If there’s one question we’re asked by friends who visit New York, it’s if we can recommend a restaurant “with a view.” Why yes, yes we can, and it’s The River Café. The Brooklyn staple offers diners gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline from its position under the Brooklyn Bridge, and has recently reopened after extensive renovations.
The famous eatery was closed for over a year after it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and founder Michael “Buzzy” O’Keeffe used the opportunity to rebuild with some additional elements including – we kid you not – a chocolate room.
The contemporary American menu remains, created by Executive Chef Brad Steelman, and includes all the classic River Café menu items plus newer offerings, and of course, the aforementioned chocolate bar. The menu includes dishes like black sea bass, monkfish with roasted salsify and mushrooms, and poussin with chestnut stuffing and a black truffle sauce Perigourdine, and desserts like chocolate marquise Brooklyn Bridge and a hot chocolate soufflé, a playful touch on a classic dish.
While the view may be superb, it’s much more than just that – the establishment has received prestigious awards, including a Michelin star, The Restaurant Hall of Fame Award, The Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award and The New York Parks Council Award.
We live for an old school New York establishment, especially one that requires men to wear a jacket in the main dining room, and ‘prefers’ a shirt and tie. Men are not allowed to wear backless sandals – which means no flip flops. And ladies, we don’t recommend you wear these either. Flip flops are for the beach, regardless of how much you paid for them.
But in exchange for dressing the part, you’ll be allowed entrance to an iconic New York destination that opened in 1977, the same year that Milton Glaser’s classic “I Heart NY” logo was designed – and besides a dreaded superstorm that devastated the area, today both remain one-of-a-kind. Other interesting facts about The River Café – former executive chef Larry Forgione came up with the concept of “free range chicken” while working at the restaurant, a term that’s now seen on menus around the country, and more men have proposed marriage here than any other place in New York. The views are just that good.
The River Café
1 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201