I was just about to update all my Destination Guides for 2021 and add one for Watch Hill when I realized that I never did a report on The Ocean House Bistro restaurant.
A “Bucket List” Quality Venue!
I’m not a big fan of the term “Bucket List,” it just reminds me that I’m getting older. But if you cruise the New England coast and haven’t visited Watch Hill and The Ocean House, your life is not complete!
Before I get to the restaurant, I must talk a little about Watch Hill. It’s a micro port with a wonderful town dock and seaside village.
Getting there by boat is an adventure in that you actually head into the Stonington Connecticut harbor and then turn north and navigate a very long narrow channel, but it’s worth the effort.
The Ocean House
We visited Watch Hill in August of 2018. It was our first visit and we really knew nothing about the place. It was a Monday and based on my brief search of the internet, it looked like all the good restaurants in town were closed.
I asked the dockmaster if anything was open and said “Oh yeah, the best restaurant in Rhode Island is open every day – The Ocean House.
The Ocean House Bistro serves the hotel of the same name. There are actually a number of restaurants on the property, but The Bistro is the real gem.
The Bistro sits in the heart of the restaurant. It’s surrounded by an outside enclosed patio seating area for diners stepping up to The Coast – a $125/PP++ Prix Fixe culinary adventure for the Rich and Famous!
To the south of The Bistro lies The Verandah which serves a raw bar, sandwiches, and desserts during the summer.
I’m sure they’re all wonderful, but The Bistro offers a fantastic array of steak, seafood, and pasta options for dinner. It’s tough to get a reservation for dinner in the summer, but you can always visit for lunch and enjoy 90% of the experience for 50% of the tab!
Whether you’re there for Dinner or Lunch the service and accoutrements are all Five Star…
Our first visit was for dinner and despite difficulty getting a table, everything was quite special.
Rudy went for the Seafood Linguine…
It was rich with lobster and scallops – topped with pesto.
Mrs. Horne and Gail both opted for the Filet with a flight of their custom sauces…
Maple Steak Sauce, Horseradish Cream, Bearnaise, and Bordelaise. This is a true extravagance and demonstrates The Bistro’s commitment to high end cuisine
They also both had the Potatoes Gratin…
Steak and French Fries are two of my favorite foods, so whenever I see an expensive “Steak Frites,” I order it.
The Steak Frites at The Bistro is $38 – about ten bucks more than most, but it’s well worth it…
Steak Frites are typically based around a cut called Hanger Steak. It’s called that because that’s where the butcher inserts the hook to hang the carcass for cutting.
But not at The Bistro. Their Steak Frites features a 16 ounce New York Strip along with crispy fries and a well assembled green salad with vinaigrette dressing.
The Ocean House is is now taking dinner reservations on OpenTable for both The Bistro and The Coast. In fact, I just booked a table for August.
While I wholeheartedly recommend The Bistro for dinner, you can get almost the same experience at lunch (and save a few bucks).
In September of 2019, we stayed at Watch Hill after attending the Newport Boat Show and visited The Bistro for lunch.
As you’ll see, the lunch menu offers its own culinary experience…
As a Ruben aficionado, I couldn’t pass up the Smoked Duck Ruben…
Is is a brilliant take on the classic Ruben substituting Smoked Duck Confit for corned beef. It retained the salty savor, but added in smoke and duck. Confit Duck is also moister than corned beef.
Although dining options in Watch Hill are limited, the operators of the resort clearly designed their culinary offerings around the typical guest staying three nights (their summer minimum).
I could imagine one night doing the Prix Fixe gourmet flight at The Coast, a lighter night on the Verandah, and of course lunch and dinner in The Bistro.
And then cross that one off your bucket list!