The name says it all. The RiverHouse Inn in Williamston is a charming house that sits right on the Red Cedar River.AMBIENCE The hardwood floors, large windows, coved ceilings and numerous fireplaces add to its cozy and quaint atmosphere. In the spring and summer, the restaurant has an outdoor patio and bar with full food service where you can take in the beautiful landscaping along the river complete with a gazebo. To complete the Inn’s offerings is a pub area that apparently can get a bit rowdy for such genteel surroundings. How fun is that? Even if the food were terrible it sounds like a great place to be. FOOD The information one cannot ascertain from the name of the RiverHouse Inn is what type of food it serves and of what quality one can expect. Upon entering such a traditional setting, one would expect a more traditional menu. There are plenty of classic choices offered, but there is a strong French/Creole influence in many of the selections. A little bit of exotic is thrown into a classy place and menu. My experience at the RiverHouse was wonderful. The staff was attentive and fun. I ordered the Crab and Lobster Cake with a homemade remoulade sauce and asked the server to bring out his favorite appetizer as well. He chose the artichoke dip. The cake was so incredibly jam packed with lobster and crab I wondered what was holding it together. I could see the claw meat. The artichoke dip was a heart attack in a bowl in the very best of ways. It was thick, creamy and gooey. I loved it and could understand why it was chosen as the favorite. I then moved on to the Jambalaya. The first thing that hit me was the rich smokiness from the anduille sausage. The chicken and shrimp that went with it were incredibly fork tender and the sauce had a beautiful complexity without too much spice, compliments of the fresh peppers and tomatoes that rounded out the dish. Texas toast was served alongside to sop up the excess. If I had numerous stomachs I would have continued with the Coq au Vin, a chicken dish with shallots and mushrooms finished with cognac. Also calling my taste buds were the pork chops boasting a sweet and spicy jalapeno-cherry sauce. The Steak Diane had what was called an “OMG” sauce. That may be worth seeing if it lives up to such an exclamation. VALUE For as elegant as the dinner selections are at the RiverHouse Inn, the prices were completely reasonable. Only one dish was more than $20, and that was the lobster. Complimenting this fact is the Inn’s lunch menu. All options are offered at under $10 and are solid and straightforward. Without breaking the wallet, you will still be treated to hand cut fries accompanying your Chicken Club with proscuitto and provolone or your Beef and Cheddar with tomato basil aioli. Some interesting salads, such as the Tuna NiCoise or a Black and Blu steak, round out the daily menu. Brunch looks good as well. It is hard to go wrong with Crab Cake Benedict slathered in a homemade Hollandaise sauce or French Toast with White Chocolate and Macadamia Nuts. BEVERAGES It is worth mentioning that the RiverHouse offers many specials in the libations department. To begin with, they offer as many as six local beers on tap, such as Short’s Chocolate Wheat and a selection from Bell’s Brewery. Mondays feature martinis at a special price. There is even a Bananas Foster Martini that they light on fire. Wednesdays are half off all bottles of wine and with discounts on beer, it’s “Thirsty Thursdays” for those so inclined. I have to call attention to the fact again that the pub sounds like it is a lively place to rub elbows with some friendly locals. Yet the place is so classy it’s perfect for a memorable bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. I love that mix. The RiverHouse Inn gave me a great meal, everyone was friendly, and the place was beautiful. I was happy to be there. RiverHouse Inn 310 W. Grand River Ave.,Williamston 517.655.4300
Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.