A couple of Fridays ago we got some great news that we just had to celebrate. I wanted to go to some place new and somewhat fancy - and not too far away. Rivoli fit the bill perfectly - though I had been there once before, it had been for an early, somewhat quick dinner with a friend, so I hadn't been able to appreciate it properly. In addition, Rivoli is very close to where we presently live and the menu (available online) looked wonderful.
I called the restaurant at about 5 PM that evening, and was able to get an 8 PM reservation - I guess it was our lucky day.
The restaurant itself is very small and rather simple. There is a slick bar close to the entrance door and a few tables there. The main dining room is towards the back, through the waiters' station, which makes getting in and out of it a tad cramped. The tables at the restaurant appear to be a little too close together - however we weren't bothered by conversations at any of the tables around us. The room has a glass wall looking out on a very pretty patio and during our dinner a racoon appeared there for its nightly dinner, providing some entertainment.
We arrived at the restaurant on time, and were promptly seated. The service throughout the evening was perfect. The waiter was helpful in explaining the menu, dishes were brought in at appropriate times and we were never lacking for water, bread or anything else. It all seemed effortless, which certainly lead to a relaxed evening (for us).
The menu changes every three weeks, and relies on seasonal, fresh, local food. Appetizers run from about $6 to $8, entrees $15 to $18 and desserts are all around $6. They have a fairly good, though small, wine list, concentrating on moderately-priced wines and they offer several wines by the glass or the half bottle. On this occasion, we had a bottle of the Chinon "Clos de la Cure" Joguet Loire Valley France 98 ($28, $7 for a glass). This is a Cabernet Franc (though I don't think we realized that when we ordered it), and it was very easy to drink (which was good, given that we'd ordered a whole bottle for two people) though it wasn't hearty or complex enough for our tastes. Still, it went well with the food.
As an appetizer, we ordered some smoked duck which was very good and went very well with the delicious bread they serve. For dinner, Mike had the seafood choukrut which included shrimp and squid. Mike described it as "tasty, delicious, yummy". I had a pot roast with potatoes. The roast was very tender and flavorful, though a tad bitter. The potatoes were just great. It was all in all a very satisfying meal.
For dessert, Mike decided to go for the hot fudge sundae (always available). It was good, though not particularly memorable. I had a warm chocolate budino, which was very rich and yummy.
All in all, we had a very good experience and have put Rivoli in our list of places to go back to.