If you follow these pages, you’ll recall that Mrs. Horne and I made back-to-back trips to Block Island last summer in near gale conditions (see Tough Sledding To Block Island).
Our first trip to Block Island was with Peter and Mary Lee and the plan was to leave a day earlier and spend two nights on BI. Unfortunately, Thursday was a mess so we shifted from Thursday-Saturday to Friday-Sunday. Not surprisingly, Ballard’s Marina was sold out Saturday, so it ended up being just one night on Block Island.
As the de facto activity director on Vigilant, the task of selecting dinner venues and making reservations always falls to me. I generally do quite well and although Tiger Fish turned out to be a great restaurant, it’s a bit of an oddity on Block Island.
In retrospect, it wasn’t the ideal choice for Peter and Mary Lee’s first visit to BI. I think they would have preferred a more traditional island eatery, but in the end we all loved Tiger Fish.
A Great Island Venue
While I messed up by failing to take our first time guests to a more iconic island restaurant, it was a wild success in that we discovered a great and important new dining venue on the island.
The food is rated with 4 1/2 Stars on yelp (#4 among $$ priced restaurants in this dining rich market). More important, it offers an excellent spot to grab dinner if you’ve been on the island a few days and you’re growing weary of New England Seafood.
The restaurant is just out of downtown Old Harbor on the road to Mansions Beach. It has a magnificent front deck seating area that you walk through to enter the main dining area.
It was hot and muggy so we decided to eat inside and enjoy the air conditioned comfort.
The color scheme was modern and while appropriate for an Asian restaurant, the overall decor wasn’t heavily themed like so many “Polynesian” restaurants in New England.
Let me say at the outset that this isn’t your Uncle Jimmy’s Chinese Restaurant. Yes, virtually every dish is rich in Asian flavors, but many are a fusion with another cuisine.
Take a look at some of the unique dishes on the menu:
General Tso’s Crispy Chicken & Waffles ($12.00)
Sweet & spicy sauce, chili butter, ginger maple syrup
Chicken Teriyaki Nachos ($15.00)
Pineapple, tomato, avocado, peppers, onions, cojito cheese, sesame
Umame Mommy Burger ($17.00)
Sunset farm beef, shoyu shitakes, kimchee cucumbers, chili butter, furikake fries
We ate there in July of 2018 and none of these menu highlights were on the menu that night.
I think I would have tried one these if they were on the menu the night we were there, but our dishes were quite good. Suffice it to say that the menu changes frequently.
Here is a photo of the specials for our dinner at Tiger Fish:
We ordered a combination of traditional Asian dishes and one really great fusion dish.
Mrs. Horne is a big fan of traditional New England Chinese food (and I like it too). Nothing is more traditional than a Pu Pu Platter, which is nothing more than an assortment of Chinese Appetizers.
The wings and ribs were noteworthy for both their seasoning and perfect preparation. And if you like to dawdle over your Pu Pu, the mini hibachi comes in handy warming things up.
Peter ordered the Shoyu Ramen Noodles ($19.00) which consisted of Pork belly, kombu dashi, egg, radish, and scallion.
Mary Lee ordered something called Tiger Fish Nacho’s which was the hands down winner of the night. Tender fish rich in Asian spices and topped with an aioli that you might find on Fish Tacos.
An Asian meal wouldn’t be complete without Mrs. Horne’s favorite – Fried Rice. Here in New England, we often see fried rice that’s dark and a tad heavy – probably due to too much dark soy sauce. The fried rice at Tiger Fish is more like the version I’ve seen in finer Chinese restaurants in San Francisco and London. It’s far lighter and more delicate. I’m guessing it’s more of the authentic fried rice you might find throughout Asia.
Tiger Fish is a great addition to the Block Island restaurant scene. It would be a fine Asian restaurant anywhere, but on an island, heavily populated with seafood restaurants, it’s a welcome change of pace.