The ingenuity of our local restaurateurs continues to surprise and delight us! The other night we checked out the new River Tavern Grill, set up behind Otto in Chester. A festive sailcloth tent greeted us with twinkly lights and cafe chairs in RT’s signature orange. It’s a mashup between the infamous Dinners at the Farm and a secret garden, with chef Jonathan Rapp at the helm. There’s no denying that Rapp established the farm-to-table trend here almost 20 years ago, and lots of local chefs got their start in his kitchen. Here, he’s back to his roots, with a limited but luscious menu of grilled local meats and seafood.
The starter of Summer Vegetable Caponata with local Liuzza mozzarella brought me straight back to idyllic evenings at Dinners on the Farm. A large portion of perfectly grilled chicken with charred pepper crema and summer squash ragout was simple and fantastic (and plenty for lunch the next day). My daughter supped on RT’s famous Uriah Lewis farm burger with all the fixings: bacon, cheddar cheese, and jalapeño aioli. Tempting salads, their ridiculous guac and chips, Stonington scallops, and wood-fired filet mignon rounded out the offerings. As is their custom, the menu will change daily, depending on what’s fresh off the farm.
You definitely won’t feel like you’re dining in a parking lot here. The wood RT tables are scattered among plantings, stone walls, and lush greenery. There’s plenty of room for social distancing, and it’s fun to see the chef in action. We’ve spent many family celebrations at River Tavern over the years, and this new iteration feels just as special. I hope it comes a permanent part of the dining scene in Chester.
See more info on RT’s FB page here.