Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Relaxing At The Riviera

My idea of stopping off for a bite to eat in Brighton Beach to avoid the over-crowded subway proved to be brilliant. The first restaurant we spotted was Riviera Grill & Sushi and we didn't bother looking further.

Riviera Grill & Sushi

I guess the only dress code they had was one that included wearing a shirt because this guy, coming from the beach, was putting one on before entering.

Dressing For The Occasion

For some reason the "outside" area seemed more crowded than the inside. Maybe that was because the inside was only for dining. They did have a little bar inside, but it looked to be a serving bar only. Everyone inside was pretty much fixated on the football game featuring Russia against the Netherlands. If you read my previous post you will know that Russia won 3 to 1 to advance to the Euro Cup quarter finals.

The Serving Bar

The first thing I did was order a large beer because I had worked up quite a thirst by that time. It was some kind of a French beer, but I didn't quite catch the name.

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Why a French beer in a restaurant that obviously catered to Russians in a decidedly Russian neighborhood? Well, why a sushi bar?

Fresh Fish

The decor had a French look to it, although like nothing I actually have ever seen in France, and I guess the name of the restaurant referred to the French Riviera.

The walls depicted what I took to be a hectic kitchen in a French restaurant.

Tony Bourdain Might Approve

Here is a closer look:

The French theme was carried forward to the decorative plates at the table:

I thought the artwork in the bathroom was appropriate as well:

Okay, so the decor was nice and the beer was cold, so what about the food? It was delicious and plentiful.

We started out with an appetizer that you don't see too often, grilled tongue.

Hold Your Tongue

This was thinly sliced beef tongue that was lightly grilled. Very tender and served with ribbons of mustard along side that added just the right bite. I think there were five slices, maybe six, to start with so you can see that it was a pretty healthy serving.

I ordered duck with some kind of a tart berry sauce and it was fantastic. Really tender with a nicely crisped skin. Even the mashed potatoes that it came with were tasty and they weren't instant.

Delicious Duck

The Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered the veal saltimbuca with couscous and it was delicious as well.

Saltimbuca With Couscous

It was exceptionally tender with a very flavorful sauce. The couscous was the large kind but it was done just right. A bit of a crunch on the outside but nice and soft inside.

All and all it was a most excellent meal and I wouldn't hesitate to go back again. As I said, the portions were large so we asked for a doggy bag. They packed everything up in a separate container instead of lumping it all together, which was thoughtful. I ate the duck cold the next day and it was still great. The veal held up to the microwave just fine too.

Oh, the bread basket was good too. My favorite was a rye bread roll with raisins and nuts inside. It came with a herb butter. They also set out a little plate of mixed olives.

You can find Riviera Grill & Sushi at 3100 Ocean Parkway just a block or so back of the boardwalk and only a block or two from the subway stop. A bit out of the way, perhaps, depending upon where you live. But you can always stop at The International, the biggest and most popular Russian deli in New York, on the way home and pick up some exotic treats that you aren't likely to find anywhere else. They also have a large selection of Russian beers.

As you can see, my plan to let the crowds thin out worked just fine.

No Crowds

And just like that, the Q train arrived to take us almost home.

Right On The Dot, The Q

We transferred at Atlantic Avenue, although we could have walked from there. We had been walking enough though.

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