Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Pit Stop On The Hillsborough River

I love the Urbanspoon review I read just recently about Rick's On the River by Backtrak, "The beer is watery, the food greasy and the band sings off key, but this is a great place." I mean, what's not to like about a joint that gets a review like that?

On our visit to Rick's today the beer was good and cold, and our food choices were just fine...mostly. We didn't stay for the band. They were setting up as we were leaving, so I can't say if they were off key or not. After a few beers, who cares anyway. This is a place to party.

Rick's isn't a Bern's Steak House. Rick's is what it is, a bar and grille on a bank overlooking the Hillsborough River. You have a choice of arriving at Rick's by land or water.

On our first visit some years ago we arrived by boat. Today we just watched as others tied up at the marina.

We arrived just before the lunch crowd, so we had our choice of seating. We decided to seat ourselves outside so that we could enjoy the view. Inside might have been a better choice because of the heat and humidity, but after "a few beers" who cared.

Our server on this visit was Erica who brought our menus and took our drink orders.

Beer, please!

I started off with an appetizer of steamed oysters. I have had the raw on the half shell before and if you sit inside at the oyster bar to oversee the shucking operation you can usually get some decent oysters on the half shell.

If those mollusks in the photo don't look too appetizing, let me just say they tasted about the same. They were steamed well enough, but the presentation was lacking and the oysters themselves were full of grit and pieces of broken shell.

I had much better luck with my Caribbean Fish Salad. The fish had been grilled to perfection with a flavorful and tangy jerk spice rub, then placed on a pile of crispy salad greens, and liberally enhanced with tropical fruits.

On the side were two plastic tubs of strawberry vinaigrette. As I said, this ain't Bern's, so get over it.

My lovely dining partner, the Belle of Ballast Point, decided to go with the more mundane 1/4 pound cheeseburger with a side of beer battered onion rings served with a roumalade sauce.

The burger was cooked just as she had requested - hockey puck done. Personally, I like mine a juicy medium rare, but this was her cheeseburger in paradise.

The onion rings were good, just not the very best we had ever tried, but not bad. The sauce was delightfully presented in it's own little plastic pouch. How nice!

Rick's isn't fancy, but it is a pleasant stop after cruising on the river for a couple of hours, or if you just want to experience a little old time Florida.

Lunch, with beverages, and gratuity came to about $42.

Rick's on the River on Urbanspoon

Ricks on the River on Foodio54

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