Setting the Table
An historic Conway destination since ’94, Rivertown Bistro is still bustling with business. The Lowcountry cuisine is fusion gourmet and the menu is huge. Personally, I don’t know how a restaurant can effectively send out fresh food when the menu is so extensive but Rivertown manages to do so…most of the time.
Rivertown Bistro does have a bistro feel with the large plate glass window view of the sidewalk, two stories of seating, a narrow bar area and a section for waiting for your lunch companion. Booths and tables are comfortable and waitstaff personable. A really nice date restaurant.
Down the Hatch
As mentioned, the menu is quite extensive with a bit of variance in lunch and dinner menus. The wine and cocktail lists offer an ample selection as well.
The lunch menu has a Blue Plate Special for $9 (except $10 on Saturday) with items such as Meatloaf with Marsala wild mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes or a Big Chicken biscuit (with egg, bacon, tomato and cheese) and sausage gravy. Sushi is a popular segment of the menu with large rolls being between $6-$10. Twelve salads, such as Fried oyster spinach salad with blackened green tomatoes for $11 or Fried goat cheese with roasted beets, candied orange and carrot (at $9), that is dressed with an orange cranberry vinaigrette, are creatively designed. Appetizers include Pimiento cheesecake or Cajun shrimp ($9 each), among others. The Bistro has sandwiches at lunch (not dinner) with a couple that really piqued my interest - Fried Flounder with Granny Smith apple Arugula - $11 or a Monte Cristo (turkey, ham, bacon, provolone, on Hawaiian bread, egg battered then grilled with maple berry glaze at $10) and some Specialties or Entrees cross over on the menu for lunch and dinner, such as Pasta Carbonara and Shrimp Lo Mein.
My friend and I had the General Tso sushi roll and hot Crab dip for starters. The General Tso roll had the soy wrapper which was very nice (softer with a lighter flavor than the Nori seaweed wrap) and that famous sweet and spicy glaze that people associate with General Tso chicken. The fried chicken inside was crisp and delicious.
The Hot crab dip was plain and slightly bland but comforting and offered with a generous portion of toasted bread. I ordered Blackened green tomatoes, which the waitress forgot to bring. I was hoping to try that side.
I received Shrimp and Jalapeno Grit cakes as my entrée for lunch. Excellent. The shrimp was cooked perfectly. The sauce was hot and flavorful and just the right amount of sausage. My friend ordered the Beef Croissant, which was served with a tubetti pasta salad (a whole pickled okra atop) and sweet potato chips. The sandwich was really good but the pasta in the salad was mushy and it seemed as though the pasta salad had not been freshly made. The sweet potato chips had a slight burnt taste. I was happy with my lunch but would not have been with hers.
The service was good but not perfect. I had to ask for more iced tea and, again, the waitress forgot the blackened green tomatoes. All in all, a good meal with great atmosphere.
Rivertown Bistro has some desserts that differ from many dessert menus’ offerings (except the classic Crème Brulee and Key lime pie) such as Coffee Tower, a chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse and toffee for $6 and Pumpkin S’mores cheesecake with a charge of $7.
My bill was $42 for a sushi roll, crab dip, a roast beef croissant and shrimp and grit cakes.