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Sunday
Jul072013

Rive Bistro Opens in Westport: A Bistro with a View

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

Really Liked:

  • Mouse de Foie Gras on brioche toast and fig marmalade;
  • Charcuterie board;
  • Lamb Meatballs with caramelized Vidalia onions;
  • Steak Frites;
  • Tarte Tartin;
  • Pain Perdu.

Liked:

  • 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]

Rive Bistro on Urbanspoon

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Reader Comments (19)

Wait?! It's really not "River Bistro"?

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSurprised

I had lunch recently at Rive Bistro. The food and service were excellent. However, I will not go back there. The parking is horrendous! They share the lot with a large office complex, and the space is limited, so they have valet parking. I wouldn't doubt that they park the cars on the street. I pulled my car into an empty space designated for "Restaurant Patrons." Almost immediately, an attendant came over and demanded my keys "in case we have to move the car". I refused to give them to him -- I have a six-speed manual sports car and I don't want anyone else driving it. When I left the restaurant, there was another car blocking mine. The attendant said it was the owner's (owner of what, he didn't say). It took over 20 minutes for them to get the keys and move it. As I said, the food was delicious, but it wasn't worth the aggravation.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBabette d'Yveine

Jeff, thanks for breaking down the likes and dislikes. I love the balance and objectivity.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercreekside

Jeff, thanks for breaking down the likes and dislikes. I love the balance and objectivity.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercreekside

The food was awful. My friend had the Duck Confit which was dry and greasy at the same time and so unappetizing looking. I had the scallop and lobster with pasta. The scallops were gritty (they obviously didn't clean them) and the lobster was tough. The sauce was tasteless. The Tarte Tatin didn't resemble anything I knew from my time in Paris and studies at Le Cordon Bleu and La Varenne cooking schools.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchet

The food was awful. My friend had the Duck Confit which was dry and greasy at the same time and so unappetizing looking. I had the scallop and lobster with pasta. The scallops were gritty (they obviously didn't clean them) and the lobster was tough. The sauce was tasteless. The Tarte Tatin didn't resemble anything I knew from my time in Paris and studies at Le Cordon Bleu and La Varenne cooking schools.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchet

At least Chet is specific - from the review I didn't understand why Jeff did or didn't like any of the dishes.

Steph - just my two-cents but I think CTBites has long since passed the point where it should have a "real names" comment policy.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

A comment has been removed. Please refrain from personal attacks.

July 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterStephanie Webster

This review read to me like a "sponsored" post. I kept looking for the advertising disclaimer. In any event, we ate there with another couple some time ago and were not blown away by our experience. No plans to return any time soon.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJED

Yeah, it's really a shame that the reviews on this site aren't more critical. The CT board on Chowhound gets no traction so there's really nowhere to turn for feedback on places in our area. It's impossible to believe that any of the places "reviewed" on this site are as good as the CT Bites reviewers claim them to be. I've eaten in too many bad FFC restaurants to be fooled.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermla19

Above photos by Tom McGovern. I don't understand how every time you use my images you accidentally or deliberately choose not to credit them until someone is notified.

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom McGovern

Hey Tom. Sorry for the oversight. As a photographer, I hear ya. Your credit has been added.

July 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterStephanie Webster

I had a similar experience to the July 8th Rive Bistro patron. I was parking in a Rive Bistro-posted parking space, and the Valet came over to me and said I have to use the Valet - the owner wants everyone to use the Valet. I told the Valet that I prefer to park my car myself, and he insisted I leave my keys. Again, as I do not want others to have access to the contents of my vehicle, I told the Valet I would not leave my keys with him. After completing an otherwise enjoyable business lunch, I came out to the parking lot, in 95 degree heat and with a subsequent appointment to get to, only to find my car blocked in by another car. The Valet took 10 minutes to come over and move the obstructing car, and scolded me with reiterating that the owner wants patrons to use the Valet. I found this to be completely unacceptable, to be a paying client and be harassed by a 20-something Valet to use a Valet service. I will definitely avoid returning to Rive because of this incident and will share this experience with colleagues and friends..

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBusinessLunch

This location has always had lousy parking. Great view though, but stressful to attain it.

July 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRK

Every parking garage that has valet you
always leave your keys. Nothing new
or unusual about that.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFoodieonline

Incredible food ! Have been there multiple times.

August 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFoodie online

This is an unusual review. We didn't go there. Their policy is no reservations on Friday and Saturday. Since when did dining become so crude and uncivilized? Restaurants are about customer, conviviality among friends and convenience. Who wants to head out with some friends and be uncertain if you'll ever get a table?

I understand that Paul Bocuse and Alain Ducasse are not chefs here. But even they take reservations.

Really, who do they think they are? All that for a view of the Saugatuck mud at low tide?

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex K.

VERY WELL SAID Alex.
I understand that the whole taking and confirming process is labor intensive for a restaurant. But can't that be part of what you are paying for? I am not saying that every place has to pay the king's ransom to subscribe to Open Table. Can't I leave a message on voicemail and IF I am LUCKY enough to get a reservation, you can have a staffie take a half hour out of their day and leave me a message? And here's how to deal with those rude NO shows, keep a list, next time they call- FORGET ABOUT IT.
If an establishment says why bother taking reservations, the seats are full on Saturday night anyway, I would prefer to go elsewhere. For all I know, that same place may also say, well the wine glass was sort of clean......customer service is the key, it does not matter how it is expressed.

September 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEKG

I don't know about you but I often do not know what/where I'm in the mood to eat until day of. Same with golf. I am a very spontaneous person.

I would rather toss my keys to Larry Hogue and crawl across broken glass to get to a FABULOUS restaurant (I don't mind waiting at the bar if the Italian wine is good enough and if there are females present:)

Than to have a fully confirmed totally verified reservation at one of the restaurants around here that SUCK.

What Rive Bistro IS and what it does will dictate whether this strategy will work.

Example. Ossiana Fairfield now takes reservations, after years of not taking them. Now it's true that they don't even know how to murder a bad steak, but ok it's a seafood restaurant, and that's off-point. The fact is, it was a lot more fun going there and at least knowing no one else has a leg up on you.

Now Ossiana needs to "up their steak game" and folks, when someone pays 8 bucks for a side of mashed potatoes give them a goshdarned serving of potatoes. Not a mountain; just a decent sized serving. Is that too much to ask?

September 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

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