Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Hidden between 1st Avenue and the FDR on a hospital-filled stretch is a secret I can just about bring myself to share with you. Part of Tom Colicchio's restaurant empire ('Wichcraft sandwiches in the Lincoln Center atrium, anyone?), Riverpark looks out on the East River at the end of an elegant stone-paved street. It's housed within a glass office building, abutting a farm patch that grows vegetables for the restaurant on a long-stalled construction site. Entering the vestibule with my parents, I feel like a millionaire--it seems like all the hostesses and waiters know them, make excited conversation, eagerly bring us our menus as we settle in beneath the tiny ceiling lights like stars.

Riverpark has a main menu that reminds me of my neighborhood class act The Farm on Adderley, full of chicken and pork and fish and steak with seasonal veggie accompaniments. It also boasts an exciting cocktail menu and a separate bar menu of food. Someone, and I won't name any names, perfidiously informed me that the bar menu items are small and so I should order an appetizer; I chose a consommé salad, a delicate bed of greens over which the waiter poured a dark fragrant mushroom broth. The bread rolls were crisp, warm, and delicious, especially with a dab of butter. In honor of C.-- I ordered Riverpark's take on a Manhattan, the (West of), studded with apple brandy and cocoa and chile bitters. Waiting for the main course to unfold, we chatted with my parents' many fans (my mom suspects they have mistaken her for a princess) and took in the dark but still commanding view of the Long Island City skyline.

And then the main course arrived--what I'm told were delicious burgers, with certainly delicious fries; and my own perfect fried chicken and biscuits. The chicken was moist and its fried covering perfectly seasoned and flavorful; the biscuits fluffy and perfect with a coating of fresh butter and honey enhanced by black pepper flecks. A messy and even more fulfilling option was to join their forces, open-faced sandwich style; I was glad of my napkins.

More bread was offered; alas, I had to decline. I could barely finish my plate, even after giving one of the three chicken pieces and a smattering of biscuit to my parents; but I somehow found the strength to soldier on. Dishes cleared, a waiter proffered the dessert menu--sounded divine, but I couldn't possib--and they brought out the
pièce de résistance, three free desserts for us to share. My father didn't lie; the vanilla cream for the beignets was probably the airiest, tastiest part of the ensemble. The lemon steamed pudding with blueberry ice cream was tart and delicate. A couple of tiny homemade oreos on the side of the pot de crème didn't hurt either.

I left so full of food and thanks I swore I would never eat again. Those who raised me expressed their doubts, however.


  1. Don't worry; thanks to this entry I will now eat in your stead.

  2. I'm glad my food will go to a good home :P

  3. Let me just use this comment to express my doubts as well. 'Specially since I've seen you eat since then. :P

  4. Took your advice and went yesterday with J. It was delicious, had empanadas to start and both ordered the fried chicken. Absolutely delicious. Service was fanastic too. We weren't mistaken for royalty (though you/your parents probably seriously were b/c it was week of UNGA... could have been king/queen/princess family) so no free desserts but can't wait to go back. Service was wonderful.