When I hear the phrase “New Orleans Riverfront”, the river that springs to mind is NOT the Congaree. Nonetheless, that’s where I found myself for dinner for my first night in Columbia. The New Orleans Riverfront Restaurant turned out to be a nice find away from the hustle of the Altavista madness in downtown.
The building itself is an unassuming white edifice overlooking the Congaree River and the Gervais Street Bridge. The place looks like it has some age on it – not run down, but well established. The interior is simple. There are tables and white walls. One section is lined with windows for a view across the river.
I wish I had a bit more information about the history. It looks like it predates much of the revitalization that is taking place in the area. If that is the case, then they must be doing something right in order to have been around for as long as they have.
The menu is quite extensive, with a wide variety of appetizers, salads, and entree’s. There are several types of jamabalaya, depending on the type of meat included. There are also seafood selections and steak. The prices seem quite reasonable, for the most part staying between $10 – $20.
I started with a martini and a cup of the lobster bisque. My martini was loaded up with no less than six olives – a true olive delivery system. The bisque was great, with nice light flavors that blended without overpowering. Even so, I was glad I had just gotten a cup instead of the bowl. It was filling.
I wasn’t expecting a salad to accompany the meal. If I had, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the lobster bisque. Regardless, the salad was fairly standard.
Next came the main course. I had ordered the jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, scallops, and sausage. I had my choice as to how spicy I wanted it. I opted for medium, but it could have used a bit more fire. Other than that, it was quite delicious, and extremely filling. I couldn’t finish all of it, especially since I was trying to save a little room for dessert.
Speaking of dessert, I ordered apple pie a la mode and a cup of coffee. As with the rest of the meal, it was great. I couldn’t finish it though, as much as I might would have liked.
As a single person dining, once is often ignored while larger groups get more attention. That certainly wasn’t the case this evening. All of the food came out in a timely manner – not too slow and not too fast. My waitress was wonderfully hospitable, and made sure I had anything and everything I needed. (Remember the extra olives in the martini?) The service was pleasant and efficient without being too attentive.
Next time were back in Columbia I’m going to suggest this to Laura as a possibility. She’s not a fan of New Orleans cuisine, but there are so many options on the menu that it shouldn’t be a problem. The food was fantastic, the service was great, and the prices weren’t pretentiously high.