From picturesque rock walls to coastal charm, Tiverton is an oft-overlooked area of the Ocean State. Steeped in New England atmosphere, the dining options pull inspiration from the seaside destination. One of the more unique restaurants in the area is The Red Dory. A recent renovation of their wide-open, airy space on the inside is complemented by a deck and vine-covered pergola that sits beside the calm waters of the Rhode Island Sound.
With so many topshelf options for traditional lobster rolls, fish and chips, and New England clam chowder in the vicinity, chef and owner Aaron DeRego purposely took The Red Dory in a different direction. Their menu is based in Mediterranean-style fine dining, and offers a welcome new angle
on local seafood.
The Grilled Spanish Octopus, a standout appetizer on the menu, is a perfect example of an alternative flavor profile that utilizes locally sourced Rhode Island seafood. With romesco sauce, fried chickpeas, and pimenton de la vera (a smoky paprika), the octopus is pulled in an earthy, smoky direction with a hint of citrus. It’s a clear and bold introduction to The Red Dory.
The Smoked Haddock and Clam Chowder is another example of this restaurant’s creativity. It’s meaty and briny, with sweet strips of onions, and falls somewhere in between a white and a clear chowder. Paired with the Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs (which bring a thick yolk filling packed with a savory salmon smash), these three apps paint an alternative picture of coastal cuisine you can enjoy over views of Narragansett Bay.
In a surprising left turn, during my visit chef DeRego sent out some of Red Dory’s housemade pastrami. Smoked to perfection in-house and served with zucchini pickles, the pastrami casts the net even further (no pun intended) and prepares you for the diverse main course options.
Pork and Veal Meatballs aren’t what you’d expect from a New England restaurant named after a fisherman’s boat, but DeRego’s take fits perfectly alongside their ocean-based options. The taste of veal is the star of the show in this dish. Served in a chicken stock with orecchiette pasta and delicious oyster mushrooms, kale leaves provide a thick, crispy texture juxtaposed against the extremely soft, lightly
Lastly, the Pan Roasted Cod completes the tapestry. Served cassoulet-style (think slow-simmered casserole), the cod is paired with white beans, meaty littlenecks, and super tasty housemade sausage. The contrast here is the focal point of the dish, not only in flavors, but also in the fact that this is a hearty, filling meal that still feels light and ideal for a breezy summer afternoon.
The Red Dory is doing something different. Its sights are clearly set on providing the refined eaters of Rhode Island with a road-less-traveled opportunity for experiencing fish, tentacles, and shells. DeRego’s menu sails into the familiar, rich waters of Rhode Island seafood – but they’re charting a course into new, delicious, territory.
The Red Dory • 1848 Main Road, Tiverton
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