Summer dining in Newport
Had an excellent lobster roll at The Pier Restaurant for lunch. It had so much lobster that it was fork food not pick up and just enough sauce to taste and season it. It came with french fries (typical frozen)and cole slaw(tasty). Dining outside at the bar on the dock was great. There were friendly locals to talk with and lots of boating activity that made a relaxing and fun afternoon. The Pier was opened last year under a new owner, replacing a similar venture. It is not listed in most travel books at this point.
Scales and Shells-
I watched the cook put together Sicilian clams on spaghetti and it looked so good that I ordered it. The clams were nice- a bit overcooked but the place was so busy I can let that go. However, someone had such a heavy hand with the thyme in the sauce that it was hardly edible. Almost a choking hazard. Guess they are victims of their own success or it's mid-summer and the regular cook quit.
The less they do with fresh seafood and the more they respect it the better.
It is worth a try. The chef seems to care about the food but some details were lost in translation.
The bouillabaisse was full of clams, mussels, scallops and some cod or haddock. The seafood was tender. It had that touch of Pernod or fennel at the finish of each slurp that is so delicious. It also had choker sized chunks of tomatoes that were left in the soup that wanted to be moved out of the way. I usually either use less tomato or remove it before serving to just take advantage of the flavor. Am I being fussy?
More about tomatoes at Zelda's-
There is nothing like home grown tomatoes, so when I saw "Heirloom Tomatoes with Mozzerella and Balsamic Reduction" salad offered, well, I was there. The tomatoes were OK, maybe not as ripe as they could be, but the balsamic drenched and pooled and overwhelmed everything. Too bad. Ask for the sauce on the side! But go and tell me all about it!
About beach resort food in general- it's about getting the job done. They are not relying on repeat business in many cases. There are summer cooks who go off to their regular jobs in September and the places with reputations ride on them until Chowhound catches up with them!
Joan from DC