Order this... Lobster nachos at Los Gatitos

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 1:15pm

Food and drinks come first, but the addition of history and culture makes this restaurant reporting “gig” so interesting. Los Gatitos Restaurante, the Mexican restaurant on the deck of The Yellow Kittens, is the perfect example of this combination. Kristen Kiley, one of the four Kiley siblings who owns the Yellow Kittens, Los Gatitos (Yellow Kittens in Spanish) and Winfields) and whose family owns the building, gave us the history lesson and Elliott Menke, the Executive Chef, talked to us about the Mexican menu with some American twists.

Kristen, manager of the restaurant, noted that the original building opened in 1876 as The Yellow Kittens and the Kiley family bought the building in 1969. They built the Winfield's annex in the early 1980s. The family took over management in 2014 and redecorated Los Gatitos with hand-painted tables that have yellow cat motifs, a new bar, and a mural in back of the bar that was from their grandfather’s bookcase.

Chef Menke, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has been chef since 2014 and has a wide range of experience, having worked on Block Island for 14 years, and from his love of adventure and travel during the winter season. In the winter of 2015-2016 he drove 16,000 miles across the country, and 20,000 miles the year before, eating Mexican food all the way. Chef Menke developed the menu, which has all fresh sauces, each with its own twist, and dishes such as the Tumbleweed Burger that have both Mexican and American ingredients, as well as many vegetarian and gluten free choices. There is also the fresh catch of the day. And, best of all for those who like options, many of the menu offerings are “Build Your Own” with numerous choices. 

Our interview ended with a tasting of the house nachos, served with an ample helping of fresh Maine lobster — a perfect end to a warm, sunny beach day, particularly when accompanied by a delicious frozen margarita. And, as we left, we received a final treat of toasted cornbread with honey butter — a do not miss! — Becky Ballard and Ruth Perfido

Los Gatitos is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily through Columbus Day. Call (401) 466-5855 for takeout.