There’s a restaurant in the West Harlem District located off the beaten path.. And by off the beaten path, I mean located smack dab in the middle of a New York state park that nobody seems to know about. The park is called the Riverbank State Park and the restaurant is appropriately named (drum roll please): Riverbank Grill. In order to get to the Riverbank Grill, one must take the 1 train up to 145th street, walk in the direction of the Hudson River Parkway, cross a ramp bridge that is the only access on and off the peninsula shaped urban oasis and viola, the Riverbank Grill will magically appear on your right hand side.
In our case, Charles and I arrived at the Riverbank Grill on a Saturday around 12:15pm-ish for brunch and the restaurant was EMPTY, which threw us off a little bit. Here we were at a restaurant that provided ah-mazing views of the Washington Bridge, the Palisades and offered an unlimited mimosa/sangria brunch menu but yet, nobody was there? This had us wondering if there was something wrong with the place… Anyways, our waiter told us to choose any table we wanted since we had the place to ourselves and we chose a table with windows facing the Washington Bridge.
While we looked over the menu, our waiter served us our sangrias and then guess what happened?! Another couple walked in the door! “Yes, this place must be good!” we thought hopefully… Either way we were going to take advantage of the unlimited sangria because being slightly inebriated always helps make a dining experience better haha. With that said, our food arrived at the perfect time because we were getting hungry.
Charles got the Chicken and Waffles that came with HOT SAUCE on top. The combination of hot sauce with the maple syrup caught us off guard but in a good way. Imagine spicy, salty and sweet flavors thrown together on top of a crispy fried chicken breast and waffle… Sooo damn nomnomnom.
I ordered the Crab Cake & Eggs Benedict with Hash Browns. Anything with Eggs Benedict is my usual go to brunch item but this was my first time ordering the meal with crab cakes. Needless to say, the combination really hit the spot esp. once I broke the eggs and let the yolk ooze out all over the crab cakes which I then smothered onto my toast.. Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.
By the time we finished our meal, it was about 2pm. By the time we finished our meal, there were about 8 patrons total in the restaurant. By the time we finished our meal, we were blissfully drunk and ready to explore… I seriously don’t get why there weren’t more people in the place because our food, the service, the view and most importantly, the booze… Everything was gooder than great.
Maybe it’s because the restaurant had recently opened and word hadn’t gotten out about it yet? Maybe it’s because the restaurant is located in a state park and isn’t directly accessible by vehicle? Maybe it doesn’t start getting busy until later on the day? I have no clue why the place wasn’t getting as much business as it should… But what I do know is that I’m so glad I found out about this restaurant via the Harlem One Stop site which is basically an online directory of everything there is to know about restaurants, museums and events in Harlem. Charles and I really enjoyed our time boozy brunching at the Riverbank Grill and exploring what the state park had to offer afterwards. The Riverbank State Park had an ice skating rink, a community sports gym (we went inside and watched a few indoor handball games that were going on) and a freaking carousel!
Oh and let me not forget about the views…
Seeeee, the views are killer! And yet once again, not alot of people out and about.. But I really couldn’t complain. After spending our time pushing through the crowds to see the Rockefeller Tree and the MOMA; being able to find a place to explore that wasn’t crowded? To call it refreshing would be an understatement. The Riverbank State Park and its Grill are the definition of hidden treasures.
If you live in NYC or are planning a trip to the city… I recommend adding the Riverbank Grill onto your list of to-do’s. The place is like the cutest, loneliest little puppy that just needs some love and attention. On top of that, the Chicken and Waffles are banging.
Cutest Little Puppy a.k.a. Restaurant + Chicken and Waffles = Are my powers of persuasion working yet?
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