Tycho McManus/ Assistant Photo Editor

Upstate goes upscale with River Bistro, a restaurant located in the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel on 225 Water St. With a view overlooking the Chenango River, the River Bistro provides a posh but unpretentious dining experience.

“It is that hidden gem,” said Paul Daniels, River Bistro’s general manager. Daniels, who grew up in Binghamton, has seen the Bistro through its many iterations and shifts in management in a short time. The River Bistro opened its doors in April of last year.

“The hotel has been everything from a Best Western to the Binghamton Regency hotel until becoming a DoubleTree,” Daniels said. “The Bistro has been here the whole time, until a dramatic facelift last year by the new owners.”

The $12 lunch menu offers chicken, gnocchi and salmon as part of a three-course meal, with appetizer and dessert. The $25 three-course dinner menu includes pork ragu, a goat cheese tart, trout and venison as its main courses. Although the dinner special may seem steep, the quality of the menu and the experience account for the cost.

The venison meatloaf comes with a smoky vinegar and barbecue sauce, garnished with mashed potatoes and string beans. The duck confit crepe, included as an appetizer, was moist and succulent. The cauliflower soup left a little to be desired, as did the pork ragu. However, the dessert items, including the apple crisp, were an excellent sendoff from an all-around delicious meal.

Robert Gedman, a native of Liverpool, is the River Bistro’s executive chef. After living in Binghamton for 10 years, Gedman’s menu has a unique twist.

“Local ingredients,” Gedman said. “Anything that we can get local, we get. Buying local is where everyone needs to be and where everyone will be.”

The River Bistro prides itself on boasting a menu of ingredients primarily from nearby businesses.

“[Gedman] has gone to great lengths to keep all ingredients farm fresh and help the local economy,” Daniels said.

The Bistro provides a comfortable atmosphere with warmly lit tables and a panoramic view. The soundtrack was head scratching at times (Tycho and Chvrches at a fancy restaurant?), but didn’t distract from the placid, relaxed environment.

Despite a tasty meal, the Bistro has one disadvantage — its location. With no sign or storefront, the restaurant’s location in the DoubleTree is difficult to find. Although business appeared healthy, students may be scratching their heads when navigating the area around and inside the Hilton. Regardless, Gedman is insistent that patrons of the River Bistro will leave satisfied.

“I’m always cooking for our guests,” Gedman said. “The prices here are really great and competitive.”

The River Bistro forgoes the ostentatious for elegance, perfect for a date or casual dinner out with friends.