It’s exciting watching our island restaurants open for the 2017 season. Many have been freshening up their places and menus, and staff is returning, eager to get started. There are several restaurants with different owners; some with different names.
Order This… partners Becky Ballard and Ruth Perfido, along with photographer Kari Curtis, entered Dead Eye Dick’s and immediately realized they were in a familiar but “new” place. Besides all the busy-ness of opening up for the season, owner Jessica Wronowski has plumped her popular place up. There’s a sense of zing in the air that moves from the enthusiasm and confidence of chef Scott Ferguson, and his brother, sous chef, Chad Lovett, to the personality-plus and extensive cocktail list of head bartender, Paul Baptista, to (big news) the new service on the back lawn overlooking the harbor.
First, it’s all about the food. Scott and Chad are from Mobile, Alabama, and their Southern touch on classic dishes (with an extra bit of French, Asian and Italian) is all their own. Growing up near the Gulf of Mexico, the brothers know their seafood and demand both freshness as well as variety. There’s a large raw bar selection as well as delicious non-seafood items.
It’s the brothers’ creativity that puts their food over the top. An example is the mako with Creole seasoning, over a summer succotash of fresh corn, lima beans, roasted garlic, and arugula laced with a lightly spiced rum beurre blanc. The mako comes from the waters off the coast of Massachusetts. The intention was to just politely taste this colorful dish, but in the end there was nothing left on the plate.
At the bar, Paul is clearly up-to-date on the trendiest, most popular cocktails. Look for his ginger honey margarita made with Robbie Murphy’s own honey, or the spicy mezcal cocktail made with habanero bitters named Toto Bien.
The biggest surprise at Dead Eye’s is out on the back lawn right up against New Harbor. Jessica has created a tasteful, gracious setting with Adirondack chairs, teak tables, fire pits, and strings of lights in a background of planters and trellises. She envisions twilight dining from their Bites Menu (a simplified version of their regular menu) and special cocktails while surrounded by the best of Block Island — “natural, coastal, quiet and peaceful”. — Becky Ballard and Ruth Perfido
Dead Eye Dick’s is located in New Harbor. The phone is 466-2654. Visit deadeyedicksbi.com.
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