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Riverside Pizza & Seafood [cambridgeport]


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Riverside Pizza & Seafood [cambridgeport]

Nab | May 17, 2011 05:11 AM

Everybody's got their sub shop. Limited to a very select few (Bob's eg), you can count the number of destination sub shops on one hand, including the ones you're schlepping across burbs for because they slap together the Delaware Valley hoagie that you grew up with. I've been yammering on lately about Riverside Pizza & Seafood (affectionately known as Da Riv, maybe only by me and my pals), but it's by no means a destination sub shop, just happens to be my neighbourhood lunchington haunt. Putting aside the fact that they've deviated from classic Greek pizza/sub shop naming convention, they're otherwise true to the tradition. Standard array of hoagies & grinders - steak bombs, parms, meatballs, italians - all very competently prepared, sourcing high-quality commercial products. This is standard-issue smooshy whitebread kinda stuff. As charmingly Greek as the owners are, they're slinging Kronos gyros like the rest of em. But don't tell me you don't eat that shit, because you do, because the heart wants what the heart wants, and the heart, for some wickedly ironic reason, every now and then, wants to be stuffed full of cheap grease, and the heart can get that fix on the corner of every nabe in town. My pusherman just happens to be at Da Riv.

My personal fave, standard order, signature sander (around the office, at least), is the hot'strami. High-grade outsourced pastrami slapped on the flattop for a few, just to get sweaty in some places and crispy in others, a slice of melty provolone, stuffed into a toasted roll with a schmear of mustard. On Fridays and particularly ruff Mondays, I may opt for hots as well, which are a giardiniera-like tangy concoction, bringing a fair punch of heat. She'll travel reasonably well, but better off to take up position in the back bar with an ice-cold domestic and a repeating run of classic R&B/soul. Plenty of bad pastrami abound, I find their product to be at least a tier or two better than others, but in the grand scheme of things this is like talking Boars Head to Carl Buddig. Good enough that an old regular recently tipped me off to the pastrami pizza which was so dang delicious I owe this guy a lifetime bartab. Greazy Greek style cheese pie, thick-rimmed buttery crust, topped with crispy juicy strips of pastrami, I try to limit it to Fridays as well. Sometimes challenging Mondays. But only once a month. Unless it's a month that ends in 'r'. Those months also call for multiple bowls of their chicken soup, avgolemono-inspired, a homemade matter of pride affair, always scaldingly scrumptious.

I have mentioned the classic Lenten pepper & egg elsewhere -

In addition to the Italian -

The gyros are poorly-executed Kronos, sometimes not even crispy - take a pass. The fries are frozen, sub-Sysco, unseasoned - take a pass, move on to the onion rings. Cheesesteaks, better off elsewhere - steak tips, however, excellent. Ups and downs go on and on. The burger is gray, if you want it, take a tip from Salt Lake City (their only tip), and get it topped with some pastrami. I've yet to get to the fried seafood, but I'm feeling good about it. Because they can fry. Them boys can fry !

By now hopefully I've lost all readers, because the main point of all the jibber-jabber is that Da Riv has the best fried chicken in Boston. It's the whole point. The chicken is what you drive across town for. It's a 'broasted' bird (they don't have the magical patented Broaster (TM) that can allow them to use the term), pressure-fried, not unlike the Colonel's. If you like big one-inch thick craggy crusts on your bird, go somewhere else. This is not battered, it's barely breaded, simply seasoned and given a quick slam-dunk in the pressure-fryer. The result is a crispy seasoned skin that tastes like skin, and gives way to salty schmaltzy meat. Like all broaster birds, they are accompanied by JoJo's, fat potato wedges also pressure-fried with super-fluffy-cloud innards. Optional. Fried chicken - not optional. Legs, whole wings, breast, it doesn't really matter, though I tend to always get a leg at least, added benefit of getting an oyster, piece de resistance. Life stopped for many people, including myself, when the magical broaster machine was on the fritz for several months. Thankfully, unemployed MIT engineers abound, it's back up and running and, after a few adjustments, back to its bad ol' self.

Riverside Pizza & Seafood

305 River St

Cambridge, MA 02139

(617) 354-8800

closed on Sundays

Riverside Pizza & Seafoods
305 River St, Cambridge, MA 02139

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