's food was a bit fishy tasting. We took a suggestion from the sommelier for a wine and it was our third favorite of three on this trip.

The service was outstanding and the view was hard to beat. I would probably stick with meat dishes or vegetarian dishes.

The deserts were, however, great. I ordered the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoyed it. It is an expereince everybody should have once and it was good. My companion had the flight of madeiras which which were excellently paired with small desserts and was an excellent presentation.

1  Thank sandra s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2012

We were given a window table which makes all the difference. The service was outstanding, combining attentiveness with a smile. The food was outstanding. The foi gras was one of the best I have tasted around the world and the apple tart for desert was up there with the best, although my daughter would argue the souffle was the best. For a fixed price of $100 I actually thought that this represented good value, which goes to show how good the overall package is. Highly recommended.

1  Thank PeterB29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2012

Went to River Cafe' for a romantic dinner and we were seated by the window. The view is nice, but you can get the very same view by sitting on a bench in the adjacent park. The dinner ($100 per person fixed price) included appetizer, entree' and dessert, but both I and my friend left feeling hungry. The food was just so-so-- the best thing I ate was the small chocolate cake dessert. I also experienced a snobby wait staff--and when it came time to pay for the bill they came back to my table and said that it would be just a few minutes since the manager had to call and "verify" my credit card. Ridiculous! I would have felt ripped off if I had paid half of the price. If you have a few hundred dollars to throw away and just want to experience a very fancy place, you might want to give it a try. Otherwise, Brooklyn has far better places with much better food and staff.

    • Value
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    • Food
2  Thank EconMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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