Rive Bistro, a restaurant serving French fare with a beautiful view opened recently along the banks of the Saugatuck River in Westport. As you approach the restaurant you are greeted by an awning-covered deck that seats 40-50 guests with full southern exposure. The interior features a cozy, glass enclosed dining area with a 180-degree view of the river as well as a fireplace for a romantic evening when the weather turns cold.
Chef /Owner Eric Sierra brings years of experience to Rive Bistro. Many will remember that he was the chef at Westport’s Bistro des Amis before he relocated to Il Palio in Shelton. I recently attended a dinner at Rive Bistro where Chef Sierra’s presented an array of flavors from every section of the menu.
The appetizers included several very good choices. The “Mouse de Foie Gras” with brioche toast and fig marmalade was wonderful and included a few slices of a rich, smooth duck liver mousse that were accented with the sweetness of marmalade. The “Charcuterie Board” included jambon, paté and saucisson, all of which were enjoyable, and our board also included duck rillettes, and Rive Bistros’ was a moist and flavorful rendition.
The chef’s next dish was one of the best dishes of the evening, the “Lamb Meatballs” with caramelized Vidalia onions. The deep, richness of the lamb was elevated with a few Middle-Eastern spices and then perfectly complemented by the sweet and subtle onions.
The appetizers also include a traditional preparation of “Escargot” with garlic butter and fresh herbs, a “White Bean Stew” with grilled shrimp and “Roasted Beets” with maché greens, goat cheese, and topped with walnut vinaigrette.
The entrées include many choices, ranging from a tradition “Steak Frites” to a rustic “Seafood Parmentier” (a French seafood shepherd pie).
My favorite was the “Steak Frites,” a NY strip loin offered with either herb garlic butter, a black pepper sauce or Roquefort sauce. The steak was prepared to rare / medium rare and sliced. The best of the three sauces was the Roquefort, the creaminess and richness of this sauce was a great complement to the steak.
In addition, Rive Bistro also serves “Grilled Salmon” with sautéed kale, silky potato puree served with a yellow pepper dill sauce; the “Duck Confit” with fingerling potato, wild mushrooms and frisée; the “Seafood Parmentier” as well as a traditional “Moules Frites Provençale.”
The desserts were delicious and my favorite was the Pain Perdu. The bread was moist and flavorful and with a correct amount of sweetness and a nice textural difference with the walnut topping. This was served nestled in a delectable crème sauce.
The Tarte Tartin was also fantastic. The apples were perfectly prepared and the caramel sauce was just sweet enough to complement the apples. The dish was accented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The dessert menu also includes several Madeleines served with a delightful chocolate sauce.
Rive Bistro has a wonderful view and many of the dishes were delicious. As the weather turns warmer, enjoy the incredible view of the Saugatuck River on the deck with a glass of wine, some charcuterie, a Steak Frites and Tarte Tartin…a great way to spend a beautiful evening.
299 Riverside Ave. - Westport, CT - (203) 557-8049
- Mouse de Foie Gras on brioche toast and fig marmalade;
- Charcuterie board;
- Lamb Meatballs with caramelized Vidalia onions;
- Steak Frites;
- Tarte Tartin;
- Pain Perdu.
- White Bean Stew with grilled shrimp;
- Madelines with Chocolate sauce;
- Roasted Beets topped with mache greens, goat cheese and walnut vinaigrette.
Did Not Enjoy:
- Escargot garlic butter and fresh herbs;
- Grilled Salmon with sautéed kale, yellow peppers, dill sauce and silky potato puree;
- Duck Confit with fingerling potato, wild mushrooms, and frisée;
- Seafood Parmentier;
- Moules Frites Provençale.
[Photography Courtesy of Tom McGovern]