Hamilton Heights, NY – The historic West Harlem district stretches some twenty blocks along the very picturesque Hudson River. Home to the Japanese-inspired Riverbank State Park, a plethora of new restaurants, cafès, and bars has joined the landscape of emerging culinary talent. At the forefront of this delicious boom is Riverbank Grill, a new beer garden featuring traditional American fare paired with over 30 locally and internationally brewed beers; all served by some of the best people in the business.
Nestled in the heart of the 28-acre park at 679 Riverside Drive, the 5,000 square foot restaurant will make its public debut on September 21st, 2013, the official first day of Oktoberfest. We received a sneak peek at their menu and were immediately impressed by their selection of brews, including Six Point Sweet Action, Flying Dog Gonzo, Lagunitas, and a perennial favorite, Abita Purple Haze. We got the party started with a very sexy Riverbank Punch – Bacardi, Spiced Rum, Crème de Banana, OJ, Pineapple Juice, and Grenadine. With the sun descending upon the horizon, we quickly forgot we were a stone’s throw away from the 1 train, and everything else it connects to. The views of the Hudson and the George Washington Bridge were stunning.
A sampling of appetizers and entrees included Bloody Mary Ceviche Shooters, Fried Calamari, Smokehouse Sliders, Salmon Sliders, Skirt Steak, and Tuna Crudo (served with Avocado and Fried Wonton Skin drizzled with chili and ginger oil). Our favorites were the Riverbank Crab Cakes, fresh lump crab, fried and topped with spicy mayo, Lollipop Lambchops, perfectly cooked and finished with chipotle glaze, and the decadent and quintessentially Southern Chicken & Waffles, boneless fried chicken over a crisp and chewy Belgian Waffle topped with syrup, powdered sugar, and Louisiana Hot Sauce. It made for an all-encompassing party-in-your mouth sensation of crunchy, chewy, juicy, sweet, savory, and spicy, and it was easily the best-tasting thing we'd eaten in awhile.
There's something romantically liberating about being able to enjoy (outdoors) a cold beverage the same color as the sunset. “We're excited to be bringing a beautiful, relaxing hideaway to West Harlem, one where people can enjoy a delicious weekend brunch before spending a day in the park, sip drinks while watching the sun set behind the Palisades, or pause for a break while cycling up the Hudson River Greenway,” said owner Tom Cheung. “Our hope is that Riverbank Grill becomes the kind of unexpected discovery that reminds locals and tourists alike why they love New York.” We agree, and with the hustle and bustle of urban-dwelling, we're beginning to appreciate more those moments in life that ask us to slow down and savor all that surrounds us, and we found that here.