Rivera's: Greer, South Carolina
So my husband has been raving about this little joint called "Rivera's" for months. He had been there a couple of times and was originally drawn to it because they boast a "juicy luci" on the lunch menu...something that is commonplace where we come from (MN) but totally out of the ordinary here. He had only been there for lunch, but wanted to check it out at dinner-time, so one Friday night we packed up the family and headed up to Greer.
Upon walking into Rivera's, I felt immediately comfortable. It is a "fancy" restaurant if you will, but it is kept simple so as not to come across as too "white-linnen-ish". It really caters to all types of diners. We have 3 small kids and no one to babysit, so we bring the entourage with us everywhere we go. Sometimes there are those places that are just not kid-friendly. Rivera's IS NOT one of them. They have high-chairs and a kids menu to boot. For me, personally, I love it when I can go get some good food, REAL food in a nice restaurant and have my kids with me and be welcomed. But we also saw many couples of all ages as well as several tables of the older and wiser generation enjoying the same superb food.
While my kids enjoyed some fresh homemade bread with guava butter (yes, I said guava and it is AMAZING)...the hubby and I feasted on some ceviche tostadas. Got nothin' bad to say about those. They were phenomenal.
For my entree, I opted for the Surf & Turf which is a 5 oz. filet and either 4 jumbo shrimp or 2 diver scallops. I couldn't decide between the shrimp or the scallops, so I ordered the shrimp and for a few extra bucks, added some scallops also. The meal came with mashed potatoes (topped with a fried plantain of which I had one small bite before my daughters inhaled the rest) and vegetable (in this case green beans). I also asked for the Herbed Pesto Sauce for dipping (you can request from several sauces per the menu).
The shrimp...perfectly seasoned and crispy on the outside but tender to the bite. The steak...prepared exactly to my liking and so amazing it actually nearly brought tears to my eyes. Paired with the herbed pesto sauce it was a very different but delicious flavor combination. And as for the scallops...holy cow. I took one bite and looked at my husband and proclaimed that these scallops were proof that every single scallop I had ever eaten up to that point were clearly overdone. These scallops melted like butter in your mouth. The mashed potatoes and green beans were incredible also.
The hubby had wanted lamb chops but the server informed him that the chef wasn't happy with the cut of meat he had gotten that day and therefore they wouldn't serve it. Although disappointed, he was totally impressed that they cared enough to send out only the very best to their customers. He opted instead for the Veal Milanese (pictured above with fried egg) and could not have been happier. Panko crusted and fried to perfection. The fried eggs were some of the best eggs he has ever tasted.
So...up to this point I had consumed bread with guava butter, ceviche tostadas, a 5 oz. filet, 4 shirmp, 1 jumbo scallop (I shared the other with the hubby), mashed potatoes AND green beans. I did not leave a single bite of food behind because it was so damn good. That did not, however, stop us from ordering dessert. See...the awesome thing about bringing your kids along is that you can say you're really ordering dessert for them...but after a couple bites, they are done and you get to finish it off!
We ordered a key lime pie for the eldest and a chocolate cake for the middle. The pie was good...I only managed to get one bite of that because the 6-year-old ate the entire thing. But it was very authentic and fresh tasting. The cake...oh my gosh. I want that cake every day for the rest of my life! Usually I don't really like cake unless there is ice cream to go with it because usually cake is dry. This cake...not so much. Not at all, in fact. Apparently it is soaked in milk and the result is a cake that is not fudgey and not undercooked...but super moist and fantastically delicious.
Needless to say, I have never had a better meal at a restaurant...EVER. And it was a place that was not just for adults and date-nights, but a place my whole family could enjoy. The food was out of this world...I should know...I ate enough of it! Whoever the head chef is, he knows what the hell he is doing! He knows food...good food...and he knows how to prepare it perfectly. The people behind Rivera's have a passion for their restaurant and it is 110% obvious why they are ranked #1 on Urbanspoon. There is nothing out there that tops them... At least not yet...
Our family will absolutely be back. Probably not as often as we'd like (once a week) since it is on the other end of town from us...but when we want to treat the family to a "fancy" dinner...Rivera's will, without question, be the place we go!