Coast at The Ocean House
We’ve been groupies of Chef Jennifer Backman for years, from her sous chef days at the Ocean House to the dining room at Weekapaug Inn, then the formal tasting menu at Spicer Mansion, but we were happy to hear she’s back at the Ocean House, helming their new restaurant, Coast, and offering a five-course, prix fixe with optional wine pairings.
This degustation menu celebrates the best farmers and provisions mainly sourced within 150 miles (down to the homemade salt from Rhode Island waters!), and the setting is the most desirable in the Ocean House dining room, with sweeping views of the Atlantic from every table.
We arrived early to capture a bit of that view and quickly launched into a spectacular tasting menu. My decision-making ability wanes as the sun goes down, so I love having the choices made for me. Sure, you choose between a country pate or foie gras, and lamb or beef, but otherwise, how lovely to sit back and have immaculately-plated and a reasonable five small courses appear.
A palate cleanser of one perfect plump oyster with pear and ginger served with a small glass of Keel, a light Rhode Island potato vodka, got us off to a very happy start. My knee-jerk reaction to foie gras is yes please, and this slim terrine with hazelnuts and crunchy apple was heavenly. Next up, a pair of Stonington Scallops, seared and served two ways, with flavors of pomegranate and pumpkin-spiced pecans. My main dish of local lamb roulade, slow cooked and topped with a sweet little bundle (wrapped and tied!) of ratatouille was meltingly tender. My huband’s ribeye with ginger sticky rice and black garlic jus was gone before I got a taste, but the photo is gorgeous! We finished off with a puff of orange souffle, with a Grand Marnier Anglaise served tableside. Service, which has had its issues at Ocean House in the past, was seamless and educational, but not the least bit intrusive, and the wine pairings were original and interesting.
This is your spot for a birthday, anniversary, or any reason to celebrate even if it’s just another Saturday night. Plus, we love to see a female chef installed at this five-star hotel (an anomaly) and she absolutely shines here. See the menus here. A mouth-watering vegetarian degustation is offered, too.