We visited the Sakonnet River Grille in Tiverton on a Friday night and our first surprise at this relatively new restaurant was the crowd. Who would expect an eatery on a quiet stretch of Main Street in Tiverton to be so in-demand? Actually, it’s not so surprising that the Sakonnet River Grille caught on quickly with locals. The owners, the Gorman family, have owned Four Corners Grille in Tiverton for almost two decades. We didn’t mind the wait; the bench near the bar offers some good people watching opportunities as well as above-bar TVs for sports fans.
As we were seated, the evening’s crowd started to quiet. Perusing the cocktail menu, I decided on a Dark ‘N Stormy made with Regatta, a medium-strength ginger beer sweetened with cane sugar. My husband had the Hopscape from Sam Adams, which was available on draft. It’s a wheat ale made with four types of hops (Citra, Centennial, Chinook and Zeus) and sports a balanced flavor profile.
While we waited for our appetizer, we couldn’t stop pecking at the fresh, warm rolls in the breadbasket.
My husband had tried to talk me into the Pickle Fries with bacon aioli, but I made a convincing case for the Pan-Seared Maple Sea Scallops. Though I love scallops, I find that scallop dishes can often be presented with similar ingredients and plating, so it was refreshing to try this novel take. They were glazed in a maple sauce with a touch of lemon and pepper. The flavors were incredibly well balanced, with the lemon’s acidity cutting the maple’s sweetness.
Next, we each enjoyed a cup of Original Recipe New England Clam Chowder. It was thick, warm and filling. The French Onion Soup also looked delicious and seemed to be a crowd favorite – I saw several pass by on their way to other tables.
I’ll tell you what I really wanted to order for dinner: the Lisbon Burger, an Angus burger on a bolo with grilled chourico, a fried egg and cheddar cheese. The Lobster Mac and Cheese was also tempting. But, still feeling the overindulgence of a couple of days in New York City, I opted for the Spinach Feta Chicken instead. It was a large boneless and skinless chicken breast with wilted baby spinach and sliced roasted red peppers topped with feta and garlic butter. Most entrees come with a choice of pasta or two dinner sides. I had the Baked Potato, only available on Fridays and Saturdays, and the Vegetable Medley. With my chicken, I had a glass of the Tiki sauvignon blanc, an easy-drinking, lively New Zealand wine that is great for the price.
My husband had the Fried Clam Dinner, a generous portion of fried whole-belly clams with fries and coleslaw. These were pretty classic clam shack fare, fried and served with tartar sauce.
The atmosphere is casual, with a bar dividing two small dining areas. I appreciated the historic photographs of Tiverton life. The one nearest to our group depicted a large table of gentlemen enjoying a meal at the turn of the 20th century, probably at a private club.
As soon as we had walked in the door that evening, we noticed the diner-like pie display next to the bar so we knew we had to end our visit with some dessert. My husband had the Lemon Meringue Pie and I went for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie, with a graham cracker crust and layers of chocolate, peanut butter and cream. On my way out I longingly looked at the Kentucky Pie, a delicious-looking combination of pecan and chocolate. Alas, I do have my limits. I can see why this is a local favorite – the staff are energetic and friendly, and there’s just about something for every taste on the menu.
Sakonnet River Grille
524 Main Road, Tiverton