Thursday, October 15, 2009

Riverview Cafe

Have you ever walked by a cafe or restaurant near your home or job and thought, "I really should try that place sometime" and then a year later, you realize you've still never made that reservation?

Riverview Restaurant/Lounge in Long Island City is that restaurant for me. It's always on the way home, and though I've checked out the menu, I still kept walking. On the last night of Queens Restaurant Week and its $25 three-course prix fixe menus, I decided it was about time I picked up the phone and made that reservation.

It tries to be a lounge and restaurant all at once, and it actually does a decent job- the lounge section is towards the front of the space, and with tall decorative walls and cushy seats separating the lounge and the cafe, Riverview does a great job of keeping the loud music away from diners' conversations and in the lounge where it belongs. Drinks were unimpressive at Manhattan prices, but with plenty of offerings for their Restaurant Week menu- my pals and I were able to select from half of their regularly offered appetizers and entrees, a much wider variety than the usual two or three selections given during Manhattan's Restaurant Week- I was willing to let the drink list slide.

I ordered Riverview's soup of the day, a vegetarian butternut squash, and the perfectly creamy soup hit the spot after coming in from the cold. For my entree, I chose a hearty vegetarian risotto. Riverview was very generous with their risotto- not only in overall portion size, but in the amount of tender mushrooms and asparagus in the risotto. With just the right amount of herbs that didn't take away from the fresh veggies in the risotto, I'm only half ashamed to say I cleaned my large plate. Dessert was also a delicious surprise. Tiramisu can vary so much between restaurants, but Riverview's was delightfully firm, the savoiardi not completely soaked in espresso, and the mascarpone was lightly sweetened and amazingly fluffy. Too good for words!

Outside of Restaurant Week, Riverview reflects Manhattan prices instead of Queens, but since the restaurant is extending their extensive Restaurant Week menu through the end of October, you need only take the 7 train one stop into Queens for an outer borough treat.

Riverview Restaurant/Lounge, 2-01 50th Avenue, Long Island City, 718-392-5000

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