Friday, October 19, 2007

River Station

This week we made our second visit to the River Station on the Peoria riverfront since it re-opened this year.
It's so nice to see this beautiful, historic landmark building in use and the restaurant back in business.
We were given a great table, right next to a large bay window looking out onto the river.
There were a few empty tables near us in the dining room, so they were not packed.

Our waitress was cheerful and joked with us, running to the bar several times to check on drink possibilities for the table.

Our guest of honor and his wife ordered some calamari, and were kind enough to share. The calamari was thick, chewy and good, served with a creamy red pepper sauce for dipping.

We started with salads. Since the last time we were in, they have changed the standard practice of bringing the salad bar caddy to the table. The menu stated "tableside salad bar available upon request", so we went with the pre-made salads. They were good, and included a cucumber slice, tomato wedge, shredded carrots, some cheddar cheese and croutons. StfRon had bleu cheese dressing with bleu cheese crumbles, and said it was very good. I went with the balsamic dressing, which was also quite tasty.
I did miss the tableside salad bar, though, and wished we had asked for it.
Some of our friends had the seafood bisque instead of salads, which they were pleased with. I tried the bisque last time, and enjoyed it.

Between soups, salads and breads, there was a noticeable delay before our dinners arrived. It wasn't a shocking delay, but there was a point when most of the conversation had stopped at the table and everyone was wondering where dinner was. The waitress brought by some more bread and said the food would be out in a few minutes.

For dinner I chose the chicken Oscar, a chicken breast topped with crab meat, hollandaise sauce and asparagus spears, served with mashed red skinned potatoes. The plate presentation was very nice and the chicken had a good flavor, but it was surprisingly salty, like it might have been brined. It was also a little brown and dry in a couple of spots, as if it had been under a warmer for a while, and the hollandaise was a little thickened, too, in spots. The chicken might have been plated and waiting for some of the other meals to be prepared. It was a tasty entree, nonetheless. The red skinned mashed potatoes were very good, seasoned nicely and topped with some shoestring potatoes.
StfRon gave the prime rib a second try, since he's a prime rib junkie. He ordered the medium-sized prime rib prepared medium rare. It came out more rare than medium, and he was disappointed that there was no "crust" to the outside that comes from slow roasting. However, the medium prime rib, which all of the men ordered, was quite a large cut. We all wondered how big the large cut would be after looking at these hunks of meat. The steaks, not the guys!
The prime rib was served with a horseradish sauce, and accompanied by the Bleu cheese potatoes he chose. The cubed potatoes were great with the Bleu cheese, says he.
My friend M had the pork tenderloin medallions topped with a balsamic reduction, and she said it was wonderful.
C had the salmon, and also said it was great.
My friend Minney had the asiago chicken, which I had considered getting. I didn't get a chance to holler down the table to see how it was.

Once we all finished eating, some time went by and our waitress came back to see if anyone wanted dessert. One couple went for the pumpkin creme brulee to share, which sounded very good. After taking the dessert order, no one took our plates away. Between 7 dinner plates, 7 bread plates and various glasses of wine, beer and water, our table was getting a bit cramped. Some of us also could have used some refills.
When the dessert arrived, the waitress took several of the plates away, which gave us some breathing room.

We did have a nice time at the River Station and enjoyed the view and the ambiance, and, of course, the company. There were a few kinks that you can find at any restaurant, and it would not keep me from coming back.
In fact, I hope to be back soon because I see that the Wine Room is now open, and I must partake of that!
I also would like to try their brunch, after reading Floyd's report.

July 3, 2008 — The River Station has closed.


Fraochán said...

Awh we will have to make it down there. We haven't been there since the early part of 1996. (Senior Prom haha!) We were going to try and make it down there a few months ago with my hubby's second family (the ones that adopted him - hehe) but they had no tables open for that night! I was a little taken back - but we didn't call until 3pm on a Saturday. oops! :)

Anonymous said...

The River Station brunch is *AWESOME*!
You've got to give it a whirl. It's a little pricey, but well worth it. You'll see!

Matt said...

I have only been to the River Station once since they reopened, and I won't be back. I was sad to see the table-side salad bar was gone, it was 10 degrees too cold in the dining room, the service was inattentive and slow, and the food was just OK. There is a lot of competition for my 'fine' dining dollar in Peoria and the River Station doesn't make the top 10.

P.S. Avoid the stuffed shrimp unless you REALLY like yellow mustard.