June 30, 2010
Travel / New England / Seasons at the Ocean House
Seasons at the Ocean House
Our first night found us enjoying a leisurely dinner (our waitress was delightful, if slightly baffled) in the hushed dining room with that incredible ocean view. Unable to get an earlier reservation, I was surprised to find the restaurant half empty at 8:30. Clearly, the Ocean House does not want to overwhelm their newby staff. The pokey pace did not hinder our enthusiasm for the meticulous food.The chef de cuisine, Eric Haugen, was plucked from California, with the legendary Per Se among the restaurants under his belt. Needless to say, the food here is serious. The chef sources whatever he can locally, from the sliver of Hudson Valley duck foie gras dribbled with maraschino cherry gastrique, to the melt-in-your mouth roasted Atlantic fluke on a bed of truffle-buttered leeks and English peas. The ultimate entree? A perfect sous vide butter-poached lobster tail. They’re having fun with a mandoline in the kitchen— transparent slices of green apple dress the mound of perfect local greens. Herbs are clipped daily from the garden. While dinner was epicurean we craved a more casual meal for our second night and settled ourselves in front of the open kitchen at the bar. Here you can order from the tasting menu or the less costly but equally delicious Verandah menu: tiny cups of chowder three ways (Manhattan, New England, and the best version of Rhode Island I’ve tasted), ubiquitous sliders, fantastic mussels and a range of salads. The real draw is the action in the kitchen. We were entertained for hours by the team of charming chefs and the simply gorgeous raw ingredients. This level of cuisine, from the imaginative menu to the quality of the ingredients, is unheard of in these parts and oh, so worth a trip.