Rhode Island, the Ocean State, is famous for its seafood. Narragansett Bay's western shore in particular hosts an array of seaside restaurants that boast fresh seafood right off the ocean. Memories of eating at these restaurants remind me of happier times as a child. One place in particular often served as a nice place to eat on special occasions, Harbourside.
One striking change to the memory is the full title, Harbourside Lobstermania. It sounds off considering it purports to be an upscale ocean-side restaurant serving the boat crowd. The title change did not deter me though, and I looked forward to enjoying an Easter meal.
Sitting down, me and my wife noticed a limited menu boasting surf more than turf. This did not mean surf was well represented, with only 2-3 fish entrees and the other seafood were fried. I ordered the stuffed 'Lobstermania', a stuffed lobster served with a Chablis sauce. My wife, a landlubber, ordered the house sirloin. Our meals came with unlimited trips to the salad bar (unusual at a supposed high-scale eatery) and I ordered a cup of their famous lobster bisque.
The salad bar was small and ill-stocked. Everything tasted cheap. I identified the 'three-bean salad' as one sold at BJ's, which I didn't prefer because it tasted like beans in sugar syrup. The vegetables share a 'precut super-market' quality that did not fit my dining expectations. Dressings were also rather shallow tasting like even cheaper versions of Kraft selections. An offering of cheese, crackers, and bread came with the salad bar. The cheese was a big block of American cheese that looked and tasted like a deli loaf. The bread was not fresh, and tasted like potato rolls again found at most supermarkets. The crackers were Nabisco, and tasted better than the stale rolls. My bisque was nice, not too thick and tasted of nice sherry. This was the high point of our meal.
Our entrees arrived and looked lovely. Unfortunately, appearances were deceiving. My wife's turf (The sirloin) was tough and filled with large veins of fat and gristle. The poor beef choice lacked flavor which was even further covered up by a thick crust of seasonings on the outside. Her mashed potatoes were nice, but the vegetable (mashed root vegetables) tasted like a premade frozen dish. My lobster, was well stuffed to hide an otherwise lack of meat. The lobster was undersides with a very soft shell that screamed immaturity. The Chablis sauce was clearly broken and tasted off. While the lobster and stuffing tasted great, the ratio of lobster meat to stuffing was way off. My baked potato was less than 6 ounces at best and the vegetable was the same as my wife's.
For the price (20-30 dollars per entree), this food was highly disappointing. The lobster was a tad small, was stuffed with a basic stuffing that felt more like red lobster rather than yacht cuisine. My wife had better steaks at Outback steakhouse, showing the chef obviously did not select their meats. The salad bar was worst of all, and I honestly felt a tad nauseous after eating the salad. I remembered good things about this restaurant, but now my memory is dominated by failure. It's sad to think a restaurant on the sea could be so unoriginal and uninspired.