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Five Things: Seasons at Ocean House, Watch Hill

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

 

Gorgeous setting and delicious fare. Ocean House's Seasons.

With a change to spring, what better time than to investigate a change in culinary leadership at Seasons, the Ocean House's marquis dining room? Sean DeBobes set sail for Watch Hill to file this report. Here are the five things he wants you to know.

One. Cocktail hour.

Seasons impressed me from the beginning with an expansive and varied cocktail list. Favorites from the 1930 Savoy cocktail book are given new life alongside new offerings with a bit more whimsy. The Blood & Sand (created for the 1922 movie by the same name) was simple, elegant and perfect for cocktail hour. Scotch whiskey is blended with Cherry Heering, sweet vermouth and orange juice for a sweet and balanced sip. My server also suggested I tried something new. Under her guidance I opted for the In The Weeds cocktail. An homage to busy kitchen lines, this new flavor combined gin, green chartreuse and a tarragon tea. A bit murky visually, but delicious.

Two. Oysters & scallops.

Where the magic happens: the kitchen at Seasons.

I was so happy that my tasting menu included two shellfish courses—how can you settle for one when you are only yards from crashing waves and salt water breezes? From just up the road came a flight of raw Matunuck Oysters. In an interesting preparation, chef served the super cold bivalves with a black pepper gelee and Champagne granite that combined sweet and refreshing notes with a spicy kick. Keeping it local, next up was a roasted Point Judith scallop. Kudos to the kitchen for the sear on this scallop—when combined with an earthy black truffle shaving and rich braised red cabbage, this mollusk delivered great texture and incredible flavor.

Three. Savory, at last.

Through five courses the kitchen had kept the menu fairly sweet, with all dishes having a primary or fairly dominant saccharinity to them. With my palate craving something piquant the Crispy skinned breast of Pekin duck arrived. With perfect cookery and assured seasoning, this dish stirred me. Dominant fat flavors from the duck melded with crisp bacon and charred Brussels sprouts. The finish, a red beet aigre-doux, brought a pleasantly sour end.

Four. You had me at soufflé.

Many restaurants have given up on soufflés, seeking easier and more humble offerings. I am glad the Ocean House is still putting out a soufflé of the evening, the world deserves this well executed dessert. With a bit of flamboyant service the staff finished this dessert tableside by deeply scoring the delicate pistachio pastry and pouring in a rich pineapple crème anglaise. Instant custard! I will remember this delicate and special dessert for some time.

Five. Be prepared.

Seasons is without a doubt a wonderful restaurant in an iconic resort. With that comes a price tag. Although you can be diligent in menu selection you should be prepared to spend over $100 per person (perhaps well over) for a truly remarkable and memorable experience. My exceptionally trained server, Jenna, helped to provide an elevated level of service that was friendly and informed but not overwhelming. The resident sommelier, Jonathon Feiler, skillfully paired wines with each course and charmed the table with well-honed anecdotes. So while this might not be in every diner’s Tuesday night budget pick an occasion and celebrate with a meal and a restaurant that you will remember for a long time.

Would I go back? Yes. The meal and the beautiful property will surely lure me back in.

Hit “Save” Seasons at The Ocean House, 1 Bluff Ave, Watch Hill, 401-584-700. Call for seasonal hours.

Want to know more? Follow Sean DeBobes on the Five Things Facebook page, or on Twitter @SeanDeBobes.

For more Food coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.

 

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