Location: 2373 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Phone: 561 694-1188. http://www.riverhouserestaurant.com
First I must say that this review is LONG overdue. We haven’t been to River House in a while, but the night is still vivid in our memories. Also, as with many of the places we have been and will go to, this was Maria’s first time but not mine. I’ve been in South Florida a long time and I certainly want to experience new things, but there are many great places that I just must take her to. The River House was a MUST. Located on the northwest corner of PGA Blvd and The Intracoastal Waterway, much like another one of our favorites Season’s 52 (which is directly across the waterway), the ambiance is sublime. They don’t take reservations and there usually is a wait, but the night we went we sat right down. This was very good, but we did miss out on a pre-dinner drink at their cool waterfront bar. I highly recommend this course of action if you do run into the inevitable wait. And by the way, River House is well worth any reasonable wait.
What a wonderful date! I loved that night so much. Ross always has the greatest suggestions of places to introduce me to and River House was one of the best. I remember I hadn’t moved down yet and was just visiting for a long weekend. Ross said we were going somewhere kind of swanky, so I got decked out in a nice dress and some heels, which I save for special occassions. Somewhere in our preliminary discussions involving food we had found that we shared a favorite fish, Chilean Sea Bass. I’ve had some good striped bass and black bass, but the Chilean breed is fantastic. Blows every other fish out of the water, pun intended. Ross told me the best sea bass he had ever eaten was at River House. Naturally he was excited to take me, he also raved about their stacked salad bar. We thought it’d be a good idea to start there. On our first trip up, Ross filed in behind me. I loaded up my plate, because I am NOT one of those girls who doesn’t eat on a date. I love to eat. All my faves, chick peas, the standard veggies and a nice helping of beets. “Beets!?…I’m the only person who ever gets beets,” Ross exclaimed in my ear.
She likes beets, just like me! When that happens you just know it’s love. After all, beets are universally know as the “Love Barometer” vegetable. Seriously though, The River House has a killer salad bar. Everything you want and bread and cheese too. The service is beyond compare as well. Every table gets at least two waiters and they are at your beck and call. The wine list is extensive, the food is fabulous and predominantly steak and fish. For crab lovers I strongly suggest the crab cocktail appetizer. Jumbo lump blue crabmeat served with a delicious mustard sauce, a fantastic way to begin your meal. Maria and I almost always get two different dishes at dinner (as I’m guessing many couples do), and we contemplated a filet mignon and Chilean Sea Bass, but ultimately decided we both wanted the bass, bad. I’ve had the filet there before and it is to die for, however the CSB takes one to a higher plane. I’m certain Maria will agree with me, there was a tiny hiccup though.
Well, I learned a very valuable lesson. And something extremely helpful about Ross. When we were ordering our fish, the waitress asked, “Grilled or Blackened?” I pondered for a moment, remembered that I had thoroughly enjoyed it grilled and stated it clearly for the server. Ross let out a strange sound that I have become rather familiar with. It’s a slight inhale through his teeth coupled with a slanted left eye. Now I know this sound to be a distinct warning against a certain course of action. After she took the order he asked, “Really? Grilled huh?” The dishes arrived, my sea bass grilled and his blackened. I took a few bites of my fish and then offered him a taste, and he followed suit. His sea bass kicked my sea bass’ ass. I wish I had known at the time what Ross’ warning sound was! They serve the blackened bass with a remarkable mango salsa that complements the dish so well. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Next time I will be ordering the sea bass blackened, so I don’t experience the same food jealousy I felt that night.
Truth be told, the grilled sea bass is still awesome. The thing is, the blackened version is one of the best dishes on this planet. I tried, gently, to steer her in the appropriate direction, even though she didn’t take my advice it all worked out. We had a wonderful evening. The River House is fine dining at it’s best. The prices aren’t cheap, but you get tremendous value for your dollar. The food, service and setting are about as good as it gets. My wish for you is that your companion for dinner, whoever he or she might be, is as fucking kick-ass, knockout beautiful, intelligent and sweet as mine was. Bon appetit.
Maria’s Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses.
Ross’ Rating: 4.5 Wine Glasses.