Order this... Eggplant Napoleon at The Barn
Those summer visitors who may not be familiar with The Barn — which is one of the few island establishments open in the winter — should know that The Barn is a wonderful, small restaurant on the grounds of the Spring House Hotel and is owned and managed by the DiBiase family (along with the fine dining and bistro restaurants in the main hotel).
Seats in the main room include those that overlook the open kitchen. There, a few fortunate folks can watch Thomas Arnold IV, sous chef for the DiBiase restaurants and a year-round Block Island resident, working some culinary magic as he flips fish and manages five or six items at a time, always with a smile.
The menu at The Barn changes weekly and is focused on farm-to-table foods, much of which are grown in the fields on the property. We tasted (actually, more than a taste because it was soooo good) Eggplant Napoleon, which is comprised of panko-crusted eggplant, baba ghanouj, marinated tomatoes, basil pesto and pecorino cheese. It is a don’t miss.
And, when you do go to The Barn, make certain to see the wallboards in the bar which were uncovered in the course of the renovation of another building located on the property. These wallboards are signed and dated between the late 1800s and 1950 by some of the young men who worked on the original building and include the names of the colleges they attended. So, The Barn offers not only excellent food and interesting drinks but also a “hands on” history lesson.
The Barn is open for dinner during the summer when The Spring House is closed for events. For more information see www.springhouseblockisland.com or call (401) 466-5844. — Becky Ballard and Ruth Perfido