I’ll be honest: my dining experience in the town of Portsmouth is limited. I think of the place more as the quiet, beautiful end of Aquidneck Island than as a dining destination. If you’re looking for a casual, neighborhood restaurant with a beautiful view, I can say that a friend and I did have a very enjoyable dinner at 15 Point Road.
The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive at 15 Point Road is location, location, location. Yes, the place has it three times over. The restaurant sits right on the Sakonnet River and you can watch the boats go by, looking across the river to Tiverton and down the East Bay’s west coast. There’s a big deck for outdoor dining; though we had to sit inside this time of year, we still got a nice water vista. The restaurant was busy on a Thursday night and I would expect that during the summer the place would be completely mobbed.
Dining at a waterfront restaurant during the “off-season” can have its ups and downs. One up is that you can walk in and get a table by a big window with no problem. One down is they may not be staffed as heavily; my friend and I stood waiting for over five minutes until someone approached us to be seated. From there on the service was fine, though at some points in the evening you could definitely feel that there were only two servers taking care of the relatively full dining room.
The dining room looked as you expect and want a waterfront restaurant to look: lots of blues and some boat themed décor. There were a number of large booths in the middle of the room that could accommodate bigger parties. I got the feeling that 15 Point Road is a great restaurant for locals to get together with family. We began by ordering some wine from an expansive list of over 20 wines by the glass, and even more by the bottle. It’s a good list and my friend and I both agreed the wine pour was very healthy.
We started with the Littlenecks Peri Peri ($11) and the Hot and Spicy Shrimp ($12). The littlenecks are served like a bowl of mussels with white wine, chourico, garlic, white beans, tomato, oregano and crostini. They were well executed and the chourico was excellent with the clams. The dish quickly disappeared. The shrimp were nicely cooked with Cajun spices and white wine, but I don’t know that I’d call it particularly spicy. It had good flavor, though.
For dinner I ordered a Pappardelle Pasta with Chicken and Mushrooms ($18) while my friend ordered the No. 15 Mount Hope Seafood ($26). The chicken was well cooked, with a nice grilled char on it. The whole dish was dressed in a wispy light tomato and Parmesan sauce, almost like a broth but with a bit more body. The mushrooms, Parmesan and tomato made for an ideally flavorful mix.
As for the No. 15 Mount Hope Seafood, I almost couldn’t get it away from my friend for a taste. The dish is comprised of lobster, shrimp, scallops, tomatoes, tarragon and scallions sautéed in a wine cream sauce and served over a puff pastry. It had that down-home tastiness that lots of seafood, butter and creamy richness can give. We did clear that plate, including the entire large square of puff pastry.
There were a number of dessert choices and we asked our server for two that are prepared in house, the Crème Brûlée with Grand Marnier and the Cinnamon Beignets with Vanilla Ice Cream (both $6). We were told the Crème Brûlée was a new recipe and unfortunately my friend and I both agreed that they needed to tweak it. But we completely flipped for the Beignets. They were more like little, light, fluffy doughnuts than traditional beignets but we didn’t care. There was some salt in with all the cinnamon sugar, which made the flavor bigger; the freshly fried beignets with the cold vanilla ice cream made for a great contrast in the mouth.
When my friend and I finished our meal at 15 Point Road we walked outside and lingered on the deck for a while. It was a cool but not cold November evening and the scene along the Sakonnet River was as still as a photo. Perhaps the evening’s experience wasn’t perfect, but it was very good for a casual dinner with a beautiful view – a smart choice for a neighborhood place.