You have to admire restaurants that take the time and effort (not to mention money!!) to change their image, both inside and outside the kitchen. Recently we were invited to Red Stripe to taste their new menu full of fresh seafood dishes and local favorites.
We were fortunate to dine at both the Narragansett (under new management) and Providence locations. It was a great experience to say the least. The staff at both restaurants were extremely friendly and professional. The servers were attentive and knowledgeable and not at all aggressive or pushy. In fact, it was some of the best service I’ve had in quite some time.
With a 6:30pm reservation, my friend CPA and I decided to spend the entire day at the beach. After boogying 5-foot waves, we were beginning to build an appetite. Red Stripe is only minutes from the beach so it didn’t take us long to get there. Seafood was on our brain so we got the ball rolling by ordering a trio of appetizers.
The Clams Casino was very satisfying. These half-shells were topped with a buttery mixture of bacon, peppers and bread crumbs. The clams were juicy and full of that sea brine taste. Our only complaint was the lack of bacon. In fact, I didn’t pick up the salty, smoky flavor at all.
Red Stripe takes a lot of pride into the making of their “Moules” or mussel dishes. We were intrigued by their choices of sauces so it was a must on our list. We went with their most popular sauce: Red Stripe. It was a creamy blend of shallots, pesto, and Red Stripe Beer.
As our server presented us with a half-portion, we were shocked by the amount of mussels that were in the bowl. I counted nearly 35 bi-valves all simmering in a bath of cream and garlic. Both taste and texture were on point and these were easily my favorite out of the three appetizers.
If you’re a Rhode Islander, then the bad boy pictured above should be a familiar site. For those not in the loop, I’ll let you in on what goes into stuffies. Stuffed clams consist of a bread stuffing mixed with onions, spices, and chopped clams, and then baked in an empty clam shell.
I would have preferred more clams as the ratio of stuffing-to-clams was a bit overwhelming. But at $2.99 each they are reasonably priced. One can easily eat 2 or 3 and call it a night. In fact, CPA was willing to skip the dinner menu and order a few more!
Is it really that hard to find a good Lobster Roll these days? I had high expectations for Red Stripe’s version and unfortunately it came a bit short. The hot dog bun was toasted and buttered and it was filled to the brim with chunks of lobster meat lightly coated in mayonnaise. However, the amount of celery that littered my roll totally threw me off. All I could taste was the bitter celery. Who knew such a minute ingredient could cause such a change in flavor, texture, and impression.
CPA seemed to be in the mood for bread crumbs because his obsession continued when he ordered Red Stripe’s Baked Salmon and Shrimp. Delivered in a hot iron cast pan, the salmon and jumbo shrimps were completely submerged in a bread stuffing mixture of Ritz crackers, parmesan cheese and sherry. It was accompanied by a side of rice pilaf and seasonal veggies.
I managed to take a few bites off his dish and was impressed. The moist, flaky salmon and shrimp soaked up most of the butter and juices from the stuffing which made each spoonful that much better.
We thoroughly enjoyed our night at Red Stripe Narragansett and witnessed first hand the end result of new management and a new menu. Check back later this week for my review of Red Stripe Providence…