DINING: Rick doubles up with new waterfront restaurant on Eagle Creek

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Dining - A&E

There’s a fine line between a large meatball and a small meatloaf, and the folks in the kitchen at Rick’s Café Waterfront (2930 Waterfront Parkway West, 290-9300) have crossed it without looking back. The two wrecking balls are the centerpieces of the Spaghetti & Meatballs ($13) at the new sister eatery to the long-standing Rick’s Café Boatyard.

aeshrimpscampi-15col.jpg Jumbo Shrimp Scampi at Rick's new café is served with fresh basil and Roma tomatoes. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Although open just a few weeks, Rick’s follow-up venture doesn’t have that new-restaurant vibe. Blame that on the fact that Café Waterfront takes over a space at the Clarion Hotel Waterfront and, as with most hotel restaurants not on the beaten path, atmosphere is largely dictated by the hotel’s occupants on that particular evening. On one trip, it was largely solo businesspeople grabbing a bite before calling it a night. On another, it was a lively group of game players splurging on a real meal between convention activities. The spacious room can also feel empty if hotel population is down.

Assessed as an option for those already in the building, Rick’s Waterfront is likely to surpass expectations. The aforementioned meatballs hung together well and were evenly cooked, topping a hearty plate of housemade pasta in a flavorful tomato sauce. It’s difficult to imagine a hungry traveler complaining. Chicken Parmesan ($15), served over fettuccine alfredo, similarly satisfied, as did Jumbo Shrimp Scampi ($19), sautéed and served with fresh basil and Roma tomatoes. Tempura Fried Calamari ($10) didn’t make a statement, but neither did it offend. And the Italian Salad ($5/$3 with entrée) was sizable if not creative.

I’d be a bit disappointed, though, if I were hotel-bound and ordered the hand-tossed Pizza ($8/$10 plus $1 per topping), which didn’t improve on delivery chains. And I’ll take the blame for not reading the menu closely enough to see that the alleged Stromboli ($10) was really just an unappetizing dumping ground for pizza toppings on an Italian roll.•


Second in a month-long series of reviews of Italian-themed restaurants.


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  1. Aaron is my fav!

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  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...