The finest compliment I can pay to a restaurant is a simplistic statement that speaks volumes: “If I lived here, this would be my go-to.”
That is exactly what I expressed at the conclusion of my dining experience at 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille in Newport, Rhode Island. Named simply for being located at 22 Bowen’s Wharf, this restaurant is enveloped in history and serves enticing cuisine, all while you relax and allow your eyes to feast on what is known as the “anchor of Newport.”
About Bowen’s Wharf
Bowen’s Wharf, originally known as Stevens’ Wharf, is located on the waterfront at the foot of Newport’s Historic Hill and is home to more colonial houses and public buildings than any other city in America. Situated on Newport Harbor with direct water access to Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, it is an excellent port to stop en route to other destinations, including Martha’s Vineyard.
Providence and Newport were founded by dissidents and became places of refuge for others to worship as they pleased as far back to the 1600s. Throughout Newport today you can visit colonial homes, landmarks such as the Colonial House, the Touro Synogogue and the Redwood Library.
Amongst the history is modern shopping that does not disappoint. A Black Dog, Alex & Ani, Upper Deck Clothing, Monelle Newport and Soap & Water are just a few of the shops offering uniquely designed beach inspired clothing and personal care. Sheldon Fine Art, a gallery space, exhibits one of a kind works of art to browse of purchase and is a must see (note, artwork is exempt from state sales tax.)
You should not miss the option to take a cruise around the harbor to enjoy the view and the fresh air that smells of sea salt, lavender and honey suckle.
While all of these discoveries are etched in my memory, my favorite discovery of all was dining at 22 Bowen’s.
22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille
Bowen’s Wharf, Newport, RI 02840
Telephone: +1.(401) 841-8884
Steps away from the water is the entrance to 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille. Outdoor seating on the deck is available, and the architecture is deceptive from the outside. The restaurant appears small, but once inside, after a left turn, a large wooden staircase leads upstairs to a dining and bar area best described as “quaint.”
The service staff was impeccable. Our waiter loved his job and you could feel that. He knew the menu, he gave us honest opinions and explained his preferences to ensure that we made the right selections. I have not had a waiter of that caliber in quite some time and it helped us tremendously in navigating a menu that is expansive and heavily weighted on delectable appetizer options.
We decided to order and share several appetizers and forego the main courses, largely because the appetizers looked so interesting that we could not decide. This is not to say that the Entrees, Grille and Sandwich Selections were sub-par; far from it. It was just that we could not decide what we wanted to try from items on the menu termed as ‘Beginnings’.
We knew for certain that we wanted to try the Chilled New England Shellfish Sampler consisting of lobster, littleneck clams, shrimp and oysters – but hold the littlenecks – Not a problem at this restaurant. That and the Charcuterie & Cheese Board of Camembert, Daniele soppresato and duck rillette were definite choices.
Our shortlist also included Foie Gras served with brioche and toasted pistacios, Crispy Calamari with 3-pepper mint relish, Steak Bruschetta with horseradish cream & caramelized onion or the Tuna Poke with soy ginger, avocado, wasabi crema and crisps.
Our waiter advised us to add the Tuna Poke and see where we were after enjoying those three ‘Beginnings’.
We completed our order with a bottle of Bollini Pinot Grigio Trentini 2016, an excellent pairing with seafood, that is crisp and lightly fruity; and a bottle of Newport Storm Hurricane Amber Ale from Rhode Island’s Microbrewery. After all, when in Rome….
The Newport Storm Hurricane Amber Ale was “So nice that he had it twice.”
Note if you are traveling with children and your child has certain, shall we say “preferences”: I asked for something like chicken fingers and fries as it was not on the menu. They were more than happy to accommodate the request.
We placed our order and enjoyed the view while we waited.
Our food was nothing short of spectacular.
The local oysters were the best I have ever had. As a matter of fact, my husband ordered another dozen for himself. The lobster was perfection in texture and flavor. They “held the littlenecks!”
The Tuna Poke, topped with sliced radish, wasabi cream and green onion was yummy. A slight kick to the dish was tempered with sushi grade tuna that was not overly marinated, as some tartare can be.
The cheese was incredible. I have not met a cheeseboard that I have not liked, but I have had many duck accoutrements that have been great turn offs. This was not one of them. Light, duck pate and pure in flavor, it was one of the best that I have ever tasted.
Three large chicken breasts made my son’s plate and all were eaten happily by the end of the meal.
I do not think any of us could have had another bite nor tried another dish but when we return, the Steak Bruschetta is on my radar.
Whether you are in Newport enroute to Martha’s Vineyard or staying for a few days to take in the sights, 22 Bowen’s is a must for a dining experience.
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.