Having spent way too much time over the last year cooped up in this house, we decided that we needed to start getting the hell out of the house more often. As we like to do with all decisions of serious import, we acted on it immediately by getting out for a quick nibble this evening.
We were originally going to go to Olives on North Main Street, but when we pulled into the parking space in the lot by the Secretary of State building, I noticed that we were right by the kitchen door of New Rivers. Our friend Emory can’t speak highly enough about the place, so since we were right there, we decided that fate was speaking to us and gave it a try.
There was a party of ten due to come in shortly after we arrived, so we were seated in the little bar area off to the side of the main dining room. It was a cute little room with a nice assortment of decorative pears of various shapes and sizes up on the plate rail in the back of the room. I was especially enamoured with the dried grape vines hung from the ceiling and strung with white christmas lights. The room has a nice cozy atmosphere.
We weren’t ravenously hungry, so we opted for light fare. We decided on three appetizer courses to be brought out in succession. We started with the heirloom tomato plate special. There were four different kinds of tomatos: delicious little cherry tomatos, a gorgeous purple variety of roma tomato, a delectable yellow variety and beefsteak style red. Along with the tomatoes came a couple of pieces of their artisan bread topped with a rich pesto which was a terrific compliment.
Next up was the mussels in white wine broth with lotus pod slices and lemongrass. The mussels were perfectly done and the broth was heavenly. The lotus pod slices were an interesting companion. I wasn’t sure if they were meant strictly as garnish, but I figured that since they were in the bowl they ought to be tried. We found them to be starchy, like a potato. Perhaps someone should market them as an alternative to potato chips.
We finished off our trio of appetizers meal with the rare sesame seared tuna with wasabi vinaigrette on asian slaw. We were already getting full after the first two courses, so we were glad to see that tuna was sliced quite thin. A big slab of tuna would have been too imposing. The asian slaw with its ginger infused dressing made for a perfect mate for the tuna.
The service was excellent, very attentive yet non-intrusive, my favorite. Things started to get crowded as we wrapped up with the third course, so we got our check, paid and cleared out. There was another couple waiting at the bar and we didn’t want to camp on a table when we were just having a quick appetizer meal.
It was quite nice to get out, if only for a couple of hours. Time to start making more of a habit of it.