Dining Out

A Room with a View

Reinventing one of Pier Marketplace's prime locations

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It used to be called Amalfi. And then it was an Indian restaurant for a while. Now, the scenic location is called Oceanside. I’m describing the restaurant that is part of the Village Inn, the hotel at Pier Marketplace in Narragansett. Yes, the restaurant with the huge deck that has a view of Narragansett Town Beach, where – come summer – thousands of people bake in the sun and surfers ride the waves onto the shore.

On a recent Saturday, we skipped lunch in order to have an early dinner at Oceanside in order to enjoy the ocean view before dark. We were greeted immediately and warmly, and we were led through a large bar and lounge area to the dining room with its dark wood floor, comfortable chairs and highly polished wooden tables set with cloth napkins and real flowers. Hopefully by the summer a bit more color will be brought into the mostly brown room. Our young waitress promptly brought us menus and took our drink and dinner order.

The Lobster Sliders ($18) and the Beer-Battered Fish Tacos ($11) were tempting, but that kind of fare will taste even better this summer when we're seated on the deck with that delightful ocean view.

Every bit of food we had that night at Oceanside was excellent, starting with our appetizer and the large salad we shared. The Fritters ($12) were light and airy and flavored nicely with lobster, shrimp and crab. On the side was a small ramekin of sweet and spicy aioli that’s definitely worth a dip or two. But I found these fritters so perfectly flavorful, I preferred eating them as is. Not even a sprinkle of salt was needed.

The Chopped Salad ($12) was served in a large bowl and just enough for two salad lovers to share. The finely chopped ingredients included mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, bacon, sunflower seeds and Gorgonzola for an amazing array of flavors, only made better with the crunch of a few fried wonton strips and the bright taste of creamy orange dressing. If they bottled that stuff, I’d buy a case.

I know I shouldn’t have, but I ordered the decadent Lobster Alfredo ($24), a delicious bowl of penne pasta in a rich alfredo sauce with plenty of lobster meat. The deep bowl of pasta was dusted with freshly chopped parsley. Every once in a while, I crave a good alfredo, and this was very satisfying. (Note: I was back to my healthy eating plan the very next day.)

Equally impressive was the Rib Eye Steak ($22), a huge slab of tender meat packed with flavor. The 14-ounce boneless center cut was served with grilled asparagus and a mountain of simply wonderful, garlicky roasted potatoes. Both entrees were more than we could eat so we brought leftovers home, supposedly for our dog.

The same menu is offered at lunch and dinner. That includes appetizer selections from the raw bar, chowder, calamari and spicy chicken wings. Burgers and sandwiches ($9 to $18) include a Bacon Bleu Burger and a Chicken Club. The grilled pizzas ($10 to $14) feature an excellent Bacon Burger Pizza loaded with bacon, Hereford ground beef, caramelized onions, cheddar, mozzarella and red sauce. The entrees ($11 to $25) are mostly from the sea -dishes featuring shrimp, scallops, salmon and cod. The Land & Sea is an 8-ounce filet mignon with a shucked lobster tail. The king cut of Prime Rib, slow roasted for six hours, is available only on Fridays.

Desserts are limited at Oceanside, at least the night we were there. We were given a choice of cheesecake or crème brulee. After our rich dinners, I would have liked something light and fruity. Instead we shared the classic cheesecake, a slim wedge topped generously with whipped cream.

Our waitress was pleasant and attentive, but she never told us about the nightly specials that were offered to customers at a nearby table. Nor did she clear away our appetizer plates when the entrees arrived. The service at Oceanside is okay, but such good food demands something better than that. Hopefully by this summer, when the deck at Oceanside is the place to be, the staff will be just as impressive as the food.