Dinner and a view at the Spring House

Looking east from the porch of the Spring House must be one of the best views on the Island. We were there on a beautiful afternoon. The fog had lifted and you could see all the way across the sea to ships on the horizon.

Up close, children were playing on the grass below. To the left, a more sedentary group was quietly reading, snuggled down in their Adirondack chairs.

Executive Chef Michael Shkreli drew our attention around to the far right to the inn’s extensive gardens, which supply most of the vegetables served at their tables three meals a day. “It’s a dream to work here with all these vegetables, fresh fish and local eggs,” he said.

In fact, much of the Spring House menu is planned around the wide variety of healthy produce grown right on the property. For our visit, Shkreli served his popular margherita pizza, along with fried, stuffed squash blossoms, beet salad and vegetable soup. All delicious.

The pizza begins with a crust made of high quality, finely ground caputo flour, which yields “a nice crunch with a chewy edge,” he said. Each one is made to order in any number of combinations then fired in a brick oven. Ours featured fresh tomatoes marinated in olive oil, with fresh garlic, parsley and white wine.

Shkreli added that he had to give up on using pizza racks at the outdoor tables. “Too many times the wind picked the pizzas up and sent them sailing out onto the lawn,” he said. That’s the Block Island Factor!

The squash blossoms are another “don’t miss.” They’re picked fresh and quickly stuffed with chopped prosciutto de parma and smoked gouda (no breadcrumbs) before they’re dipped in a light beer batter and fried. There’s a squash blossom pizza, too.

The chilled beet salad was refreshing; just right on a summer day. It included sections of orange and grapefruit over mixed greens, drizzled with a honey and vinegar dressing and topped with creamy goat cheese.

Even given its large size, the Spring House is a remarkably friendly, personable place. Recently, some guests caught a large bluefish and asked Chef Shkreli if he would cook it for them. “We prepared their fish three different ways and had the best time with it. They loved it,” Shkreli said. — Becky Ballard.

For more information, call 466-5844 or visit www.springhousehotel.com.

Order this… is a weekly column celebrating the delicious food and drink that can be found at restaurants, pubs and hotels on Block Island. If you have a recommendation that you’d like to share with our readers, call us at 466-2222.

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