Sunday, September 25, 2011
110 Old River Road
We’ll be up front with you from the get go- we moved this review way up in our schedule. The reason is simple: this deck has one of the better Cumberland River views in the Nashville area and, given the time of year, to fully enjoy it you’re going to have to visit soon. The May Floods of 2010 left many a business ruined. The Riverview Restaurant and Marina arose from the soggy devastation in a grand rebuilding that quite frankly is light years beyond the original. Not only did owners Walt and Lori Randolph jack up the restaurant to survive future high water, they added a huge deck, a vaulted ceiling dining room and did it all in style. The roof of the deck is almost cathedral-like in construction and finished on the upper-interior in dark wood. The result is more than pleasant al-fresco dining.
We enjoyed a crisp evening on the deck with our good friends Jerry and Kelly and a bucket of beer.
The food probably does take a bit of a backseat to the new digs. The Riverview is a marina catfish joint at heart and they do a good job for the most part. The delicate batter and fry leave the fish to do the talking. One visit finds the catfish to be well-cooked and moist and another visit has a companion declaring it a bit dry. They nail hush puppies on every visit with a slightly sweet flavor and light texture. Bobbers are a house specialty. They’re a hush puppy-like fried ball of grits, bacon, cheese and garlic. If that’s sounds heavy it’s actually not. They have a smoky and slightly spicy flavor that works. Another dining companion enjoyed them paired with garlic-wine shrimp. The menu is split between meat and fish options. The redneck taco brings together the catfish filets with chow-chow and slaw. The mix of flavor and the corn tortillas make them a winner with any name. The meat side of things includes a ribeye. It’s a decent cut and was cooked to specification. The brown sugar butter served with the baked sweet potato is a bit over the top. The sides may not get the attention they need. Baked potatoes were pronounced overcooked by most at the table. White beans were typical and boring.
Veggie Eater: This is not a veggie eater’s paradise, but I am happy to tag along with meat and fish eaters, if for nothing else than the view. There’s something quintessentially relaxing and hypnotizing about eating and drinking next to water. I could watch tug boats, barges, weekend skippers, and carp (I’m like a 5 years old kid, pronouncing, “Look, fish!!!”-you can imagine what it was like for my companions travelling with me in Ireland…) all day long and never be worried about the food. That’s a good thing because it’s slim pickings here. The menu proudly boasts that most veggie side items are slow cooked with bacon. The appetizers are meat and fish heavy. This left me with a grilled cheese sandwich and salad bar on my first visit and a loaded baked potato and salad bar on my second. I’m not sure even a five year old kid would be thrilled with the grilled cheese; it’s a single slice of American cheese not even fully melted. I’m fine with a baked potato with a little crispness to the skin, so I didn’t mind the loaded baked potato at all; not interesting, but filling. The salad bar is tiny with only traditional toppings, but I’ve never met a salad bar I didn’t like. Sometimes the veggie eater just has to take one for the team, and with surroundings like this (and reasonably priced buckets of beer), I don’t mind at all.
Meat Eater: The Riverview is located just across the Cumberland River from downtown Ashland City. It’s a half-hour drive from downtown Nashville. These folks know how to handle big crowds. We arrived at 6 p.m. on a Friday to find a packed parking lot and surprisingly a short wait. We quickly found ourselves seated and served. The waitresses on both occasions were excellent. We’ll be back and probably soon. We want another run at that deck before fall comes to a close.
We paid $25 with tax and tip for lunch and $58 for dinner and beer.