Riverside Liquors & Village Wine Shop isn’t just a store that meets all of your adult beverage needs: When you step to the back of this alcohol wonderland, you discover a cozy space that reps a beautiful cocktail list with unusual items, and a menu full of variety.
If you haven’t yet stopped in to check out Riverside Liquor’s selection, rethink that. There’s everything you could possibly want, including specialty items like pours of Pappy Van Winkle, fragrant walnut liqueur and deluxe Luxardo cherries, as well as the usual suspects like your favorite red and white wines and chilled beer ready for the party.
The restaurant area features a rustic-yet-somehow elegant horseshoe-shaped bar, with a foundation of huge beer barrels, showcasing a massive selection of spirits, wines and beers. The menu features innovative small apps, some larger menu items, and salads and desserts. To start, we chose Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp ($8) and Chorizo-Stuffed Dates ($6, four to a plate). The shrimp were succulent morsels wrapped in a slice of perfectly crisp bacon. The stuffed dates, also wrapped in bacon — that’s a thing here, bacon-wrapping — were complemented by the slight tang and sweetness of the St. Germain-infused cranberry jelly addition.
The two apps were the perfect companions to several of the reasonably priced and inventive signature cocktails on the herbaceous cocktail menu, from the ever-popular light Sunburnt Hummingbird ($8) to the spicy Irelander ($8) whiskey cocktail. The Hummingbird, a light, refreshing concoction with a hint of lime, excels in fruitiness without being too sweet. The Irelander surprises with a nice fiery jalapeno kick.
Up next was the Fig & Olive Tapenade cream cheese layered torte ($7), which was a vision in white. The flawlessly piped, bright cream cheese swirls popped between dark layers of dried figs and olive tapenade. Eat it with a fork, or slather it on some warm housemade fresh bread.
The Riverside Liquors Deviled Egg Flight ($6) sees your #squadgoals and raises the stakes, because if there’s ever a deviled egg squad, this is what it would look like. In four varieties — Cobb, traditional, pickled tequila, hummus — each egg is tastier than the last, and always selfie-ready.
One of the dishes we were most excited about, the fragrant spiced Lamb Meatballs ($12) entrée, has a ring of tomato sauce, and a dollop of yogurt dill and includes fresh bread. The rich, fennel-scented tomato sauce is as far away from Prego as you can get. After the meatballs vanished, I was thankful for the warmed slices of bread left on the plate — sopping up every drop looked more elegantly ladylike. The generous portion of yogurt dill sauce balanced out the salty lamb with a cooling finish.
From the “Happy Endings” dessert menu, we chose the attention-grabbing St. Germain Pears ($5). The sliced pears were poached with the famous elderflower liqueur, and the inclusion of housemade ginger snaps and a hearty spoonful of elderflower cranberry jelly completed the bliss.
Looking for a great local neighborhood spot? It’s all right there at Riverside Liquors. Bring your friends, take a date and bask in the no-TV, no-WiFi zone. It’s down to you and your conversation over playful, fresh food and drinks.