After 7 years in NYC (it's official today!), I have finally popped my Staten Island cherry--and now have officially visited all 5 of New York City's boroughs. I'm a little ashamed that it took me this long, but I digress.
|The Staten Island Ferry Building|
The catalyst behind this visit was, of course, food. The free ferry ride across the bay didn't hurt either.
|Boarding the ferry|
|Pulling away from Manhattan|
|I waved to Miss Liberty (along with throngs of tourists angling to get a picture)|
Afshin, one of the restaurant's owners--it's a family business--met our group and gave us the history of how his father came to the US from India years ago and built up a food empire from nothing. They now own 47 restaurant concepts in the tri-state area, including most of the vendors in Penn Station. It was definitely an impressive rags-to-riches story and made me respect their ambition a ton.
We started with drinks, which were much needed given the fact that the sun was shining right in many of our faces and we were all
sweating glistening. I would definitely recommend any of the frozen drinks, but I found myself craving more and more of the lemonade. I know it's simple, and there's not even alcohol (though you can ask them to add some vodka if you're feeling that), but it's delicious and refreshing and just screams summer.
As for appetizers, we were bombarded (in the best way possible) with a Thanksgiving table full of food. Favorites included the fried shrimp and calamari from the appetizer assortment ($23), the Caprese salad ($11), and the fresh white ahi tuna salad ($15).
Afshin told us River Dock's specialty is seafood, even though they do fried food very, very well. So for the main course, the friendly waitstaff brought out another tableful of food: Cajun steamed pot ($33), fresh Maine lobster ($27), Thai mussel pot ($22), Seafood Fra Diavolo pasta ($19), marinated grilled shrimp ($29), Alaskan pan seared salmon ($22), BBQ baby back ribs ($23), and the grilled free range chicken breast ($19). PHEW!
|That's a ton of food!|
I tell ya, you can take the girl out of Boston (where I went to school), but you can't take the Boston out of the girl. I was super into the shellfish, and was the only one of us adventurous enough to crack into the lobster claws sans plastic bib. It was worth it. Nothing says summer like making a mess eating lobster. The Cajun steamed pot was also a ton of fun, with the crab legs easier to open than the lobster and the peel-and-eat shrimp ready for your dextrous digits to tear into them.
|Cajun Steamed Pot|
|Thai Mussel Pot|
|Fresh Maine Lobster|
|BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Grilled Chicken|
|Marinated Grilled Shrimp|
|Atlantic Pan Seared Salmon|
|Seafood Fra Diavolo Pasta|
Lastly, we couldn't leave without at least sampling dessert. Each dessert usually comes separately, but Afshin brought out a sampler for us including the red velvet cake, chocolate molten cake, and NY cheesecake (each $8). My favorite was definitely the molten cake because chocolate.
River Dock Cafe is the perfect place to take a "staycation" dinner trip, even on a weekend night. Set up shop right after work with a few frozen cocktails and some lemonade, order up some seafood, and watch the sun go down and the Manhattan lights go up. Word has it that a ferris wheel larger than the London Eye will also be rising in the vicinity of the restaurant, so that will only draw more and more traffic to the area. So you might as well check it out now!
Disclosure: River Dock Cafe provided me with a comp meal in exchange for this review. However, all opinions are my own.