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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
River Grass Grill
10317 Royal Palm Blvd.
Coral Springs FL 33065
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.
Adam Baron is a personal injury attorney and part-time photographer.