River Grass Grill Restaurant: New or Deja Vu?

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By: Adam Baron

As the great, recently deceased Yogi Berra once said, “it’s like deja vu, all over again.” That was the feeling we got when we decided to check out The River Grass Grill, formerly known as Blue Moon Fish Co. At the same location in Coral Springs with the same owners, Chef Daniel Cournoyer and his wife Pastry Chef Mariela Cournoyer, who according to their press release, were ready for a change and gave the place a new look, and a new menu.

For those who weren’t familiar with its prior incarnation, Blue Moon Fish Co. was a pretty fancy steak and seafood restaurant; the kind of place you would leisurely take your time getting through a three course meal and were doted on by the knowledgeable and professional wait staff. So what has changed between, the old and new?

Conch Fritters

Conch fritters

Honestly, I didn’t really see that much of a difference when I first walked in. The big salt-water aquarium was still there in the waiting area.  Maybe I noticed some slight differences in the decor, and the tables were missing their customary linen tablecloths, but nothing that screamed, “Hey, this is a brand new place!”  We also noticed that the restaurant kept many of their standard seafood classics that Blue Moon had, but gave it more of a  value priced menu.  For instance, the Sea Bass at Blue Moon was $32 but at River Grass it’s $27.   Filet Mignon at Blue Moon was $28, at River Grass it’s $26.

Florida lobster tail risotto

Florida lobster tail risotto

The biggest change, believe it or not, had nothing to do with the food but actually the wait staff. All the servers appeared to be no older than 25 and wore jeans and button down short sleeve shirts with the restaurant’s new logo emblazoned on it. I saw a female server wearing jeans and a too-tight t-shirt sporting the logo. It was as if the owners had snatched up the wait staff of the now defunct “Salt Life” and had deposited them here. When I asked our waiter what the difference was between the old and the new restaurant, he said they decided that the owners wanted to make it a bit more casual. “Casual” was quite the understatement when all the guests are dressed better than the waiters.

But you don’t eat the wait staff, so let us not completely judge River Grass Grill on appearances only. As an appetizer, I ordered the conch fritters at $8. The portion was more than ample and the texture was good with much conchy-goodness inside the doughy balls, but overall it could have used a tad bit more seasoning. However, the honey mustard dipping sauce was delicious and cured any deficiencies.

My wife’s appetizer was Florida lobster tail risotto for $14. This was a large portion  with huge chunks of lobster inside.  The risotto had a a wonderful flavor with the roasted zellwood corn and white wine lemon butter.   

Filet Mignon Center cut Black Angus

Filet mignon center cut black angus

Not a fish lover, I ordered the filet mignon center cut black angus with a port wine demi-glaze, and gorgonzola cheese. It was served with rosemary garlic mashed potatoes and roasted veggies for $24. Usually, ordering the lone steak on what is predominantly, a seafood menu is a recipe for disaster, but it did not disappoint. The filet was a good size, tender, and I was pleasantly surprised to see it was done to perfection; “medium” was in fact, medium. Definitely a good filet for the money. The garlic mashed potatoes were savory and the right choice for the filet.

Sautéed yellow tail snapper

Sautéed yellow tail snapper

My wife ordered the sautéed yellow tail snapper for $24 which included rock shrimp risotto, baby arugula, and lemon butter.  The yellow tail was dry and a bit overcooked but maintained a decent flavor. The risotto again was delicious and had ample shrimp mixed in.

Overall, we quite enjoyed the meal. The total tab, with a couple glasses of white wine thrown in to the mix, came in at about $110 with tip. Although this restaurant claims it is more casual and has a value priced menu, this isn’t an inexpensive meal – which isn’t a bad thing. Coral Springs can certainly use more higher-end restaurants that differentiate themselves from the more family-oriented fare dominating University Drive. But because this is still considered a nice night out for many couples or families, the management should give more regard to how their employees are representing this newly redone restaurant by having a waitstaff that better matches the caliber of the food they are serving.

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River Grass Grill
10317 Royal Palm Blvd.
Coral Springs FL 33065
954-755-0002

N.E Corner of Royal Palm Blvd. and Coral Springs Dr.

Hours of Operation

Lunch: Tuesday through Friday 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Dinner: Tuesday through Sunday 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday Brunch 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Happy Hour Tuesday – Friday 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

About Adam Baron

avatar Adam Baron is a personal injury attorney and part-time photographer.

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  • Lisa S.

    Great review. I agree that the food is good and the prices are slightly lower, but the service and the attitude just isn’t on par with a higher end restaurant. The crab cakes are really good.

  • Richard Tebaldi

    Interesting article, Adam! But the last time I was at Blue Moon, it was a price fix menu, with small plates and lots of raw seafood…quite good and a bit less pricey than the Blue Moon in F.L. Also, a filet miñon “medium”‘? Have you tried “medium rare”? Do they still do the price fix deal, which was as many small plates served and made per order, with the raw bar soups and deserts for one price? The food was Always good at the original restaurant. Were the Cournoyers running the Blue Moon originally and “were ready for a

    change”? The food itself totaled $70. The wine was maybe $16 if it was cheap which brought your bill to $86.

    Tax would have been around $6 and the tip at 20% would have easily amounted to $110.

  • Fred

    We tried it over the weekend and enjoyed it considerably more than we ever did the Blue Moon. The more casual atmosphere in tandem with the quality food struck is as a strength rather than a weakness. Then again, fashion policing isn’t really our thing.

  • Richard N. Robbins

    Tried River Grass Grill this weekend with guest from out of town. I was struck by the fact that the greeter at the door was an older gentleman in jeans and a button down shirt. He also turned out to be our waiter. He was quite warm, friendly and seemed to be nearby throughout dinner. Granted, this was Sunday evening and the restaurant was virtually empty, but his service was excellent. The food came at a nice pace. The baby spinach salad was one of the best salads my wife and I have ever shared with roasted beets, strawberries, pears, caramelized onions, goat cheese crostini and a chardonnay vinaigrette. The swordfish (two orders at the table) was moist and very tasty. The accompanying hummus was a bit bland, but my wife loved it. My giant scallops were excellent. Cooked perfectly to enhance their flavor and the rock shrimp risotto was delicious. The third dish at the table was actually a cast iron fry pan with a shellfish pan roast consisting of black mussels, clams, scallops, large shrimp, capellini cake in a tarragon-brandy cream sauce. The portions were not huge, but sufficiently large. We did not order wine with dinner and the meal for all four of us was $104.89 plus tip. We felt that it was an excellent value for a fine meal. We always enjoyed the fine cooking of the Cournoyers in the past and are looking forward to more meals at their new incantation. By the way, the Sunday brunch at $19.95 with all the small plates, raw bar and breakfast foods is still offered on Sunday mornings.

  • Michele Shampaner

    We just came back from River Grass Grill.Everything about this restaurant was wonderful. I have eaten at Blue Moon many times over the years, but the food was better. Coral Springs needs a place like this. We walked in and were seated right away. I felt bad because the restaurant was not crowed. People should go here and support it. I had a caesar salad that was delious!!!!! Then my friend and I had the seabass. The portion was large and it melted in my mouth. The best I have had and Im a foody!!!!!!! My husband had the grilled seafood platter and my friends husband had the fried seafood platter. Portions again were very large. You can get half portions as well. Again , I would highly recommend.!!!!!!!!!!