Down By The River Gourmet Bistro

Located across the Miami River on the ground level of NEO Lofts (10 SW South River Drive), River Gourmet Bistro and Market was recently debuted by Miami natives Alina Portuondo-Freyre and Teresa Alexandria-Hernandez (the same women behind For the Love of Food Catering). The menu is a potpourri of familiar foods: Half-pound burger on challah roll, eggplant parmesan sandwich, grouper tacos, chicken Philly sandwich, conch fritters, Buffalo chicken wings, Greek salad, linguine with shrimp scampi, "hawaiian tostones"...stop me when you've figured out the theme.

I was puzzled as to what the "signature River Ruz sandwich" was, but luckily the press release explains that it's "a gourmet twist on the classic Elena Ruz". Isn't she the one who keeps her face in a jar by the door? (If you don't get this, don't worry -- you're just young). In fact, the Ruz consists of oven roasted turkey with strawberry mayo, mozzarella or brie, and spring lettuce on multigrain bread. Think I'll skip this one, but the other, somewhat saner sandwiches sound more savory; they run around ten dollars apiece.

The market portion of the includes a wide selection of wines and craft beers, which, like the food, can be purchased to go or consumed at the 22-seat bar/counter. There are billiard games for a buck, too.

River Gourmet is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 am to 7:00 pm, Friday 11:30 am to 8:30 pm, Saturday 10 am to 8:30 pm.

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