Review: New York Richies, Kennewick, WA

I was recently invited by New York Richies in Kennewick  (5011 W. Clearwater Ave) to do a review of their food. I had never been there and after reading some online reviews and talking to friends, I still had no real idea of what to expect. The reviews were all over the spectrum, once again confirming that so much written about food is subjective.

I will tell you what little I know about New York Richies. They are a very small NW chain (if you can call three stores a chain) with humble beginnings in La Grande , OR. Besides the store in La Grande, they also have one in Pendleton. The owners/managers of the stores in Pendleton and Tri-Cities are original employees of the La Grande store.

That said, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. If you think this is just another pizza joint, banish that thought forever. The manager and chef, Arturo, went out of his way to provide us with a wide variety of dishes to sample and the food just kept coming and coming. Hey, it’s called food porn for a reason…

The first dish he brought out was a 22 oz. bone-in Ribeye steak, served with rigatoni and a red sauce, garnished with fresh basil, and a side of parmesan garlic toast. The steak was well-seasoned and grilled to a perfect mid-rare, just the way I like it. Who’d a thunk it? A good Ribeye in a pizza joint… So far, so good…IMG_20130121_153804

A good indicator of any restaurant is the salad. Is it fresh, colorful, well assembled, garnished and tasty? New York Richies passed this test with flying colors. Somewhat limited choices in dressing, Italian vinaigrette or Ranch, but really, who out there doesn’t like one of those?IMG_20130121_154724

This was followed by grilled chicken with penne pasta in a parmesan cream sauce, sprinkled with fresh parmesan, basil garnish, and again with a side of garlic toast. Very generous portion and I especially liked the sauce. Smooth, creamy and not overwhelmingly cheesy.IMG_20130121_155508

Next came the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.The meat was well seasoned, and highlighted by the visible chunks of green pepper, onion and mushroom. My only reservation was concerning the roll it was served on. I’m not sure it would make it through the meal without falling apart, but that’s why we have forks, right?IMG_20130121_154955

And while we’re talking about sandwiches, Arturo is very proud of his Chicken sandwich special, and rightly so. It features lightly breaded deep fried chicken chunks smothered in melted mozzarella, garnished with lettuce and tomato. It was literally smothered in cheesy deliciousness.IMG_20130121_155154I was really excited about the lightly breaded chicken, as in many places I often find the breading  too heavy and/or over seasoned, overwhelming everything else. Not the case at New York Richies. I had to look twice to see if the chicken was actually breaded. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference and that’s certainly the case here. Again, nicely seasoned. And if you like it a little spicier, douse it in Arturo’s secret sauce. (I’m guessing the secret ingredient is tiny chunks of jalapeno)

And don’t forget, this place is classified as a pizza place. Arturo served us a slice of cheese pizza and also the Meat Slice. Never having had New York Style pizza in its native habitat, I’m not going to offer my unqualified opinion on how it may or may not compare to the real deal. But I will say that my fav was the Meat Slice (not surprising, as I am an unabashed carnivore, through and through). IMG_20130121_155725It was a standup slice with a well-balanced combination of sauce, cheese, meats, veggies, and fungus (fungi?) Thin non-soggy crust and the red sauce was tasty without being too acidic or overwhelming. Sprinkled with fresh parmesan, which always floats my boat. Really, what more can you ask of a slice of pizza?

From reading some of the other online reviews, the biggest knock on New York Richies seemed to be slow service and long wait times due to large crowds and possible understaffing at lunch. Since we were invited to do a private tasting during non-business hours, I cannot comment on the validity of these complaints. I can say that Arturo (owner) and Mariana (our server) were very gracious, attentive and accommodating.

I will certainly be going back there based on the quality of the food.

Text and images copyright 2013 by Dan McCool

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