Wandering around Narragansett's Ocean drive brought me and my wife to an interesting restaurant near the Judith Point Lighthouse. The parking lot filled, we both decided this would be a great place for a ocean-side dinner on a lovely March late-afternoon. We pulled in with many cars and entered a small, beach themed dinning room. We were then confronted by an open house featuring a wonderful selection of the new menu. As it turned out, the Narragansett Grill hadn't even opened yet. The owner welcomed us in and offered us food and wine. Though the restaurant presented the food 'buffet' style (more akin to Brazilian Steak House, with Waitresses carrying plates around), I will review the food occurring to courses similar to their menu.
Our first course included raw oysters and clams (fresh from the ocean according to the waitress) along with some large shrimp (Gulf shrimp). The seafood collection tasted wonderful, though the ordinary shrimp would have been better grilled. Next came bread batons, fried bread sticks stuffed with mozzarella cheese. My wife loved these, noting they were better than some fried cheese offered as 'gourmet' cuisine. Next came Block Island calamari, wonderfully fried and served with banana peppers and black olives. Thankfully they served both the rings and the bottoms with tentacles, and without a sauce to mar the taste. We both enjoyed the Grill's calamari. Finally, the waitress brought over bacon-wrapped scallops topped with a Sambuca-cream sauce. The light amount of sauce enhanced the fresh scallops and salty bacon, rather than destroying the flavor.
Our next course started with a lovely Rhode Island clam chowder (clear chowder with a small amount of cream). It was nicely filled with clams and celery, though the broth tasted too much like liquefied potatoes and it drowned out the clam taste. Their pizza followed, featuring a nice bready crust with fresh toppings. Small meatballs followed, featuring meaty flavor without the grease. Both were served with a nice marinara which is often ignored by some restaurants.
The final course started with a seared Blue Fin Tuna. The outside tasted like it had been marinated in green tea, an interesting departure from the over-used (and not very tasty) saturation of Tuna in sesame seeds. Like the prior seafood served, the Tuna tasted wonderful and its unique flavor interested us both. Our waitress also brought over braised beef shoulder with sauteed onions and mushrooms. The steak was wonderfully tender and nicely flavored with garlic. The final two dishes weren't on the 'final menu', though based on our reaction and the reactions of our fellow diners, I anticipate they will be.
We enjoyed our meal both because of the lovely spring day by the ocean and the excellent cuisine served to us. This new restaurant has great potential, once the restaurant establishes itself by being open for longer than a brief pre-opening open house. Given Summer's quick approach, I will become a seasonal patron at the very least! I say this is well worth the drive to the ocean. So far, the Narragansett Grill only has a facebook page, but I anticipate them opening a full website soon.