Welcome! We're on a mission to expose (in a good way) all the bestest eats around New Braunfels, Texas!
Delicious Pinot Noir on the Porch
We thought it would be fitting to start things off on an epic note. One to grab your attention and kiiiinda kick you in the gut with how much you would like to eat the edibles we wrote about. So, we thought a dinner at The River House, would be the AbsoLuTely perfect place to start. We took it even a step further though and managed to get a table to one of their amazingly creative, curated, multi-course dinners that they put on once a month.
River House hosts set course dinners and also wine dinners with pre-set multi-courses, each carefully selected to go with a wine that a sommelier waxes eloquent on as you sip (so that the noobs among us can know what "notes" to muse to our neighbor on while carefully swirling and sipping). There is no spitting though at this "tasting". Oh no. The wine dinner we attended quickly became a room full of incredibly happy, loud, slightly tipsy diners, sharing smiles and laughs.
Each of River House's set dinners is different and depends on the season and whim of the chef (with owner approval). The Valentine's set dinner was no different in that way but beautiful in its own.
Smoked Duck Spring Rolls with Clementine Mustard
For the appetizer, we chose the Smoked Duck Spring Rolls. They actually surprised us by splitting, once disturbed, into four individual pieces that had been positioned vertically into a beautiful, clover shape covered with fresh watercress. It had a very full-feeling, fatty bite with a bit of crisp crunch from the fried outside and the clementine mustard, drizzled oh, so artfully, cut through the fattiness with its acid, vinegary-sour note.
Saffron Tomato Bisque
The second course we chose was the saffron tomato bisque. It had a tangy intense tomato flavor and the savory parmesan on top lent a bit of umami. We tasted hints of it being cooked with some sort of seafood, adding to the complex flavors. It was delicious, very creamy but bright, we could have very easily eaten it as our main course (and then some).
Cocoa Black Peppercorn Crusted Filet with Asparagus, Cauliflower Puree, and Smoked Black Cherry Hollandaise.
The Cocoa Black Peppercorn Filet had some intense spice (which we are all about) and we adored the smoked black cherry hollandaise sauce.
The star of the show in our opinion was the Coconut Sweet CORN Creme Brûlée with Rasberry Mint Jam though! As you can see, we weren't even able to get a picture before finishing almost half. Or more than half. Whatever. The point is it was fantastic.
More interesting than a classic Creme Brûlée, the coconut blended subtly and wasn't overpowering, which (in my opinion), happens very easily. I would have liked there to be a bit more of a caramelized shell on top, but what it lacked there, it more than made up for with the Raspberry Mint Jam.
Coconut Sweet Corn Creme Brûlée with Raspberry Mint Jam
OMIGOSH that JAM!! Our family bakes thumbprint cookies every Christmas, and we stuff each tiny thumbprint with jam, so that after baking we will have as much of that ridiculously condensed sweetness, with its slight caramelization and chewy texture as is humanly possible. It's heaven.
That chewy jam happened on the Brulee! I guess when they blow torched the granulated sugar on top (or put it under the broiler), it also affected the jam the same way. It was to die for and the chewiness added something I didn't even know was missing from the original firm custard and crunchy bite of Brulee's. All Brulee's need a dollop of Rasberry Mint Jam, or whatever your favorite jam is, from now on.
The River House at dusk
We loved our dinner and the atmosphere at River House. While the dinner was great, the service and staff were amazing as well. Even when we accidentally made a lightbulb explode. Didn't bat an eye. We sure did, but they were continually THE sweetest, and most professional.
We'll be sure to come back soon.
The River House is a New American, Southern Restaurant with locally sourced ingredients, in Gruene, Texas.
If you're interested in attending the next Sommelier led wine dinner it will be held on March 24th.
The River House is starting a new "Supper and a Song" series at the end of March. Every Sunday evening in the Spring, Musicians will tell stories and sing songs live on the shady, open-air porch while you enjoy your dinner and drinks.
Other dishes that we have had and loved here were the meatloaf, made from a daily ground mix of sirloin, tenderloin, and brisket sourced locally from Beeman Ranch's Heartbrand Akaushi Beef (their burgers are the same blend). We also loved their almond crusted trout with a lemon cream sauce.