photography by Justin Fox Burks
The River Inn of Harbor Town, a charming boutique hotel on downtown’s Mud Island, has added a new venue to its list of amenities: a stylish bar serving artisan cocktails, plates to share, and expansive views of the Mississippi. Reconfigured from an outdoor terrace on the hotel’s fourth floor, the updated design now functions year-round thanks to a clever configuration of folding glass windows. We visited on a chilly winter night, but still watched barges slide down the river from a cozy perch inside.
The Terrace’s limited but thoughtful new American menu contributed to our happy mood, offering snacks and more substantial fare, such as a pair of beef tenderloin crostini with two different toppings: spinach Rockefeller and mushrooms sautéed in thyme cabernet sauce. The food at the Terrace is predictable (chicken skewers, charcuterie plate, sliders on brioche buns) but quite good nonetheless with sophisticated flavors and pretty plating. Cumin, coriander, and sesame seeds, for instance, encrust seared Ahi tuna, a nice complement to the plate’s Kalamata olive tapenade, while feta, mint yogurt, shaved fennel, and shallot jam turn lamb sliders into a perky and unexpected treat.
Open every night at 4 p.m., the Terrace at the River Inn features an equally appealing cocktail menu, especially for adventuresome drinkers. Try a French martini with a lemon twist or a “stiff shake,” a flamboyant combo of vodka, vanilla ice cream, and jumbo marshmallows toasted at your table.