Ocean House, an exemplary New England seaside resort is the first and only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star Hotel in the State of Rhode Island.
The onsite Spa, “OH!” and Coast Restaurant are also Forbes Five Star Rated, thus bestowing Ocean House one of thirteen resorts in the World with the honor of being a triple Five-Star Resort.
I was thrilled to visit on a recent trip to New England, and even more thrilled to visit The Verandah Raw Bar, the resort’s on-site, outdoor restaurant located on the south façade of the Ocean House.
The restaurant, outdoors and on the porch, is just as you may picture an old-fashioned home in New England. High ceilings, wood that has been weathered from the ocean salt and stunning floral arrangements envelope you. There is not an imperfect seat in the house. Each seat overlooks the croquet court and has stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay.
Open daily 15th June – 3rd September from 11:30am to 9:00pm with modified hours from the Fall, we were curious to know if the food measured up to the view. It seemed almost an unfair expectation since the view was unlike any I have seen on the East Coast. I am happy to report despite such a tall order, The Verandah did not disappoint.
The menu is laid out simply, as the restaurant is designed to be what we would call “Business Casual”, without the business. Easily categorized offers of starters, salads, sandwiches, soups, a raw bar, kids’ menu and non-alcoholic cocktails, on one page are accompanied by an extensive wine list.
Oysters vs. Oysters
We began with an order of Watch Hill Oysters (farm-raised in Winnapaug Pond by Jeff Gardner and his family) with a hint of sweet butter flavor and Ninigret Oysters. Ninigret Oysters with average size and saltiness are local to Rhode Island, grown in Ninigret Pond by Rob Krause and harvested on low tide.
We also asked for four pieces of Jumbo Shrimp and a plate of salted olives.
To drink, we chose the Bortoluzzi Pinot Grigio: fresh, fruity and spring-like, and an apple juice for our 7-year-old dining companion, who also needed some time to peruse the Kid’s Menu.
I must stop here to highlight the Kid’s Menu and food quality. There are four options, all which sound like great ideas to me: ‘PB&J’, Jumbo Hot Dog, Grilled Cheese and Nutella and Banana Sandwich.
See what I mean?
My son chose the Jumbo Hot Dog.
The Raw Bar selections and Jumbo Hot Dog came out together, as we requested.
My son looked taken aback, as the hotdog was on a brioche bread and not on the traditional hotdog bun.
He did not want to try it.
I asked him (pleaded) to take a bite.
He did, reluctantly.
His eyes suddenly popped and opened to twice in size and he did not speak again for 20 minutes. He was elated with this hot dog and when he finished he said, “Mom, I am going to seize the day and order another.” He then “savored” the second one because he, “did not want to stop eating it.”
Hands down the best Kid’s Menu selection he has had. Ever.
Starters for Afters
The Oysters were the best I have ever had. Fresh. Delicious.
Accompanied with horseradish, I chose to enjoy mine: plain. They needed no additions.
As we enjoyed our oysters, we decided to order the French Onion Crab Dip and the ‘Tasting of Rhode Island’, both on the “Starters” page and share.
The Crab Dip was a compilation of caramelized onion and shallots with Jonah Crab (an East Coast crab), and served with Pita Chips for dipping.
It was inventive. I can not recall trying something like it before. The taste was smoky but offset beautifully by the caramelized onion.
The ‘Tasting of Rhode Island’ was a unique take on a charcuterie, with sopressata, copa, cranberry walnut bread, local Narragansett Creamery Atwells Gold cheese and Ocean House berry jam.
The combination was unique; the bread most like dessert, when coupled with the jam. If sweet is not your thing, no worries, as the cheese was strong in texture, light in flavor and paired beautifully with the dry sopressata, should you choose to skip the bread.
As we enjoyed our bites, we watched the ocean, we watched croquet, and we enjoyed a beautiful ocean breeze.
Following our heavenly multi-sensory experience, steps from The Verandah, we were able to walk to the beach, view the beautiful ocean, explore the flowers and be a part of the picturesque landscape.
My only regret is that I could not stay longer.
I highly recommend that if you find yourself in the area, make a stop. I can promise your eyes, ears and palette will thank you, and I look forward to my next visit and back for this experience, most fondly.
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Editor with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. She has worked with PRADA USA Corp., Jurlique, Amore Pacific and the New York Daily News in management capacities including Marketing, Client Relations, Employee Relations and Training Management. She has authored and published the column, “Ask Angela,” featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. Her beauty advice has been featured in Shape and Fitness Magazines and CBS News.
She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Writing. Angela also has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Angela is currently creator of Circuit Cosmetics, a Brand Ambassador for luxury beauty line, Patchology, an On Air Guest for QVC and blogger for www.thelaughinmommy.blogspot.com.
In her spare time you can find Angela running, spinning, practicing yoga or getting beautified. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her Husband, Son, and Chihuahuas.