The first hurtle in getting to Tom Colicchio’s new restaurant Riverpark is convincing your taxi driver that it exists. Ours had to be coaxed to drive through the imposing metal gates on First Avenue towards the river, perhaps unconvinced he wasn’t heading right into the maw of Bellevue. When we arrived, we found a brand new industrial park where the wind whipped in from the river. The metal and glass building lobby had all the warmth of the set of Gattica, and beyond that, the hangar-sized, spotlit restaurant itself wasn’t much cozier.
Alas, we were in for another episode of When Bad Spaces Happen to Good Chefs. Though we came in rooting for ‘wichcraft chef Sisha Ortuzar, who has plied us all these years with delicious sandwiches of roast pork with jalapenos and white anchovies with warm egg, the jarringly chilly space did not put us at ease. One of the reasons we chose this restaurant for dinner with out-of-town friends was for the view, though this is visible mainly from the bar area, and the Williamsburg waterfront isn’t all that impressive. But it’s good to have at least one geographical reference, or you might wonder, as D. said, “Are we in Dallas?” (more…)