Replete with littleneck clams, the garlicky linguine and clams is a dish to order.
Here is what to love about Dolphin: the location. The restaurant’s smack dab in the heart of the Yonkers Downtown Waterfront development just feet away from X2O Xaviars on the Hudson. Indoors or out on the patio, you can see the water. And, despite the many changes since this was The Pier View, Dolphin has retained some of its bar vibe. Perhaps it’s the crowd; on the evenings we were there, many seemed to be there more for the drinks than for the food.
Then again, we may have been predisposed to thinking that, because our very friendly waiter seemed to know so little about the food. The accessible menu is primarily Mediterranean with a definite Italian slant, and seafood-heavy. On our visits, most of the fare was competently prepared; a few dishes were better than that, a few worse.
Salt management was a notable problem in three dishes. Fried calamari served with fried Italian hot peppers were crisp, flavorful, and completely greaseless—but the saltiness burned our mouths. A perfectly cooked, 12-ounce skirt steak, on the other hand, was lifeless without even a hint of salt. Shrimp, mussels, and clams in linguine alla Dolphin were plentiful—but again, so was salt.
An appetizer seafood salad was clean and fresh-tasting—in part because it was perfectly dressed with just enough olive oil, lemon, and salt. The Mediterranean salad also was well balanced: a lovely mix of baby greens, feta, olives, etc., were dressed, albeit somewhat heavily, in a mild, classic vinaigrette. Two traditional dishes were well executed, and each was served in a surprising way. Buttery, garlicky escargots were pleasantly chewy little morsels—served out of the shell. Bouillabaisse, with just enough saffron to let its presence be known, included tender scallops; a hearty-flavored small lobster tail; and tender shrimp, clams, and mussels. The surprise here was not the presence of rice—it was listed in the menu description—but the amount, and the way it greedily sopped up the broth. Still, that rice was pretty darn tasty, like overly soft bouillabaisse risotto.
The strongly-flavored chocolate lava cake will satisfy even the most severe chocoholic.
If seafood variety is what you’re after, you might also opt for the kebabs of grilled lobster tail, shrimp, scallops, and vegetables. The buttery linguine with white clam sauce didn’t skimp in the quantity department. The linguine was topped with enough littleneck clams to completely obscure it from sight. And, if you love garlic, do try this dish. The one dish to warn you against is the crab cake. While described as “jumbo lump,” the only crab we could find was shredded and had a slightly fishy flavor. The fried patty was crisp on the outside and pasty inside. We ate two bites and let it sit on the table.
Many of the desserts are brought in, but we were told the chocolate lava cake is made in-house. The warm, gooey cake with deep chocolate flavor was complemented by creamy vanilla gelato. For non-chocolate eaters (we hear they exist), we loved the toasted-almond tiramisu, a special one night we visited. It was like a Good Humor Toasted Almond bar, only not frozen; we loved it.
Here’s our advice: if it is a beautiful night and you want to experience the outdoors, order simple dishes and enjoy the view.
1 Van Der Donck St
(914) 751-8170; dolphinrbl.com
lunch, Mon to Sat 11:30 am to 3 pm;
dinner, Mon to Thurs 4-10 pm, Fri to Sat 4-11 pm, Sun 4-9 pm;
brunch, Sun 12-3 pm.
Entrées: $14.95-$29.95; desserts: $8
â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…—Outstanding â˜…â˜…â˜…—Very Good