The Castle Hill Inn in Newport, Rhode Island, has a special place in American History. Most noteworthy, it was once the summer home of marine biologist Alexander Agassiz of Harvard University. Built in 1874, the sweet, shingled beach “cottage” allowed Agassiz the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful environment above and below the surface.
The mansion acted as a base where Naval officers stayed during World War II. After that, the home became an Inn and a favorite summer get-a-way for the rich and famous. Grace Kelly and novelist Thorton Wilder were regulars.
Castle Hill Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places and operates year-round as a luxurious retreat. Due to the location of the building, the dining room faces the ocean. It is both casual and elegant, and the service is impeccable.
Executive Chef Lou Rossi showcases the bounty of the sea as well as local, seasonal ingredients. The wine list, recognized by Wine Spectator magazine, offers stellar choices to pair with your meal. For those reasons, no matter the season, diners visit to enjoy the innovative cuisine and admire the stunning views of Narragansett Bay.
Location: Castle Hill Inn is located at590 Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island
Menu: The menu is classic New England. For example, New England clam chowder, along with steamed mussels All’amatriciana, pan-seared salmon, and a traditional lobster roll showcase the seafood-focused offerings. The menu also offers a variety of burgers, sandwiches, and interesting vegetarian options like creamy polenta with roasted mushrooms. There are inventive and seasonal entree salads like the chopped salad with crispy duck confit, squash, root vegetables, frisee, and goat cheese; the freshest, locally sourced produce and proteins star in each dish.
Thoughts: The dining room overlooks the water, and the views are remarkable. Above all, the service was excellent, the staff members strive to make sure you have a fantastic dining experience. I ordered the pan-seared salmon, and when it arrived a bit underdone, my plate was swiftly removed and returned (prepared precisely to my liking). The salmon was placed on top of a sweet potato puree alongside crispy Brussel sprouts with a bacon vinaigrette. The sweet and savory flavor profile paired perfectly with the roasted salmon.
My friend ordered a Cajun turkey sandwich that was griddled and layered with Applewood smoked bacon, horseradish mayonnaise, and pepper jack cheese. The pepper jack and mayonnaise provided a spicy kick. A side dish of homemade kettle chips was crunchy, salty and addictive.
Finally, we saved room for a decadent flourless chocolate cake served atop a raspberry coulis. A dollop of homemade vanilla ice cream rounded out the beautifully plated presentation. The cake was rich and chocolatey. I loved the bite of cold, creamy ice cream and a forkful of cake swiped in the tart raspberry sauce. It was the perfect luncheon, delicious food, great company, and the sun sparkling like crystals off the water.
Price Range: Soups and salads are $9 -12 and entrees range from $16-28. Desserts are $8-12.
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