When: January 25, 2018, 11:45 AM
The scene: River Belle Terrace. Lunchtime.
The issue: making a decision.
See, the River Belle menu has a lot of good-looking lunch entrees. We’ve tried the Pork Spareribs and the Fried Chicken Sandwich, but the menu still has worlds to conquer: the Beef Brisket Sandwich, the Pulled Pork Sandwich, the Half Chicken, the BBQ Tofu…
Time for some expert help.
The Friendly Cast Member arrives to take my order. I explain the dilemma.
“Get the Pulled Pork Sandwich” he says. And smiles, with a sort of ‘trust me, I’m a professional’ look.
I relax into my chair. “That’d be great,” I say.
This dish is three discrete parts. First, there’s the sandwich. It’s gorgeous. It’s large chunks of pork, some coleslaw and a generous amount of barbecue sauce between two slices of ciabatta bread.
Second, there’s a side of beans. This is a standard River Belle Terrace side. We’ve had them before. They’re delightful.
Finally, there’s another side. River Belle gives you the choice of slaw, potato salad, seasonal vegetables, or “seasoned tater bites” (read: tater tots). I went with the tots.
I pick up the sandwich, and get to work.
This is outrageously good.
First of all, the sandwich is messy. Between the BBQ sauce and the coleslaw, this is pretty wet business, and when you pick the silly thing up you get chunks of pork and bits of slaw falling through your fingers and on to the plate.
Then you get it in your mouth.
The bread is nice, soft, and compresses down beautifully. The pork is awesome. The barbecue sauce adds a bit of tang, but not too much. The coleslaw adds this excellent, moist, crunchy texture. Together, it’s just … wonderful. Lots of great flavor, well balanced, with crazy-good texture and mouth feel.
My first bite becomes my second, and my third, and then I’m off to the races.
The sides are solid complements. The beans are sweet, and slightly tangy; the tots are super, super happy-making: slight cajun spice, firm, warm, excellent.
This dish made me happier than almost anything else I’ve eaten in the parks in recent memory. It’s not just recommended: it’s a standout. Don’t miss it.