450 East 29th Street
New York, NY  10016
Riverpark on Urbanspoon

Nothing like a good pre-game spot to get your night and your palette going.  We decided to walk around a bit before our scheduled dinner at Blue Smoke (next post!) and decided to have a drink and maybe a bite to eat at Riverpark.  The restaurant is located in the Alexandria Center for Life Science which is a beautiful new building built by New York City that is intended to provide a life science "park" in order to faster cultivate cutting edge research.  The building is sleek, modern and the restaurant space reflects that in that classic Colicchio way.  The other unique aspect of Riverpark is that attached to the building is a garden specifically made to provide fresh produce for the restaurant.  The Riverpark Farm is a much needed green space in the middle of concrete and matches the modern building beside it.

The one drawback about the space may be the location.  It is adjacent to  Bellevue which makes strolling up to it a little creepy and it's also right on the water, which is a fantastic view, but a little bit of a hike from the more trafficked areas of the city. While this may seem a little inconvenient at first and, granted, this is a small sample size; the food & service more than made up for it. We only ordered 2 dishes and a couple of drinks but everything was spot on enough to make me doubt our dinner plans. I started off with a cocktail called the roots which is beet infused vodka with ginger, citrus & a basil leaf on top. I had thought it was beer infused vodka instead of beet (and I'm not sure that was really better) so decided to try it. The drink was surprisingly tangy and savory with the beet flavor coming through but not enough to obscure the tones of ginger & citrus. There was almost a richness in it that I typically associate with Bloody Mary's but the citrus provided a lighter edge.

The spicy almonds, while nice, seemed to probably need a bit more kick but they were paired with smoked olives which seems like a simple concept but the smoky flavor combined with the natural pickling of the olives made them so much more earthy and flavorful than one would expect from olives. The kalamata's included in the offering were especially packed with flavor and made you re-think what snack food should be. We finished our little bite with the oyster tacos. The oysters where rather substantial and deep fried with a light crispy coating. Accompanying them in the soft flour tortilla were some pickled onions, green tomatoes, cilantro; and sliced jalapenos & radishes on the side. The first thing I would advise to make sure you include the jalapenos in the taco which was the right amount of heat to accompany the rich sweetness of the oyster, onions, etc... I had never had an oyster taco before that one and now I just might have to hold them to a higher standard.


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