Riverpark: Farm in the city to table with a view

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Dear Food Diary:
When Riverpark first opened, I gathered my chicas and went for dinner. The space is a little hard to find, add to that a stormy night and it almost seemed impossible. The gps on my phone wasn’t showing it correctly and the cabby suggesting crossing the East River!!! We somehow found our way into the restaurant, tucked inside a spacious window covered building. Dinner was good but it didn’t blow us away… however…

Fast forward to a contrasting sunny day, month later… Glorious blue and white sky. A quiet view of the East River, relaxing and pleasantly chill. An amazing Brunch, plus a sneak peak at their innovative farm in the city. Naturally it moved up to be one of my new favorite brunch places in the city.

CITY FARM
now that spring is here, I can’t wait to eat what has sprung
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THE RESTAURANT & FOOD
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Spacious is what best describes walking into Riverpark. Comfortable seating where you can just relax and go “ahhh”. Naturally lit on a bright sunny day. Start with the rich aroma of a nice cup of coffee… weekends like this always bring a smile to my face. The East River view might not be poetically impressive, but it’s peaceful and charming in a quiet way.
riverpark-2I love the attention to little details. While you check-in with the hostess, you’ll find these beautifully packed seeds to take home.

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Mark Twain was said “When one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat”.
Just when you think, mother nature has done its best, their FRESH WATERMELON challenges that thought in the best way possible with lime, sea salt and Espelette (chili pepper that’s is cultivated in the French commune of Espelette). A burst of refreshing tongue pleasing flavors. Bright citrus, sweet, savory and a smokey dash of spice in a gentle manner that enhances it.

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GRILLED BREAD & AVOCADO is simply delicious. Charred bread, oh so buttery. Fresh avocado with extra virgin olive and sea salt. There’s no need to complicate good ingredients.

MY FAVORITE ENTREE :
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Their version of BLT BREAKFAST SANDWICH has all the things I love in one dish, as if they had read my mind. Pork belly, friend egg, gruyere, fried green tomato, arugula salad on perfectly toasted buttery bun.
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How sexy is that egg, waiting to be broken over that fine piece of crispy, maple glazed fatty belly? This is what food porn is made of. Along side there’s that crispy, sweet and tangy fried green tomato and a hint of peppery green. Yummmmm.

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It is always promising when beautiful shrimp is served with the head intact. The SHRIMP & GRITS not only has that, but a also tender pulled pork, charred tomatoes and gruyere. Umami from the broth covers over the creamy and cheesy grits. A bit charred with brightness from the scallions. Naturally sweet shrimp and the pleasure of sucking all the goodie from the head. My only complaint is how small the portion is.

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BISCUITS & GRAVY has a berkshire pork sausage and sage, but somehow it tasted a bit bland. Nothing really stood out, I’ve definitely had better biscuits elsewhere, these were on the dry side.

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FRIED CHICKEN BISCUIT SLIDERS. The same dry biscuits held the fried chicken along with white cheddar, peppery honey on the side and pickles. It wasn’t bad, but the fried chicken wasn’t finger lickin’ good. I liked the colorful pickles best.

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CINNAMON DOUGHNUTS with dark chocolate dipping. How can you go wrong with sweet fried dough + chocolate!

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The usual suspects, spending our precious weekend with good food and even better company.

P.S. Chubby’s Rating:chubby rating 4

www.riverparknyc.com
450 E 29th St
212.729.9790
Riverpark on Urbanspoon

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In case you are curious about how dinner was… here’s a  look back at my first visit…

DINNER at Riverpark when they first opened was interesting. The appetizers were more appealing to us so we each ordered 2 instead. I had a BURNT PASTA dish that was quite unique and good. The DUCK PATE was quite memorable, there was an 1/4 inch layer of fat on top, which duty was to keep the bottom moist but itself delivered a punch of flavor.

At night, it is quite romantic even thought it’s dark outside. Since my first visit, their menu has changed, but I haven’t had the urge to return. For some reason, I prefer making this place my pretend “away from the hustle and bustle” brunch option.