Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
When you are full-time RVing it is very difficult to differentiate your normal life from a vacation. They are often one and the same. Eileen and I decided to live in vacation mode and go out for a nice dinner during our stay at Fishermen’s Memorial State Park. The choice was the Coast Guard House. As many times as we had stayed at Fishermen’s we had not had the pleasure of dining at this establishment. When you have kids in tow the restaurant better have mac and cheese and chicken fingers. Or in these parts clam fritters and fries.
Coast Guard House offers much better fare for an adult evening out. Situated on Ocean Drive in Narragansett overlooking Narragansett Bay, the restaurant, built from solid granite, was the home of the United States Life Saving Service which was the precursor to the present-day Coast Guard. In 1940 the building was re-purposed into a restaurant.
The US Life Saving Service developed an ingenious method to save sailors from shipwrecks that occurred close to shore which was a frequent enough occurrence in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. A box was designed with a series of pegs situated in a staggered fashion sticking up from the bottom that allowed for several hundred feet of rope to be wound around the pegs in such a way that the end of the rope could be tied to iron arrow and shot from a cannon. The arrow, if aimed properly, would over shoot the ship and be available for the seamen to attached it to the main mast. A basket with pulleys would be used to ferry sailors to land. It wasn’t foolproof, but it was a lot better than watching them sink into the sea.
The interior setting features a large oval-shaped bar with dining seating extending from the bar to the end of the floor. A row of windows provides a beautiful view of Narragansett Bay. There is a deck for outside seating with several fire pits that lend a rustic sea camping feeling. A full moon shining off the bay was a perfect setting for good food and company.
Eileen and Bill preparing to enjoy a good meal in a beautiful setting.
The restaurant offers a wide range of drink and food possibilities. The menu is not restricted to seafood. There are many interesting and different items from which to choose. I tried a Nut Brown Ale produced by Peak Brewing Co. Of Maine. It was not as heavy as some brown ales and the hint of nut flavor was interesting. (Oddly enough, I chose the Poor People’s Pale Ale at lunch the day before on Block Island and when I inquired who made it – Peak Brewers!)
For appetizers we chose a regular favorite – fried calamari. It was the best I had eaten with a light, buttery flavor accented by a citrus vinaigrette. We also ordered the beef short rib dumplings which were pan-fried with pickled cabbage and miso barbecue. They were unique and excellent.
Eileen had a bowl of lobster bisque. Actually, they brought her clam chowder by mistake. When the bisque finally arrived it was very good. I had the pan-seared sea scallops with polenta and a tomato bacon jam. It was a new take on an entrée that I order often. I enjoyed the new take on an old favorite.
The walk back to the truck along the sea wall, and the full moon over the bay, was a very nice end to a great dinner.
Keeping with the RVing mode, I would give Coast Guard House 4 out of 5 tacky lights. (When we ever find a restaurant that deserves 5 tacky lights. There will be no review. It will simply say “ 5 TACKY LIGHTS!)