Looking for good down-south BBQ down south? Oak Hill Tavern is well worth the trip, particularly for meat-a-tarians craving a decent rack of ribs (or chicken or steak) at recession-friendly prices. I'm a BBQ fiend but hadn't ventured down Route 4 to the Oak Hill, which had been recommended by a few friends who frequent the no-frills spot for tall beers and babybacks. We checked out the Website before departure and, noting the low prices across the
board, agreed it must have been outdated (even the font looked a bit too ol-skool). But no matter, we were ready to grub.
|OAK HILL TAVERN | 401.294.3282 | 565 Tower Hill Rd, North Kingston | oakhilltavern.com | Daily, 11 am-9:30 pm | major credit cards | full bar | sidewalk-level accessible |
We walked in during a suppertime Sunday and no one was working the check-in podium, so we made our way to the bar to get the scoop and check the tap selection, which included Wachusett Porter, PBR, and my beloved Sam Adams White Ale. Ten minutes went by without even a glance from the bartender, who was chatting up some apparent regulars. Meanwhile, an elderly couple were literally pounding their table and barking at the waitress for their drinks. She then politely informed us to grab any table and someone would be by shortly. Let the madness begin.
It turns out one bartender pulled a no-show, and our waitress, who took our drink order then handed us off to the other waitress, had just received the news that she needed to stick around, working the open-to-close shift. Ouch. Another 10 minutes later our Sam Adams White tallboys arrived with apologies as our waitress-for-the-moment Laura Lee took our hefty appetizer order. When a party of 18 (!) people walked in (an entire kids' basketball team and their parents) and swarmed the acoustic duo in the corner, the other waitress Elena informed us that she'd be our waitress — again. The preliminary synopsis Tom and I agreed upon was "horror show," and that was before eight rugrats started dancing and flailing about to an acoustic rendition of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" amongst tables of pissed-off patrons — classic. We hastily placed our dinner order after our appetizers had arrived. Heading off the beaten path pays dividends: peel-n-eats for a dime apiece? Sure, we'll take 20. The stuffies ($2 each) were creamy and delicious with fresh-chopped clams; the only complaint would be they needed an extra minute under the broiler to crisp up the exterior. And only $5.99 for seafood-stuffed mushrooms? They were excellent, buttery and tender with a flavorful filling, to the point where I almost considered the baked stuffed shrimp entree. The melted provolone draped atop the creminis was an afterthought. The only misstep was the crab cakes ($9.99 for two), a weekend special (along with a number of fairly priced seafood platters) that, while hand-packed and tasty, were just too greasy.
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