Cover Story

The Art of Healthy Dining

Resolving to eat better? Find out how to at these area restaurants.

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It’s the New Year. Resolutions abound, and some will be kept more than others. If you’ve resolved to get rid of some of those pesky pounds you’ve packed on over the holidays, you’re in luck. Although it may be easiest to order a salad with a piece of chicken or fish on top, why not opt for a heartier choice? Think grilled seafood, roasted chicken and lots of tasty, healthy vegetables. No matter where you are in the Bay, there’s a dining option that will whet your appetite and keep you on track with your fitness goals. Plus, area chefs are so darn talented that they’ll work with you to substitute healthier options into any meal. Bon Appétit!

Turn Up the Heat

Lobster isn’t just for summer dining. In fact, getting it year round is one of the many perks of having access to Narragansett Bay. Lucky for us, Simone’s is also in on the secret, and they’ve got a version that’s lip-smacking good. Made with spiked olive oil, their Wood Grilled Lobster with mushrooms, roasted peppers, wilted escarole and quinoa is heavy on the flavor and light on the calries. Plus, you’re getting double the protein with the lobster and the quinoa, which, opposed to other carbs, is a complete protein. Think of this as an after-workout indulgence you can still feel good about.

Other healthful options to consider are the Grilled Baffoni Chicken Breast with lemon, olive oil, basil, roasted potatoes and vegetables or the Forno Roasted Cioppino with sea scallops, cod, mussels, clams, braised greens and seasoned tomatoes served with grilled bread and lemon aioli. Whoever said that vegetables are boring never ate here. 275 Child Street, Warren. 401-247-1200, www.SimonesRI.com

See Food Differently
There’s nothing like a superbly talented chef to bring your biggest taste dreams to life. If, however, you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, head over to Bluewater Bar and Grill: they’ll help you out. For starters, they’ve got a Free Range Chicken entree with statler breast, butternut squash, dried cranberries, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and cider jus. If you’re more in the mood for seafood, try their Chatham Cod with Panko breadcrumbs, Kalamata olives, yellow tomatoes, artichoke hearts, asparagus and lemon caper butter served with wild rice. Or, have a seafood party on your plate with the Seafood Grill. Think scallops, mussels, shrimp, half a lobster tail with scampi crumbs with limoncello butter and wild rice. They also give you the option of subbing out any carb for gluten-free gemelli. Plus, they can make any dish gluten-free for those of the celiac persuasion. 32 Barton Avenue, Barrington. 401-247-0017, www.BluewaterGrillRI.com

Wrap It Up
If you’re looking to get your greens and lean protein in sandwich form, head over to Fieldstones. Prepared simply and straightforward, try the The Bristol Ferry Sandwich with grilled salmon, baby spinach, red onion, smoked bacon (I suppose you could skip this if you’re holding firm to your New Year’s resolution), with a tarragon dressing on grilled ciabatta bread. Or, choose from a variety of rolled up options like the Hummus Wrap with roasted garlic hummus, red onions, cucumbers, tomato, baby spinach and artichoke hearts or the Harvest Chicken Salad Wrap with diced apples, dried cranberries, special mayo, mesclun greens and pine nuts, drizzled with a balsamic reduction all wrapped up in an herb tortilla. Of course, sometimes you just need a juicy burger. If that’s the case, go the less fattening route with the Grilled Turkey Burger topped with sliced Granny Smith apple, cheddar cheese and cranberry mayo on grilled ciabatta bread. 980 E Main Road, Portsmouth. 401-293-5200, www.atlanticgrille.net/fs

Pub-Style Treats
Don’t discount area pubs for smart dining options. Just because it’s dark and you can watch the game doesn’t mean you have to stuff your face full of wings, pizza and nachos (unless, of course, you want to). Portsmouth Publick House has healthy game day options like their Hummus and Tabbouleh Wrap with lettuce, tomato and onions, or the Stuffed Portobello Sandwich chock full of onions, cranberries, feta cheese and spinach. If you’re looking for something a little heartier to repair your muscles after a long workout, the Orange Ginger Salmon is a good bet. They take a half pound of salmon, grill it, brush it with house made orange ginger glaze and serve it over rice with a side of asparagus. 1 King Charles Drive, Portsmouth. 401-682-2600, www.PortsouthPublickHouse.com

Elegant Eating
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Indian food is vegetarian and vegan options, rich curries and carbs. However, when I think of DeWolf Tavern’s Indian influence on their cuisine, I think fine dining, thoughtful dishes and mindful options. Vegetable simplicity is the star of the show in their Vegetable Sandwich. Spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, English peas, potato and fresh mozzarella take center stage in this elegantly healthful dish. For more substantial fare, try the Seafood Stew. Loaded with shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, swordfish, crab and lobster swimming in a coconut, coriander, star anise and mustard seed broth topped with broccoli rabe, the bounty of the ocean has never tasted so good. If you’re more in the mood for turf, try the Duck Breast, served with apple, mushrooms and parsnip. I bet you didn’t know mindful eating could be so elegant. 259 Thames Street, Bristol. 401-254-2005, www.DeWolfTavern.com

Give Yourself Wings
On another stretch of the East Bay along Route 6 is the newest member of the dining scene: The Aviary. Decorated like a childhood dreamscape come to life, full of bird cages, whimsical murals and framed birds, escape from the doldrums of protein shakes and egg whites and give your palate a burst of flavor. Start with the Pan-Seared Scallops served with Northern white beans, kale, local butternut squash and the b-word: bacon. After all, experts agree that some fat in your diet is essential. Or perhaps The Black Bean Burger is more up your alley. They do it right with guacamole, onion and tomato. Then again, I’m wouldn’t pass up the Chargrilled Pork Chop. It’s complete with Brussels sprouts, walnuts, dried cranberries, mashed red bliss potatoes and a local apple cider sauce… with bacon. Let’s face it, no matter what time of year it is or what dietary goals you have, bacon is one of hardest things to give up. So why not splurge just the tiniest bit. 2229 G.A.R. Highway (Route 6), Swansea. 508-379-6007, www.TheAviaryRestaurant.com

Light and Local
There’s eating thoughtfully, and then there’s eating thoughtfully and locally. Avenue N American Kitchen checks both of these boxes. They’ve made it their mission to not only put out well-crafted meals, but also to highlight the best of the season in creative ways. The fact that their dishes won’t weigh you down is just a plus. Their Free Range Organic Chicken is such a great example of this. Not only is the chicken mindfully raised, but wild hen of the woods mushrooms accompany it. Added to that is Amish corn, celeriac and potato puree tossed in a pancetta Madeira jus. Yes, please. For the vegetable inclined, try the Eggplant and Green Lentil Cassoulet. House made carrot cavatelli is dressed in poblano peppers and roasted tomatoes in a smoked paprika broth. The Pan Seared Filet of Salmon is a sure bet, too. Just try and imagine the flavors of hominy, red bean and roasted corn pico with salsa verde dancing across your tastebuds. And if you can’t imagine it, I guess you’ll have to stop by. 20 Newman Avenue, Rumford. 401-270-2836, www.AvenueNAmericanKitchen.com

Dining with a View
One of the best things about dining in the East Bay is the exquisite views available at so many area restaurants. There are no shortage of views at the Boat House, nor is there a shortage of tasty cuisine. Their options won’t leave you moving your belt buckle down a notch, but you will leave satisfied. Entrees like the Yellowfin Tuna accompanied by fennel piperade, Maine soldier beans and Kalamata olive tapenade are light yet satisfying. More fresh-from-the-ocean options like the Grilled Swordfish with asparagus, stewed tomatoes and roasted fingerling potatoes topped with a grilled scallion salsa verde or the pan roasted Herb-crusted Hake with chourico and tomato ragout, garbanzo beans and brabant potatoes will satisfy your craving for healthy and hearty. Their Paella is the stuff of legend: whole lobster, chicken, shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari and sausage over rice with garlic sofrito. This is the perfect dish to share without breaking your resolution. You can even order your protein a la carte if that’s all you want to feed your body – think Flat Iron Steak with a lemon-caper vinaigrette. 227 Schooner Drive, Tiverton. 401-624-6300, www.BoatHouseTiverton.com

Neighborhood Eats
You know what’s great about landmark neighborhood restaurants? They never fail to deliver favorite dishes or come up with tasty new ones. If you’ve ever dined in Seekonk, you know I’m talking about Chardonnay’s. In addition to the chef accommodating dietary concerns and healthy eating requests, they also have creative entrees that won’t leave you with resolution disappointment. The Tuscany Chicken is a great choice. Think boneless, grilled chicken breast with black, green and Kalamata olives, oven roasted tomatoes and artichoke hearts in a tarragon-garlic aioli. Their Chilean Sea Bass is a strong candidate as well. You can almost taste the Asian glaze on the oven-roasted bass and the sesame-ginger vinaigrette that’s been gently incorporated onto the crispy napa cabbage wonton salad. Make sure to ask for extra napkins – you’re sure to be salivating with anticipation. 393 Taunton Avenue, Seekonk. 508-336-0967, www.ChardonnaysRestaurant.com

Flavor Town
We sometimes need a nudge to drive more than 10 minutes from our home. This is why there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on nearly every corner of every street in this state. Coffee aside, there are more delicious reasons to leave the comfort of your own town. Head to Tiverton – trust me on this one – and stop by The Red Dory. With an eye towards creative seafood options that won’t break your resolutions, this is a slam dunk. Start with their Haddock and Littlenecks braised in olive oil and served with potatoes, salt cod and escarole. Feeling adventurous? Try their Daily Ceviche tossed with pickled sea beans, radish, garden herbs and chilies or the Tuna Po-Ke; it’s got cucumber, avocado, sesame and soy. Or, bite into the Faroe Island Sauteed Salmon with leeks, kale and potatoes delicately accentuated with a mustard sauce.

Still can’t decide what to go for? Consider the Sunday Lunch Tapas Menu. It’s a weekly list of ten dishes that include an average of seven dishes that are vegetables and mostly local and organic. 1848 Main Road, Tiverton. 401-816-5001, www.RedDoryRestaurant.com