Sunday, May 17, 2015

Riverhouse Reef & Grill, Palmetto, FL

Riverhouse Reef & Grill is an attractive, dog-friendly (outdoors) venue with better-than-average, reasonably priced typical Florida fare.  The wide al fresco dining deck is a nicely-shaded oasis for catching a river breeze and watching the yachts go by.  An easy shot down I-75, it's a pleasing alternative for those in Southeast Hillsborough county seeking a waterfront dining destination.

Our server was sweet and helpful, if not terribly attentive...but our party of four was in no particular hurry to tear ourselves from the chill vibe of the place on a Sunday afternoon, so her pace suited us perfectly.  The menu runs the gamut from burgers, sandwiches and salads to fresh seafood entrees, island ribs and steaks, but everyone seemed to be in a pescatarian state of mind on our visit.

UD's seared Ahi Tuna Tacos were glistening and fresh-tasting, and served with shredded lettuce, cheese, pico de gallo and cilantro lime aioli.  Slaw was deemed crunchy and delightful with a vinegar-based dressing.

It's tough for me not to choose grouper when it's available (which it was), but I was tempted by the $10 Corona Beach Fish Sandwich (beer-battered Atlantic whitefish topped with slaw and remoulade sauce) which did not disappoint.  The fish portion was huge, sweet, lightly breaded and fried to perfection.  Served on a good bun, the slaw topper was a nice addition.  The sandwich came with a choice of one side and the french fries, while likely of the frozen and bagged variety, were a quality product and served hot and crispy.

My pal, Candy, zeroed in on the Kickin' Shrimp Tacos, made in the same style as the Ahi Tuna Tacos only with fried shrimp prepared in a Bonefish-esque "Bang Bang Shrimp" application that boasted a nice surge of heat on the back end.

Our other dining companion took a somewhat healthier route with Butterfish (Alaskan Black Cod marinated in sweetened rice wine and sake, then broiled until caramelized and topped with tropical salsa).  The fish did indeed have the texture of butter and was served with a side of steamed veggies and a pink, creamy cloud of old-school Fruit Ambrosia (not pictured in this photo) for an additional $2.50.

The boyz in our party practically brawled over that Ambrosia.  Remember this awesome stuff?  Photo credit goes to  

Both beautiful and affordable, Riverhouse Reef & Grill is a worthy destination that offers much to satisfy a wide variety of palates.  While there's nothing cutting-edge going on the kitchen, food is well-prepared and tasty, portions are generous and prices won't break the bank.

Riverhouse Reef & Grill on Urbanspoon

My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.

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