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“Best restaurant in upstate NY you'd never find”
Review of River Street Cafe - CLOSED

River Street Cafe
Price range: USD 0 - USD 30
Cuisines: American, Italian, Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed 27 October 2015

**Stairs only! No Elevator/Ramp upstairs!!**

Before I start know that this place is a cultural experience. They don't advertise and the only way people know about it is by word of mouth. From the outside, it looks like a shut-down restaurant supplier. They're only open Weds-Sat from 5-10; it's one chef and, most of the time, one server. The restaurant at the most can serve 30-40 people, though it spaces them out. You SHOULD make a reservation. The main chef is a great guy, though when he's cooking he gets very irritated. Don't be surprised if he seems curt, or if you hear him cursing from downstairs. Just roll with it and know beforehand that you're about to be served the greatest meal this side of the Pacific Ocean.

That said: don't go here if you're in a hurry.

It's, on average, a 2 hour dinner. You'll start with getting seated, a list of specials read to you, ordering a drink etc. The wine and beer selection are great, although sometimes what they have doesn't necessarily agree with the menu offerings. No big deal- trust me, you won't care.

The appetizers are wonderful (especially the french onion soup & beat salad), although to be honest unless you haven't eaten in weeks, you don't need to order them. You're going to leave very full and very happy.

Your entrees will generally be given an option of the sauces to accompany them. Several are brown butter-focused, which is usually the route I go. Everything is fresh, never frozen and delicious.

Following you ordering an entree, a basket of bread will arrive and will be shortly followed by a cold pasta dish, courtesy of the house. It is, imo, the greatest sauce on the planet. You'll wish it could be a meal unto itself.

Following the pasta dish, you'll be sent up a salad. They're very basic: lettuce, some sliced vegetables, etc. The dressing is a mustard vinaigrette of some kind. Very tasty, but not anything to knock your socks off.

Next comes the entree, which will be accompanied by a family-style plate of potatoes. Usually he serves garlic & goat cheese mashed, although occasionally he serves smashed potatoes (my personal favorite)

Dessert isn't needed and, in my experience, apart from coffee isn't really worth it.

You may be thinking "How could this take 2 hours?" Well- you won't be sitting there counting the minutes. But, by the time you sit, order drinks, get the various courses and pay, it easily falls in that time frame. But I PROMISE you this: it's the best meal that can be had between NYC and Canada, and gives anything you'd find in either location a run for its money at a fraction of the cost.

2 people, roughly $75-80 depending on drinks/desert.

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4  Thank Ryan Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (44)
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5 - 9 of 44 reviews

Reviewed 15 October 2015 via mobile

Went there as a group of six, a Saturday night and the place was not very busy.
We were in no hurry so the wait for everything was not a problem. The appetizers were good, we had meatballs, shrimp and salmon, with the meatballs getting the edge. The owner/chef gave us an amazing cold pasta dish that was out of this world, a must try. 5 out of the 6 got the steak and I got the short ribs. Everyone raved! The only thing bad was the waiter, but that became comical. Well done River Street our hats off to you.

Thank Rooman1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2015

We've been going to the River Street Cafe for years. It is, without question, the best restaurant in the area and that's all because of the cooking skill of George, the cook and owner. I recommend a fish course because George's sauces are not to be beaten.

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Thank LakeRecluse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2015

We go to this restaurant for special occasions (the price is somewhat hefty for a full course meal) but for a special occasion it is well worth it. On the outside it is rather disarming in that one would not expect the culinary delights that are inside to be just that based on the "storefront" outer exterior. Once the doors are opened however, you walk through the lower level of the building and right past the kitchen where the evenings meal is made by a truly great chef. Most evenings the meals are made from scratch. I believe the menu is good for a week. I cannot praise the food, quality and waitstaff enough. The dining area is up a long flight of stairs in a very charming area.
Definitely recommend eating here for the experience which has uniformly been a good one!

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1  Thank Edward2651
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2015

It is a romantic place for two or more. The food is made to order, the salads fine and the palate pleaser exceptional.

Thank 443ann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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