While most people were prepping for Hurricane Irene, Monica and I braved the elements and went out to dinner (now that’s dedication!). We recently visited Hemenway’s on South Main Street in Providence and there was only one thing on the brain….seafood! For over 20 years, this Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar has been setting the standards, adhering to the highest quality in ocean-freshness.
I decided to skip the Raw Bar this time around (which is rare for me!) and order right from their regular menu. I was pleased to see the extensive selection of fish including Arctic Char, Rainbow Trout, Halibut, Swordfish, and lots more. Being an avid lover of seafood, it was certainly hard to make up my mind, but I managed to narrow it down to a few dishes in particular.
We started with the Hemenway’s Clams Casino (shown in the main picture above). Each of these shelled delights were topped with a massive slab of rich, savory pork belly. No need to search for scattered pieces of bacon bits here. Nope! Hemenway’s elevates this classic dish to symphonic heights by adding juicy hunks of bacon. Buried underneath, and not to be outdone, are the large, succulent clams. This tantalizing appetizer is the ultimate bite of land and sea. I have had my fair share of Clams Casinos, and I can honestly say, none compare to Hemenway’s. This is the best of the best in my opinion.
Next, we ordered Oysters Hemenway’s which consisted of 5 fresh shucked oysters, baby spinach, lobster sherry cream, and parmesan crumbs. It’s never a bad idea to order a dish named after the establishment itself. I mean, think about it, they would never name a bad dish after the restaurant, right? :)
This was an interesting spin on oysters with some Italian inspired ingredients. Once again, Hemenway’s brought this to dish to another level by combining the sherry cream sauce with the flavor of lobster. In just one small bite, I was able to taste a crunchy parmesan crust, earthy sautéed spinach, creamy lobster sherry sauce, and a clean, silky oyster – it was the quintessential bite! Overall, I was very impressed with this dish. We were off to a great start!
All entrees are served with a choice of a House Salad or Caesar Salad. Clearly I went for the latter. Anchovies crisscrossed the center of the plate and provided welcoming hints of saltiness. I just wish there was more dressing. The lettuce was bit too dry for my liking.
For my entrée, I ordered the Chili Lime Swordfish with Avocado Tomato Salad and Fingerling Potatoes. I was informed that this was a new addition to the menu which can sometimes be a real toss-up. Luckily for me, it turned out to be something they should consider keeping on the menu for a LONG time!
My server was very knowledge throughout the night. She informed me the swordfish was caught locally from Block Island and I could definitely taste the freshness of the fish. It was topped with some smooth, buttery avocados and thin, crunchy tortilla strips for some textural contrast. My only minor complaint is that the ratio of avocados to tomatoes was not balanced. I wish there were more tomatoes because the avocados eventually became too overpowering. Nonetheless, it’s an easy fix and I would definitely order this dish again!
Monica couldn’t resist the sinister creation pictured above. I always wonder who’s diabolical, yet genius idea it was to combine Lobster and Macaroni and Cheese. Is there anything more sublime than this?
Sometimes lobster can be scarce in a Mac N’ Cheese. However, this was not the case here. There must have been two whole lobster tails in this dish! Hemenway’s certainly didn’t skimp on the everyone’s’ favorite ingredient. Monica was so happy, she could have damn near given the chef a hug.
Somehow I managed to convince Monica to let me try a bite. The Vermont White Cheddar Bechamel was delicious, but honestly, it was a bit too heavy for my liking. If you are like Monica, and you enjoy a rich, indulgent Mac N’ Cheese, you will probably love this.
The texture was reminiscent of a cheesecake, just more light and airy. I loved the tartness of the limes mixed with the sweetness of the pie. I was not fond of the pistachios crumbled on top though. It seemed like this was added mainly for aesthetic reasons to bring out the color green in the dish. The flavor of the pistachios clashed with the other elements in the dessert. Minus the nuts, this might be one of the best Key Lime Pies I have ever tried though.
Hemenway’s provided us with a very memorable meal from start to finish. If you are looking to enjoy some ocean-fresh seafood along with other farm fresh ingredients, Hemenway’s should be at the top of your list. They have truly set the bar for seafood in Providence. I am definitely looking forward to tasting more items off there menu…very, very soon!