Dad’s Place

Father knows best
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  February 17, 2010

DAD'S PLACE | 401.783.6420 | 148 Boon St, Narragansett | Mon-Fri, breakfast 7 am-1 pm, lunch; 11 am-1 pm; Sat-Sun, breakfast 6 am-1 pm; Fri dinner 4-8 pm | Major credit cards | BYOB | Sidewalk-level accessible

Sometimes it's hard to assess the quality of a small diner-like place, in a small tourist-type town, but when you notice the cook-owner, Jean Pion, snipping fresh herbs for his omelets from pots he grows behind the eatery three seasons of the year, then your curiosity is piqued. At least mine was.

We'd gone to Dad's Place last summer to meet friends for breakfast, and the six of us thoroughly enjoyed our omelets (mine was completely veggie, with sautéed onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes); the Benedicts (one has hash instead of ham); the crispy hash browns; and the generously-fruited pancakes with blueberries, strawberries, bananas, or a combo thereof.

More recently I joined a friend for lunch there, and we were impressed by the details once again. She had a grilled chicken club ($7.25), and it was almost too much to finish, with its two pieces of thick chicken breast, plenty of lettuce, tomato, and bacon, on toasted bread. I opted for a tuna melt ($5.95), on whole wheat, with Swiss cheese, and it was similarly stuffed to the edges.

We were equally impressed with the soups (cup $2.95; bowl $5.50). I had tomato, and it was just what I wanted on a chilly day. But her baked onion soup was the winner: a hearty, beefy broth, with caramelized onion, bread, and broiled Swiss on top.

Pion wandered out of the kitchen to greet some regulars, recognized my friend as one of those, and asked her how she liked the onion soup. Then he told her a story of another regular who liked his soup so much that when he ordered French onion soup in a tony Newport establishment, he declared to them that they didn't know how to make a good version. So he drove to Narragansett, got a cup of Pion's onion soup to go, and took it back to the Newport restaurant to have them taste it, with the comment, "Now that's onion soup!"

When Bill and I got over to Dad's Place for a Friday night supper that same week (in the spring, dinners will spread to Thursdays and Saturdays as well), they didn't have French onion, but we both gobbled down a cup of the chicken escarole, with plenty of chicken and veggies, and a delicious broth.

I was curious about the fish and chips, which come in several variations: breaded or battered, flounder or cod, one piece or two ($8.95 or $10.95), in a sandwich or naked. The folks next to us had tried both incarnations and liked them both; one of them liked flounder better than cod; turns out you can order one and one, if you like. It's that kind of place.

The breaded fish was just right: not greasy, not heavily coated, not over-cooked. The baked potato (instead of fries) was also fine. And the cole slaw was excellent, its slightly sweet dressing spiked with celery seeds.

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