Order this... A balance of textures and flavors at Winfield’s

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 9:00pm

When people ask “Where can we go for a really good meal that has upscale food?” Winfield’s is often the answer. 

For 10 years now, Chef Berke Marye has served up consistently high-quality food that keeps summer and year-round locals coming here weekly during both the shoulder and summer seasons.  A well-rounded menu offers refined dishes that vary a bit from year to year but remain popular with diners, such as the Lobster Mac and Cheese, the Winfield’s Salad, and the Seafood Chowder (a multi-time first place winner at BIMI’s Chowdafest). Most dishes have just a few key ingredients that lend a welcomed restraint to the world of dining. You won’t be wondering what you’re tasting, but you will thoroughly enjoy the balance of textures and flavors on your plate.

See This:

Winfield’s is split into two sections, a lounge area with a full-length bar and a dining area in a room with large exposed beams. Both areas are dark and cozy; Berke’s paintings adorn the walls along with other works by local artists. A soft light shines on the bar area highlighting fresh flowers and top shelf liquor. Fans lazily move the cool air around the lounge where people sit at high top tables or at the bar; a full menu is served at each. The dining room boasts wall air conditioning units and a quiet rustic atmosphere. Tables dot the space and though the room is open, intimate dining areas are created by support beams that speak to the strong foundation of the building. On Monday nights you’ll hear Finn, Cameron, Wild Bill and Chef Marye himself playing jazz in the lounge as listeners tap their toes and smile at new friends and old.

Taste This:  

Chef Marye served us the dish I’ve been hearing everyone talk about, the Roasted Cod. Dusted with basil parmesan breadcrumbs, the fish sits atop a mustard cream sauce accompanied by mushroom duxelles, sautéed asparagus, fingerling potatoes topped with pickled fennel. Each element on the plate was prepared perfectly; the asparagus was snappy without being undercooked, the smokey sourness of the mustard sauce contrasted beautifully with the sweet-sour flavor of the pickled fennel. The cod was flaky, light and creamy and balanced well with the earthiness of the mushrooms. Taken as a whole, the flavor of the dish tasted of sea, earth and spice—a very satisfying entree for both your palate and your appetite. 

What everyone else is eating/drinking:

John and Sharon of Atlanta, Georgia, eat at Winfield’s about once a week, and say it’s “the most consistent cuisine, restaurant and food on the island.” Both speak highly of the staff and the quality, which John said is “great, and the portions are fine no matter whether it’s a couple of appetizers or an app and an entree.”  Sharon usually gets the Winfield’s salad with beef tenderloin, while John likes to dine on the pork chop brined with bourbon and served with white bean puree, cider gastrique and fennel-radicchio slaw. He’s also eaten the swordfish and is a big fan of the seafood chowder.  Sharon likes that “they have vegetarian options, which are good for our crew, and we really like the atmosphere. It’s nice, cozy, and you can sit at the bar or the dining room and see friends nearby.” John and Sharon have a friend in the restaurant business who they brought to Winfield’s, and he felt it was “one of the top restaurants in the country.” Susan and Peter from Bedford, N.Y. also come to Winfield’s at least once a week, and they too have been coming since the restaurant opened. Susan “always gets the Winfield’s salad with tenderloin; they cook it perfectly and the mix of pistachios, cranberries and goat cheese are a fabulous complement to the beef.” Peter gets the Roast Chicken which he said “is cooked to perfection, and the mashed potatoes with it are also really good, and the sauce is tangy and great.”  The couple love the bread and roasted garlic that is served to each table in lieu of butter; Susan notes that “it’s a staple, the garlic is delicious, buttery and it’s so good to take a piece of bread and dig into the garlic and then dip it into the oil with parmesan, it’s a perfect start to the meal.”  She also will order the Lobster Mac and Cheese as a “treat to myself when I’m really craving comfort food that is just a killer dish.”

Block Islanders Persephone and Chopper have been coming to Winfield’s for five years now once a week for “date night.” Duck confit or steak are their choices, along with a Caeser salad or a Winfield’s salad. They love the comfortable setting and the “nice dining experience that makes us feel like we’re in someone’s home — there are lots of friendly faces and we can just be relaxed while we eat a really good meal.” Persephone says that the duck confit is her favorite because “it’s crispy on the outside, and the flavors of the pickled onions and the sauce make it perfectly sweet, salty, crispy, soft and juicy.” Winfield’s mussel dish is the preference of The Block Island Times’ own Kari, who loves the dish because “it’s different than any other mussel dish I’ve had — the jalapeños in the broth contrasted with the mussels make it sweet and spicy, and it’s a satisfying appetizer without being over-filling.”  

The restaurant menu reflects the current season and local produce, so you’ll find Blackberry Martinis on the drink list now as well as Atlantic Swordfish and Narragansett Bay Mussels. Winfield’s will remain open until Oct. 27, and Chef Marye says the fall menu will focus on “super comfort food.” I’m planning to treat myself, as Susan suggested, to the Lobster Mac and Cheese after I participate in the Run Around the Block in early September. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate and satiate than sitting at the bar at Winfield’s with a glass of wine and the best comfort food around.