While our mom was quite hesitant to give this place a chance, because of it's location, brother-in-law & I were able to convice her. Parking is street side, just like many of the "houses turned restaurants" in Tempe and Phoenix. I liked the terra cotta painted exterior, the stained glass windows in the front, the tchotchke wall decor and large colorful mural inside. (Note: The front desk is situated within an arms reach from the front door. It's a tight squeeze. Perhaps if they had the doors left open and against the walls, this set up wouldn't be cramped.)
All the "Black Friday" bargain shoppers surely flocked to the new shopping center, so we had the place to ourselves. That was perfect, since we wanted to avoid a long wait & a crowd. We arrived a little after 1pm and they end their lunch hours at 2pm.
Everything on the Lunch and Dinner menu was open for us to order from. Mind you, the waitress explained they are planning on changing the menu soon...So, the food we ate today, might not be on the menu tomorrow.
We ordered for appetizers crab&salmon cakes with spicy Thai peanut sauce and Hummus with grilled pita triangles. The cakes were nicely cooked, not overcooked, lightly crispy on the outside. if you like things uber crispy, then you might not like these. Mom & I enjoyed the little side veggies & peanut sauce. if you come just by yourself. You could make the Crab & Salmon Cakes as a little meal. The texture & taste of the Hummus was just right and fresh and plenty to share with our family of 5.
We also were served slices of warm crusty bread with EVOO/balsamic, that the waitress refilled for us later too. Hubby had a tomato bisque arrive that went with his Bacon Bleu Cheese Kobe burger. The bisque had a nice balsamic drizzle for presentation & great texture and was not overly salted. Hubby liked dredging his bread in it as well.
Our food arrived shortly after we finished off the appetizers. Hubby sliced the burger in half & saved the other for take-home. (We were all starting to feel full before the entrees arrived.) He liked the meat - said it was good, but that he realized he's not a fan of the strong taste of Bleu Cheese. They do offer the Kobe burger with grilled onions instead.
Brother Ray loves pesto pasta, so he ordered the Chicken Dijon with penna pasta & cilantro pesto. He was disappointed with it, because he was invisioning more pesto. In hind sight, I suppose we could have asked for a side of pesto sauce.
BIL tasted a bite of my Indian Curried Chicken and instantly wished he'd ordered that instead. I love all kinds of curry dishes and am not snooty or picky about it. I rather enjoyed my dish, and loved alternating bites with the variety of sides offered with the plate. I read some people's reviews about the veggies being "mushy", but, I found that in this curry dish, I enjoyed the soft yellow squash, onions and zucini slices. I think if they were crunchy or more firm, that it'd be wierd in a curry dish. They did have one piece of brocolli for garnish that was appropriately firm.
Dad on the other hand was turned off by the idea of fruit with the curry, so he ordered the Coconut Curry Shrimp served in a coconut shell instead. This dish gets high points for presentation and for the size & quantity of shrimp. Dad counted 7 large shrimp. Dad tasted the Indian Curry and decided he liked coconut with his curry better.
Mom, the one who was the least excited to eat here, enjoyed her choice of Mustard Crusted Salmon (with the same pesto pasta). She didn't care for the vinegary & salty taste of the olive tepanad, but I happily ate it for her. Mom said the salmon preperation was nice/cooked just right. She's not a fan of heavy dishes, not really a big pasta eater, and would have loved veggies, so for those reasons she still likes the grilled salmon at Red Lobster. There are several other Salmon entrees to choose from here, including a Wild Grilled Salmon, which perhaps she would have been a closer comparison for mom to try.
Overall, our experience was above average for local small (non-chain) Yuma restaurants and give this place a thumbs up from each of us. I'm already eyeing the spicy cajun Seafood Gumbo, the Pistachio Crusted Salmon with goat cheese ravioli, black beans & chipotle sauce. On our next holiday in Yuma, we'd eat here again for sure!
River City Grill
River City Grill
600 W. 3rd St.