It probably comes as a surprise that I love food. Everytime I visit NYC I feel like I’m cheating on my faithful boyfriend, Italian cuisine. My restaurant wish list is made before I hit the ground and it rarely includes Cucina Italiana. I hit my regulars…Momofuku noodle bar for my pork bun fix, Sobaya for unrivaled seaweed salad and fresh noodles and Nha Trang for shrimp in little pepper and salt. And then I need to venture out to some new spots. The chosen one of this trip was Riverpark.
Riverpark is located on a garden plaza in Kips Bay overlooking the East River. The space has floor-to-ceiling windows dripping with burnished bronze, weathered oak and brushed limestone. The interior feels immense but intimate at the same time.
The well-balanced menu created by Sisha Ortúzar is modern american with an international flair reflected in each chapter from “raw bar” to “second course”. The standout dishes from the first course are mackerel escabeche, squab mole and sweet potato ravioli. The alluring fish starter is laid over a crisp paella pancake chock full of seafood and topped with strips of intense Iberico Pata Negra ham. The nutty rendition of squab mole over grits melts in your mouth leaving you wanting more. Don’t miss the handmade ravioli; the combination of blood oranges, hazelnuts and tarragon is bright and luscious, the consistency rich and indulgent.
The array of second courses is vast. The day boat scallops, with hen of the woods mushrooms, pears, kale chutney and butternut squash is exceptional. The sweetness of the squash and pears dancing with the earthy nightshades and greens is impeccable. The Berkshire pork chop accompanied by brussel sprouts, apple hash, and parsnip puree is hearty and delicious. The entrée that hits home is roasted beef sirloin, served over heirloom beans alongside crispy brisket topped with smokey red and green peppers, evoking a bowl of deconstructed chili.
Save room for dessert, cinnamon panna cotta layered over pumpkin spice cake with pumpkin seed brittle and rosemary ice cream is velvety, delicate and sublime.
I can’t wait to see what dishes Ortúzar cooks up this summer when I can grab a table outside overlooking the East River, kick back and enjoy…