RiverHouse continues a regional tradition
By Christopher Malone
After reading about the RiverHouse Restaurant’s history on its website, it’s hard to ignore the resilience of businesses that once sat at that location, at 4818 Salina St. in Pulaski.
For over 200 years, this spot has been dedicated to hospitality in the form of taverns, hotels, hat boutiques and eateries.
At times, the establishments were renovated to accommodate the growing businesses. Other times, the premises succumbed to fires — four times over — and had to be rebuilt.
RiverHouse continues this longstanding tradition of Pulaski toughness with enduring another year of a pandemic, offering takeaway and dine-in experiences in a safe, well-maintained dining environment. For those who love to enjoy their meals al fresco, outdoor seating is also available.
Located literally a stone’s throw — OK, perhaps more of a smaller, heftier rock — away from a scenic view of the Salmon River, RiverHouse offers as much of a comforting experience in a casual atmosphere. (I felt “at home” seeing the New York Giants sign below the bar’s television.) The menu has something for everyone with a variety of starters and salads to burgers and sandwiches to entrees and pasta dishes.
Choosing the coconut shrimp ($14) and pot stickers ($12) to start the meal were immediate decisions. The former featured five large, coconut-breaded shrimp with garlic chili sauce for dipping.
The coconut is seared to a crisp brown and the combination of flavors, especially with the garlic sauce, is really delicious. Plus, there’s enough of the sauce to be overly generous when dipping.
Although I didn’t enjoy the pot stickers as much as the shrimp, it’s still not a bad thing. The pork-filled stickers had good flavor, thanks to the pork, but the coat leaned on the chewier side than crispier. The sticker is enhanced when dipped in either the sweet chili sauce or the creamy sriracha mayo. Eight pot stickers are served, too, which is definitely ideal for sharing.
The hot honey crispy chicken sandwich ($14) was a spontaneous decision. The southern-style and lightly fried chicken was super flavorful and tender.
Be not afraid of the name because it’s not overly spicy. It has a very subtle heat that is balanced by the sweet pickles beneath the piece of chicken. Overall, it was very light fare for a chicken sandwich, even with a brioche bun.
The sandwich came as-is and without lettuce, tomato, or onion. I’m sure if you request to have these added, RiverHouse will surely provide them.
Each burger or sandwich comes with a choice of side, and fries, a generous mound, were incredibly crispy.
My original plan of getting the seafood platter was deterred by the list of specials, particularly the peaches and bacon scallops ($28). Four seared scallops sat atop a medium-thick creamy sauce featuring pieces of bacon and fresh peaches.
Reading the description got me curious. Seeing it come out and served to another patron — the woman who actually painted the interior of RiverHouse, I came to find out — made it even more enticing. Enjoying the entrée, however, made me regret nothing. Was any saved for leftovers? No way.
The large scallops were gently seared to golden brown and easily chewable. The sauce with the peaches and bacon was incredibly delicious food harmony — sweet enough and unapologetically savory at the same time. It all came together for a memorable entree.
Each entrée came with two sides. I opted for brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. The sprouts were how I personally love them: charred a little bit and still brilliant green. The mashed potatoes were also to my personal liking: soft, a smidge creamy, and with shreds of skin.
The filet tips ($20) entree surprisingly affordable, especially with the portion of meat and the two sides (coleslaw and fries). Why did I get more fries instead of onion rings? I don’t know. My mistakes prove I’m human. The coleslaw was notable with thick cuts of iceberg lettuce (opposed to shreds) in a very light mayo dressing that pooled a little bit.
The fries were as consistent and as plentiful as the last pile. The tips were also consistent. I asked for them medium rare and each piece of meat I cut in half was unmistakably medium rare. I did several times over out of disbelief; there was no way, I thought, these various-sized bits could be that consistent. But they were.
Before tip, and save the $7 beer added in, the total came to a reasonable $105 and change.
I also have to give kudos to the staff, who were friendly, talkative and hospitable.
After driving past RiverHouse several times in the last few years, it was nice to eat in and enjoy what they have to offer.
4818 Salina St., Pulaski, NY 13142
315-509-4281 | riverhouserestaurant.net
Sun. – Mon.: Closed
Tues. – Sat.: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.