As a food photographer and writer and proud Rhode Islander, I hold myself to a high standard when giving restaurant recommendations to out-of-town guests. The perfect spot needs to meet the following criteria: thoughtful dishes with quality ingredients, a comfortable and welcoming environment, and, not to be overlooked, a waterfront view. Trafford Restaurant, located in Warren, checks every box, and has secured a permanent spot at the top of my list.
On a recent visit, my boyfriend and I were seated on the dazzling second floor by large picture windows that look out onto the bay, timed just right to witness the sunset. An array of blue tones and spherical, bubble-like light fixtures adorned the dining room, accompanied by shiny wooden accents that gave the feeling of being on a luxury cruise boat.
We each ordered a signature cocktail to start – the Lavender Collins for me and the Main Squeeze Margarita for him. Both drinks were a treat for the senses: aromatic and eye-catching, with delicate blends of flavor. Butterfly pea flower-tinted purple Empress 1908 gin, lemon juice, lavender simple syrup, and splash of soda water made up the Lavender Collins, while the Main Squeeze was a Trafford take on a spicy margarita, with jalepeño-infused tequila, triple sec, mango, and lime juices, gently sweetened with agave.
We took full advantage of the seaside offerings for our appetizers by ordering a traditional Lobster Bisque, Ahi Tuna, and the Poached Scallops. The scallops arrived adorably served on the half shell prepared in a rich mix of thyme butter, julienne cut apple, candied bacon crumble, and truffle beurre blanc (a creamy emulsified butter sauce), garnished with dainty purple edible flowers. They reminded me of a DIY dish assembled by the Little Mermaid herself. The Ahi Tuna was remarkably refreshing, served crusted in sesame seeds over a crispy sushi rice and fresh radish slices, with micro dollops of wasabi pea puree and orange soy glaze to finish.
Our entrees from the land were a perfect contrast. I had the Duck Confit Ravioli, a three-cheese fresh ravioli in a mouth-watering garlic and shallot cream sauce, towered with tender duck confit and sprinkled with micro greens. My boyfriend chose the Skirt Steak, which came marinated in a kiwi, soy, and sesame sauce, accompanied by a vibrant chimichurri over red bliss mashed potatoes. We feasted on the symphony of flavors, finding ourselves full to the brim, and yet we still found a little more room for dessert.
Splitting the Crème Brûlée and Flourless Chocolate Brownie proved to be a wise choice – we loved every single bite. Perhaps the biggest endorsement for Trafford Restaurant, though, was that by the end of the evening, my boyfriend insisted that his friends make a reservation.
285 Water Street, Warren • 401-289-2265
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