River Bend Bistro & Wine Bar – Celebrating 10 Years!
By the Gastronomes
Ten years ago this month, Bill Ross and Caroline Bruder Ross opened River Bend Bistro & Wine Bar. Both Bill and Caroline are well known in Old Town as Bill was a partner in Letter Comm Type and Caroline was cheffing in some of Washington’s well-known establishments. As their dream began to take shape, they looked around to find a suitable building to open their restaurant. They ended up choosing a part of the former Village Wharf Restaurant in the Hollin Hall Shopping center in the Mount Vernon area of Alexandria.
As Bill began to put all of the financing together, Caroline began working on the menu. The end result was a perfect fit all the way around – flavorful offerings with something for every palate without being overwhelming, perfect portions and a very reasonable price point.
On October 21, 2013 they opened their doors.
Notwithstanding the headaches involved with the buildout, their opening was a great success and they have had a very successful ten years. The menu features Snacks, Starters, Entrees, a nice choice of sides and some impressive desserts.
They kick the menu off with eight Snacks featuring three flat breads: Hot Italian Sausage, Wild Mushroom and Parmesan – Oven Dried Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Roasted Garlic – grilled Radicchio and gorgonzola w/balsamic glaze. Rounding out the Starters are Caramelized Onion Tater Tots, Sweet Potato Biscuits with Edward’s Country Ham and daily cheese and charcuterie selections. East Coast Oysters on the Half Shell are on the Fall menu as well.
The Starters feature 3 salads, Vitello Tonnato, Roasted Honeynut Squash Soup, Crispy Duck Confit w/frisee salad and Smoked Oyster Dip. There is also a Soup of Day offering.
The Dinner menu includes choices ranging from Smoked Pork Chops, Pan Seared Scallops, Grilled Fillet of Salmon, Sauteed Crab Cakes, Roasted Duck Breast to Roasted Chicken Breast with fresh Tagliatelle Pasta, Cotswold Mac and Cheese, Today’s Risotto and Grilled Shoulder Tenderloin. All entrees are served with a side and prices range from $12 to $28.
Most of our visits are for lunch so that we can visit our friend Kathy Coombs who tends bar Wednesday through Friday days. That being said, we are very familiar with that menu. Lunch Entrees include a few of the dinner offerings along with their very popular Cheddar Cheeseburger, a Liverwurst Sandwich and the House smoked Eye of Round Sandwich, Tagliatelle Pasta to Poached Salmon and Grilled Ham and Brie Sandwich. River Bend also offers a special each day and if you are lucky, you will be there when it is Shrimp and Grits.
They also offer seven different desserts highlighted by their Seasonal Fruit Cobbler and Rosemary Olive Oil Cake, and as it says on the menu…It’s Delicious, Trust Me!
River Bend’s Brunch is very popular as well. We decided to take some friends on that rainy Sunday when the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia were coming through. We figured we wouldn’t have to wait for a table since most sane people were staying home. We got there early and did indeed get seated immediately but they were filling up as we left.
As with the Dinner and Lunch menus they offer the aforementioned Snacks and Starters. Their Entrees start off with the expected 2 Eggs Any Style, with Bacon or Sausage and Home Fries for $10 and Traditional Eggs Benedict for $12. The Ike – Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Pickled Red Onion, Capers and a Fried Egg on Toasted Rye Bread for $15. Waffles (Mom’s recipe) with Maple Syrup and Sausage, Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Bacon for $8. The Wild Mushroom Omelette is $12. The non-breakfast items are five selections from the lunch menu…Cheeseburger, Liverwurst Sandwich, Eve Round sandwich, Tagliatelle Pasta and Cotswold Mac and Cheese.
I ordered their special which was Steak and Eggs. Two perfectly cooked over easy eggs with a nice ribeye and toast. The eggs were very good and the steak was exceptional…medium rare and very tender. The ladies ordered Eggs Benedict and my pal ordered 2 Eggs, etc. We are very particular about eggs benedict and they never disappoint at River Bend.
Check their web site for a complete and comprehensive menu.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that service at this establishment. The dynamic duo of Non and Antonio were on the floor during our visit. They work together like a well-oiled machine. Friendly, attentive and efficient.
Bill and Caroline have realized their goal of serving good food at a fair price and compliments their menu with a large selection of good wines. Caroline knows her wine inside and out and has chosen an impressive selection with a price point that fits everyone’s budget.
If you haven’t been, give River Bend Bistro a try for dinner, lunch or brunch or just stop in for a friendly cocktail at the bar. There is plenty of FREE parking. Be sure to tell them Happy Anniversary and that you read about it in the Old Town Crier.
River Bend Bistro
7966 Fort Hunt Road
Hollin Hall Shopping Center