Riverpark: American, With A View


The first sign that the newest Tom Colicchio restaurant in New York City is going to be a little different pops up the moment we step out of the cab at 29th and First.

The desolate street is so brightly lit it feels like we've dropped into an oddly quiet lull in a tense Cold War movie. It is discombobulating, to be sure — especially when we spy a sentry eying us suspiciously. He points, indicating that we should just keep walking down the road. And soon enough, signs of life appear when another uniformed guard toddles out of a tall metal building. The man is frantic, waving his hands and saying over and over, "NO pictures allowed."

This is a science park, after all, and Alexandria Building, the structure we've been snapping, houses a host of biotech tenants such as ImClone, the subsidiary of pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly that handles cancer research. The tenseness and growing paranoia persist until you walk across the stark silver lobby and come upon the warm glow of a sign that says "Riverpark."

And that's when you start to feel relieved. You're in the right place after all. Your camera hasn't been ripped from your hands and stomped on. Scully and Mulder haven't appeared. (Not that Mulder would be an unwelcome presence.) You've not been grabbed, shoved into a black sedan and spirited away.

You step into the restaurant and quintessential Colicchio starts to take over…

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Cowgirl Sea-Horse: Fish So Good It's Got To Be Bad For You


It’s always a little unfair to judge a restaurant based on its first week out the gate — kinks still have to be worked out; the kitchen may not have found its rhythm yet.

Judging from a visit to Cowgirl Sea-Horse just days after it opened, it’s a place well worth checking out. If things are only expected to get better after the first week, well, let’s just say they’re already pretty darn satisfying.

This new seafood outpost of the popular Cowgirl in the West Village has the same Southwestern flavor and Steel Magnolia bartenders that the original restaurant does. But it offers slightly different fare from the chicken-fried steaks and smoked barbecue ribs that have been mainstay of Cowgirl for decades.

On the menu are $12 to $14 seafood gumbos, fish tacos and shrimp cornettas (crispy cones filled with shrimp). Like Cowgirl, it does a good job at what it does — uncomplicated comfort food. One thread links the two restaurants: there’s an awful lot of fried in both places.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

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