Seaside hospitality at The Beach House
The Block Island Beach House (formerly known as “The Surf Hotel”) is sporting some great new dining areas this year. While the inside and outside have been lovingly spruced up and redesigned, the backside of the hotel has undergone the biggest transformation.
A lovely seating area called The Shells overlooks Crescent Beach all the way down the curve of Mansion to the end of the bluffs. Far enough above to hear only surf, close enough to feel the cooling breeze, The Shells has comfortable chairs and tables that make al fresco dining almost like being on the beach without the sand getting into every bite of food.
Chef Francis Cavanagh is putting out a great menu this year to accommodate a leaner staff and fewer seats. Along with James Bjurman, director of Food and Beverages, Chef has made the most of an in-house smoker and designed a menu that leaves more time for eating and less time for waiting in line. For starters, the grilled shrimp with chimichurri and lemon creme fraiche has a great balance of spice and citrus. A Poke Bowl could easily satisfy two people; ahi tuna with fresh mango and avocado sits atop well seasoned sushi rice flavored with sesame and soy that make for a sweet, salty and creamy dish along with the bright bites of tuna. Sourdough bread makes The Surf Shack Panzanella salad a step above the usual, along with grilled corn, heirloom tomato pieces intermingled with a bite of shallot, roasted red peppers and feta cheese, it’s a great summery mix that can have a protein added to turn it into a meal. Fish Tacos are done beautifully; fresh mahi mahi—grilled, not fried—lies amidst homemade red cabbage slaw and is seasoned with a tasty Baja sauce to give it that beachy vibe.
The Surf Shack’s signature food this season is their buckets: made to be enjoyed by a crowd. Fried Whole Belly Clams were crispy and sweet; Snow Crab Legs seasoned with Old Bay were easy to crack and eat, dipping the sweet meat into drawn butter for a quick hit of flavor. Chef’s Ribs were outstanding, the meaty ribs were smokey, flavorful and plentiful. Dessert was key lime pie, another Chef special that had the lovely addition of macadamia nuts in the crust—a wonderful balance with the tartness of the pie.
Draft cocktails, pitchers of beers, buckets of canned cocktails and a decent wine list make your beverage selection easy, especially with larger groups.
Order this… at The Beach House, located on Dodge Street, call (401) 466- 5500 or online at www. thesurfblockisland.com.