2014-09-17 / Restaurant of the Week

Riverview Restaurant and Lounge

Riverview Restaurant and Lounge was a pioneer on the burgeoning Long Island City waterfront when it first opened in 2005. Its prime location, just across from the beautiful Gantry State Park, offers breathtaking views of Manhattan that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Owner Tony Raouf maintains his “anchor” restaurant in this vibrant, sky-scraping community, just one subway stop from Grand Central Station.

If you can pull yourself away from the view outside (good luck), you’ll find Riverview’s bar, lounge and restaurant impeccably decorated with lovely artwork, rich banquettes wrapped in sheer curtains for a romantic dinner or lunch, and chic tables and chairs for intimate dining, family dining, or business meals. On a recent balmy, moonlit night, we had the unparalleled pleasure of a table outside, watching the sun set over the greatest city on earth. Sip on a classic Riverview cocktail made with infused vodka, pear juice, cucumber and basil or an Aperol spritz, made bubbly with Italian Prosecco. If you can’t stay for dinner, at least come and enjoy one of their hand-shaken cocktails, beer or fine wines at the bar while you admire the view.

The service is professional, yet friendly and our knowledgeable waiter told us about the nightly specials that included filet mignon wrapped in bacon, topped with goat cheese, seafood fra diavolo with mussels, clams, calamari and a lobster tail, and a 20-ounce rib-eye steak, cooked to order. We asked about the house favorite appetizers and were guided to the incredibly fresh oysters from the raw bar. We sampled these fresh and briny Blue Points served on ice with a variety of sauces and lemon. There are also Little Neck clams, lump crabmeat cocktail, and jumbo shrimp cocktail to start with. Indulge in the raw bar platter with a 1.25 pound lobster, mussels, oysters, jumbo shrimp, and crab meat cocktail to wow your friends.

My friend and I shared the roasted beet salad, dotted with creamy goat cheese amidst tender greens ($11). The pan-seared scallops should not be missed, perfectly cooked and served with grilled cauliflower and nestled in a cauliflower puree ($17). Filet mignon carpaccio is paper-thin slices of raw beef topped with capers, essence of lemon, and pure olive oil for a fabulous Mediterranean treat. We were told the crab cake is a popular starter, served with celery root remoulade and avocado. For the “table” order an antipasto platter prepared with three cheeses, bresaola (cured beef), prosciutto, hot sorpresata, black olives, grapes and mustard vinaigrette. This impressive platter should be paired with a fine bottle of wine from Italy, France, or Spain for a sensational after work meet-up or as a prelude to the incredible meal yet to come.

Entrées at Riverview range from casual, kidfriendly fare like brick oven pizza and pasta, to the haute cuisine offerings such as roasted rack of lamb, duck from the Hudson valley, and tender quail with raisin sauce, caramelized onions and baby potatoes ($23). I ordered a tried-andtrue hangar steak and found it to be perfectly cooked to my medium-rare request and sliced, served with perfectly crispy frites. “Poli roti” is a free-range chicken breast served with Portobello mushroom, mashed potatoes and whole grain mustard sauce. Riverview serves excellent fish, with four choices on the menu and nightly specials. The flaky, white halibut is sautéed with diced carrots, celery, potato, onions, olives, and mustard sauce for a light and healthy meal. The whole, grilled Branzino speaks of summer with verdant arugula, fingerling potatoes, and sun-dried tomato pesto. The evening’s special flounder was tender and flaky, stuffed with sweet crabmeat, and white wine caper sauce. For lunch, or casual dinners, you can’t beat the Riverview burger or lamb burger with its special herbs and spices, and caramelized onions.

Classic lasagna with rich, meaty sauce is a family favorite, as is the spaghetti Bolognese. Saffron-infused risotto is topped with chopped tomatoes, asparagus and has such an intoxicating aroma ($20). Homemade lobster ravioli are tender and tasty, while the seafood fettuccine requires a fork and spoon to scoop up all the shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mussels. The individual pizzas are great for lunch or dinner and come in the classic Margherita recipe, or five others.

As the stars came out over the spectacular, ink-blue tableau of New York City, we enjoyed glasses of sherry and some of Riverview’s phenomenal desserts. The pecan tart was not too sweet, enveloped in light, flaky crust. Chocolate soufflé and lava cake are both served warm and melted for extra indulgence, while the “opera” pastry is an edible sculpture.

Indeed a meal at Riverview is one that you won’t soon forget, with its great food, professional service, ambience, and knock-out views. Yet, for all this luxury, the prices are approachable, so take advantage of these warm days of September and make your reservation for an unforgettable meal at Riverview. They offer a delicious brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, lunch on weekdays, and dinner seven days a week. Please visit their Web site for menus and information. Riverview can be booked for your private affairs as well, so make arrangements early and wow your guests.

Riverview Restaurant and Lounge

2-01 50th Avenue
Long Island City  718.392.5000


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