Order this... Variety at The Atlantic Inn

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 12:30pm

The Atlantic Inn and its Restaurant 1879 sit up over the main part of town. From its north-facing windows and its long, shady porch one can view lawns, gardens and rooftops with beaches and open sea in the distance. A cool breeze and rosy sunsets are the icing on the cake.

This year the restaurant welcomed executive chef Brian Hartman who oversees not only The 1879, but its sister restaurant, Eli’s, a bistro on Chapel Street.

Hartman may be new to The Atlantic, but he’s had many years of restaurant experience — first in the northwest U.S. and later in the Monterey area of California. These various paths have influenced the food he presents, his techniques and creativity.

Owners Anne and Brad Marthens said, “It’s excellent having Brian join us here. His menus spotlight his own twist on things. The changes have been refreshing and well-received.”  Marthens’ son, Brad, Jr., is also a partner acting as bar manager and general supervisor.

Hartman demonstrated his skills with his popular Cedar Plank Sockeye SalmonThis sustainable salmon is served on a cured handcut slice of cedar which adds a distinctive presentation as well as aroma and flavor. 

The fish is served with haricots verts which have been cooked and then fried for a crispy texture, a risotto made with aji-amarillo and Parmesan cheese, topped off with a maple barrel-aged bourbon hollandaise. 

As an appetizer we tasted the 1879’s Baked Oysters “Block a Fella,” its own take on the classic. The Rhode Island oysters are topped with a combination of speck ham, chopped tender baby kale and gruyere cheese sprinkled with crushed Marcona almonds. 

The 1879 has become quite popular as the place for drinks and tapas on the lawn before moving inside for dinner. Of the number of choices on the tapas menu, Hartman’s Quick-Cured Salmon Bites are served with “a wow factor.” Nuggets of cured salmon over a caper and red onion remoulade are presented in a canning jar. When the lid is removed, smoke puffs up and flavors the salmon. Bagel chips add texture and crunch. 

Another tapas, the Masa Corn Dog, is far above anything you’ll find on a New Jersey boardwalk.

As we talked and tasted, we sipped one of Brad Jr’s, specialty drinks, the Cucumber Basil Soda. It’s just the thing for a warm summer evening on Block Island. — Becky Ballard and Ruth Perfido

Call 466-5883 for more information.