Menu of the Month: The Rieger
People often reach out to me for restaurant recommendations– best spot for a group dinner, perfect date night, hosting a client, in town for one night only– and my most common answer is The Rieger. Chef Howard Hanna cooks the kind of food you’re still reminiscing about months later. The Rieger has the sort of menu where you might say on your way out, “See you tomorrow!” because it can be just about impossible to choose between all the creatively assembled, locally sourced dishes. So, there’s your warning– I may have over-ordered for this menu of the month…
The duck fat popovers seemed like a no-brainer, and sure enough, they were: gooey and flaky at the same time, and you get to dip them in gravy. And as if their killer menu isn’t enough, the nightly specials are always on point– on this particular evening, the prosciutto bruschetta with a date spread, pistachios and pickled quail eggs was a heavenly combination of some of my absolute favorite ingredients.
The blood orange salad was the perfect light dish to usher in the rest of the meal: greens tossed in a citrus vinaigrette with juicy chunks of blood orange, avocado, sansho pepper and a poached egg to top it off.
The house-made pastas are where it’s at. Don’t skip this course. Chef recommended the blood sausage rags, which, to be honest, I probably would’ve never ordered on my own– but one does not ignore a rec from Howard. Sure enough, out came a wonderfully earthy riff on a classic Italian ragu atop perfectly dense fresh carrati noodles.
The lamb tagine might be my favorite off of this menu– decadent chunks of melt-in-your-mouth lamb stewed in exotically sweet spices with crushed almonds, carrots, and fluffy turmeric couscous. I ate it all. Fast.
You knew I had to remind you– it wouldn’t be a dinner at Rieger without a few rounds of their signature cocktails. I loved the Del Degüello, a colorful blood orange tequila cocktail that’s bottled in-house, as well as the von Pickle Schlitz- which besides having the most brilliant name of all time, is a pickle-lovers dream with pickling spice shrub and rosemary-infused Genepy des Alpes.