Stone Bridge

Tzatziki and red sauce
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  September 25, 2008

It’s easy to overlook the Stone Bridge Restaurant, what with the sweeping view of the Sakonnet River competing for attention across the road soon after you enter Tiverton. It’s not at all fancy inside, though there is cloth on the tables as well as a single rose on each. Red-berried bittersweet is draped against the lace valances above the water-side windows, giving a homey touch.

Stone Bridge | 401.625.5780
1848 Main Rd, Tiverton | Mon, 4:30-9 pm; Tues-Thurs, 11:30 am-9 pm; Fri, 11:30 am-10 pm;  | Sat, 11:30 am-11 pm; Sun, 11:30 am-9 pm | Major credit cards | Full bar | Sidewalk-level accessible
The menu leans toward Greek and Italian dishes, the latter red-sauce offerings properly secondary. (Although, what was the last pizzeria you were in that wasn’t run by Greeks? Was there a historical battle they won that we don’t hear about?)

The chef and amiable proprietor is Nick Chrisochoidis. He used to call the place Mykonos, though he is originally from Salonika. His ethnic comfort foods are evident at lunch, when Greek sausage and lamb kebabs are available as both entrées and sandwiches, along with gyros. The first two are also on the evening menu, among the five “Mykonos Classics.”

Despite the ongoing garlic competition among Mediterranean and Aegean cuisines, Nick doesn’t believe in overpowering his dishes’ flavors, believing them to be entrusted to his keeping. In Greece, I’ve had tzatziki so hot and heavy on the raw garlic that I feared for my tooth enamel; here the sauce is mainly yogurt and shredded cucumber, merely garlic-ish. Not only does he not offer retsina on his wine list of more than four dozen — he thinks it’s nasty stuff — he doesn’t even offer ouzo at the bar.

On my first recent luncheon visit, my friend Stuart and I dove into a sort of tapas array of appetizers and salads ($7.95-$13.95). Among the specials, the little burgundy baby octopi with chickpeas and grape tomatoes were a particular hit, nicely charred, and vinegared just enough to open up taste buds, complemented by fresh-chopped oregano.

Sharp, shaved Romano provided a similar complementing to thick slices of roasted eggplant, smoky under a light tomato sauce. Scallops were a good choice for the ceviche, the moist mollusk diluting the lime juice that can be too biting when the usual shrimp is used. The perfect ending was provided by three fresh figs, upright and split, looking like fingers proffering chunks of feta.

We brought our ladies back the following week. The New England clam chowder ($3.95/$2.95) tempted, since on the last visit an out-of-state guy at the next table said he came in for some every time he passed through. But the soup de jour was corn chowder with shrimp, so I had that. The shrimp evidently had been put in to order, rather than swimming around all day. Slightly peppery hot, it was delicious.

A similarly appreciated starter was the mussels in wine sauce ($9.95), the shellfish fresh and the broth abundant for bread dunking. The spanakopita ($7.95) was not a spinach pie layered with feta and tissues of phyllo dough, but rather three filled triangles. A good olive oil was provided upon request to moisten and taste-enhance, as well as some of that mild tzatziki, unsolicited. After soup, Stuart had the beet salad ($9.99): gently marinated yellow and red beet slices, arugula, sweet onions, and Great Hill blue cheese — a wonderful choice.

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