…Respect the Ocean. Harvest the Bounty. Feed the People.
by Sue Giustino
The Inlet Seafood Restaurant at the end of East Lake Dr. has been owned by six local commercial fishermen and their families since 2006.
“The restaurant was built with the intention to provide a place to grab a warm meal and cold beer after two weeks offshore. A place for locals to gather in the frigid months to eat the fish they just risked their lives to catch. A spot for tourists to come and appreciate the breathtaking sunsets and panoramic views of the Block Island Sound.”
Since the beginning they have offered fresh seafood delights to locals and tourists alike. With multiple seating areas to enjoy- out back by the water, on the first level at the bar or dining area, or upstairs at the bar, outside decks, or main dining area- any season, any time of day, it’s a wonderful place to relax while gathering with friends and family to enjoy a meal and sip a cocktail.
It’s always lovely to return year after year and see so many of the same dedicated friendly staff expertly making our dining experience wonderful. Chef Larry Wallace, who has been around for as long as I can remember, prepares the consistently delicious staples we’ve all come to enjoy, as well as creative nightly specials.
There’s not a bad seat in the house, and we found ourselves by a window in the dining room overlooking the inlet while the sun set and a welcomed cool breeze blew off the water. We arrived with friends who enjoy food as much as we do, and it’s a good thing we did. Larry sent out so many yummy dishes, we needed a good team to enjoy it with. As we dined, we sipped on a Saki-Tini, Spicy Margarita, and some tasty cold Saki.
Known for their ‘fresh off their boats’ fish, the sushi is always something to consider. The variety of rolls, specialty rolls, sushi and sashimi, is extensive and there are usually a few extra on the nightly special menu. In the past we’ve had the individual pieces of sushi or sashimi, the Black Bird with shrimp tempura and avocado inside, pepper tuna & black tobiko on top with yuzu sauce, or my favorite, the rice free Inlet Roll with crunchy, spicy tuna, avocado, ponzu sauce and siracha. On this night we tried a few new ones. The Luna Roll [a special], with tuna, avocado and mango wrapped in pink soy paper, spicy lobster on top, and sweet chili sauce- The Tuna Tatar is tuna, mango, Tobiko, tempura flakes, spicy mayonnaise, and mango & eel sauce presented inside a heart shaped boarder of sliced avocado- and the Lady Slipper with Shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and avocado wrapped in soy paper, sweet chili sauce. Each roll has a lovely presentation and they are all fresh and delicious.
Larry sent us three of the amazing appetizers from the nightly specials’ menu. The perfectly seasoned and tender Baby Grilled Octopus, which is nicely accented by the tartness of the lemon vinaigrette dressing on the bed of mixed greens. The delicate and tasty Steamed Shrimp Shumai with a side of ponzu sauce. And the Edamame Dumplings which were fried to a tender crisp and served with a sweet and spicy teriyaki chili sauce.
From their main menu, we enjoyed the outstanding tender whole Baked Clams Oreganata baked with fresh herbs & spices, and the Baked Local Oysters smothered with blue cheese crumbles & fresh panko-bread crumbs. Each of the topping combinations enhanced the fresh clam and oyster flavor without overtaking it.
We have many favorite go-to meals at the Inlet; The Pan Seared Scallops, Fish and Chips, Linguini and Clam Sauce, Pan-fried Cajun Seasoned Flounder Tacos, and the Marinated Ribeye Steak- to name a few.
The two main dishes Chef Larry sent out, although on the main menu, were new to us. A nice light summer meal, the perfectly cooked Roasted Half Chicken was baked and served with sweet caramelized carrots and creamy mashed potatoes, with a mushroom demi glaze. The overflowing dish of Spicy Seafood Fra Diavalo was prepared with tender sautéed shrimp, calamari, clams and mussels, all in a spicy marinara atop a plate of al dente linguine. Both of these dishes were absolutely delicious. The Fra Diavalo was busting with flavor and a bit spicy, just as I like it. While the gently roasted chicken was accented with the sweetness of the carrots and the captivating flavor of the demi glaze.
Although by this time, I was very full, apparently the night would not be complete without the special dessert of the evening- which we were talking about since it was spotted on the menu. Both Tempura Fried Mini Doughnuts and Tempura Fried Cheesecake were on the menu- we decided on the doughnuts. A decadent plate with three mini doughnuts stuffed with Nutella, chocolate drizzle, powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream and chocolate drizzle arrived at our table, and it looked almost too good to eat… almost. Creamy, sweet, nutty- a fine way to end the evening.
As always, the service was great, despite the summer crowd on a Thursday evening, and the food was terrific. If you haven’t been to the end of East Lake in a while, it may be time for a visit to the Inlet Seafood Restaurant!
The Inlet is open 6 days [closed Wednesday] for lunch and dinner – be sure to check their website for days and hours as we move into the shoulder season – https://www.inletseafood.com/