I was excited to try North River when their PR team invited me in for a meal. I tapped Cheese to join me, as he’s one of the best press meal companions – I get to pick everything and he doesn’t complain! Not about my choices, anyway. Even when they’re weird.
We started with an order of meatballs, which their website no longer has as just meatballs but instead as sliders… these were tasty, soft and well-seasoned.
Steak tartare, which is also no longer on the menu… a shame, since those little potato slices on top? LOVE. The tartare itself was only okay though.
I can’t see deviled eggs on a menu and not order them. I don’t know why, since 9 times out of 10, they aren’t made the way I like. I actually got to discuss the eggs with the chef and the owner before dinner, and I asked about the texture. These are very creamy, heavy on the mustard, for an extra kick. While they were made perfectly satisfactorily, I really need to give up getting these in restaurants; deviled eggs are the type of thing that everyone has their own recipe within families. Actually, my sister’s version differs from mine, even… but one thing they both have in common is texture. I definitely like a lot of texture – something crunchy in there to play off the creaminess of the egg yolk mixture – but that’s definitely not for everyone. In fact, based on my eating deviled eggs all around the city, I’ve discovered it’s mostly not in recipes. Ah well.
One more item no longer on the menu: chicken liver mousse, which was incredibly rich, and quite delicious. I enjoyed the lack of metallic bite sometimes found in lesser chicken liver mousses, and the pickled veggies – albeit not enough of them! – were a great complement to the rich mousse. I enjoyed it thoroughly – to the point that when there was quite a lot left but we knew there was more food coming, I opted to take the rest home. Waste not, want not!
Our sides – since I love veggies – broccoli with spicy hollandaise, which was quite delicious; roasted brussels sprouts with Chinese sausage and hazelnuts, also quite yummy. I thoroughly enjoyed both of these, and also took the leftovers home.
I’m not sure why I didn’t photograph Cheese’s main course – lamb stew that had way too big hunks of rosemary left in it, to the point of those bites being inedible – and lots of olives scattered throughout, which is disturbing to someone who doesn’t like olives when it wasn’t listed on the menu (as it is now).
But the real reason I was even there: fried chicken. You know it’s my thing, fried chicken, and I pride myself on having eaten almost every fried chicken in NYC worth eating. Well, I had a conversation with the chef before dinner, and I found out a few things about the chicken. It’s boneless, for one… and only thighs. I’m iffy on that, but he told me that despite being boneless, they still intend for you to pick it up with your hands and eat it (I wouldn’t have it any other way: sometimes I take people for fried chicken, and the second they try to use a knife/fork to eat it, well, it’s over!).
The crust on this was great; it was fried perfectly to juicy, moist, served not burn-my-finger-tips hot, but “I can pick this up right now and eat it” temperature which I love. The major downfall to this chicken is so much personal preference, I hesitate to even mention it. One of the spices in the crust is Old Bay, and generously so. Old Bay can be quite lovely – when used very sparingly, in my opinion – but also can quickly overwhelm the palate and take over everything you’re eating. It’s very, very strong, and has a quite distinctive taste, slightly sharp, almost spicy but not quite. It’s also one of my less favorite spices in the world. I find it to be too much for me. So while overall, the chicken was so nicely juicy, perfectly fried and quite lovely, I just wouldn’t personally return because I disliked how much Old Bay was in the seasoning. (One of my top favorite fried chickens in NYC also has Old Bay in the seasoning, but way, way less.)
It even stood up to the leftover fried chicken test – yes, there is such a thing, even around me! – I took a piece home and reheated it in the toaster oven the next morning, on the rack. It was delicious cold, and it was delicious re-crisped. Minus the Old Bay. My tongue just does not care for Old Bay.
In any case, overall, I quite enjoyed much of what we ate at North River. Some were hits, some were near-hits… but generally, tasty and a good collection of snacks and bites to nibble on, with some larger plates if you decide you want dinner. I recommend checking the place out and forming your own opinion!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, and thank you for your generous hospitality!
Please note that I dined here as a guest of the restaurant. I received no monetary compensation to post about it and do so of my own free will. Also, the photos are a little weird because it was sooo dark in there, Cheese wound up using his phone’s flashlight function to light the dishes for me (thank you!). Yup, I was one of those people that night. Sorry.