Pete Wells visits the recently reopened River Café this week, where he finds that owner Buzzy O'Keefe has given the 36 year-old floating restaurant a "museum-quality restoration" following its destruction in Hurricane Sandy. Chef Brad Steelman hasn't changed much since William Grimes first reviewed it 12 years ago, but that's not necessarily a bad thing:
His main ingredients are almost always good enough to be their own special effects. For his shrimp Oscar, he sets hollandaise boosted with blood-orange juice against beautifully sweet Pacific blue shrimp and meaty white lumps of crab. In another appetizer called Three Shells, strips of abalone dunked in a yuzu-kaffir bath and firm little kumamoto oysters in a classic mignonette had the shining immediacy of great seafood, too, even if the third shell, Taylor Bay scallops ceviche, didn't quite keep up.