Ok, enough about the dining area, let's talk about the food!
The River Café offers a price-fixed menu. After bringing you a small apéritif of a truffle chicken salad, you're given the menu and instructions to choose one appetizer and one entrée. They also offered appetizer and entrée specials, and afterwards you given given a choice of desserts.
We started out well, each ordering a different appetizer.
yellowfin tuna, which was seared with a foie gras stuffing and served with a black truffle vinaigrette. There seemed to be an awful lot of foie gras on the appetizer menu (three different dishes by my count), but this one was the only one any of us had. The combination of flavors was really exceptional, and I highly recommend it.
tartare, and his won our award for "Best Appetizer." it's quite a production, as you can see. The waiter will gleefully turn the dish in to an incredible mix of flavors, right at the table. It was very rich, so I'd recommend pairing it with a lighter entrée, which my father did.
Branzino Fillet (Mediterranean sea bass, chorizo and shrimp "stuffing", smoked tomato petals, petit zucchini, and a charred lemon confit), and the special, which was a lobster tail served inside a hollowed-out pumpkin with sauteed cabbage and a kind of pumpkin mousse. I'm really not doing it justice with the description, so just check out the picture. While I somewhat regret the fact that we only had two different entrées between the four of us, I don't think any of us would have traded what we ordered for anything else - both dishes were that good.
For dessert we went back to a variety, since we knew everyone would be trying everyone else's. Everything was great, but I think my goat cheese cheesecake carried the day. The Chocolate Marquis Brooklyn Bridge certainly took home the award for "Most Striking Presentation," arriving with an actual chocolate bridge decorating the plate.
The River Cafe ended up being one of those dining experiences that I'll always remember. It really is something special, and while it's expensive, it's worth going to at least once.
The River Café
1 Water Street