GOOD THINGS A citrus scallop salad at the Sea Goose.
You might think that Rhode Island needs another seafood restaurant like Providence needs another pizzeria, but you’ll change your mind if you check out the Sea Goose. There is no such thing as too much of a good thing, and this place has distinctive takes on several good things.
No wonder. The grill and raw bar was a spinoff this spring of Jennifer Gibson and Andrew Nathan’s the Cooked Goose in nearby Watch Hill, which has made itself such a popular summer attraction.
Even in the winter this new place will be getting a sense of the outdoors with its wide-open spaces — high ceilings, light and airy even around the central bar area. Photographs of fishermen at work line one wall, helping the less hard-working of us appreciate being on the other end of the industry.
I’m not usually impressed with specialty drinks, but the house cocktails list had some interesting offerings, such as the Post Road Punch, with muddled strawberries in with the pomegranate juice and Jim Beam. The Sea Goose Sparkling Cocktail has cognac and Jasmine liqueur spicing up the prosecco. I tried something that sounded like a gimmick but ended up working just fine: Rhode Island Iced Tea ($10), the touch of root beer complemented by decent-label liquors. Even Johnnie was impressed — not only do they have ginger beer, but it’s Capt’n Eli’s, on tap.
You don’t have to look past the appetizers to see that interesting things are going on here. A sure pleaser is the lobster nachos ($18), and the oysters Rockefeller ($15) is finished with a splash of Pernod. There is a $90 seafood tower royale from the raw bar — shellfish through lobster and King crab, to caviar and Russian vodka — but an inexpensive pate substitute (chicken liver mousse, $10) is also finessed onto the menu. There are plenty of less expensive items, from fish and chips ($13) to a half-pound burger ($11).
There are plenty of seafood items from out of the area, from Prince Edward Island mussels to Gulf shrimp, but when the source can be local, it is, from Point Judith calamari to Stonington scallops. And the out-of-state grilled salmon, by the way, is wild rather than farm-raised.
I started with the Asian fried calamari ($10), because I hate to pass up a variation on the traditional Rhode Island preparation. It even looked delightful. Thin fried rice noodles were a puffy tangle, while peanuts and fried chili peppers were accents. The lightly floured tentacles were tender, and the wasabi aioli was mild enough to have with every bite, if I wanted.
After savoring her lobster bisque ($8/$10) and declaring it flavorful, Johnnie chose a special, grilled striped bass ($26), even though she’d had it recently (its season doesn’t last forever). It was even better than the last time, judging from my sample bite — no way was I going to get more than one — delicate and smoky from the wood grill. Three pieces were served atop a room-temperature, lightly vinegared assemblage of roasted potatoes, beets, grape tomatoes, and red onions, under a corn-kernel relish. Smart and summery.