Enjoy breakfast and lunch at Westerly's scenic B&B Dockside
The view from the expansive windows at B&B Dockside, the charming breakfast/burgers spot in Westerly, hard to the Pawcatuck River, is indeed dockside — so much so that customers gaze out at a variety of moored luxury sailboats and yachts bobbing pastorally on the water. In the mellow autumn sunlight, it was the perfect tableaux against which I could stuff my face in finest feeding-frenzy fashion!
It's a small but welcoming place, bustling with camaraderie, and the food and service and atmosphere make it feel like you're enjoying a long weekend or even on vacation, even if, like myself, you're scheduled for gum surgery later this week.
The rectangular BBD has three walls in gently contrasting shades of terra cotta and brown, covered in cute signage or Red Sox-centric souvenirs, and the aforementioned windows comprise the fourth side. There's a mix of tall-top and regular-height tables and, at the far end from the entrance is a full-service bar with one suspended TV (broadcasting — I kid you not — the Harvard/Brown football game. Go Bears!).
Coffee and hot tea are self-serve; otherwise, our waitresses took care of us adeptly and helpfully, despite a bustling full house. It's not unusual, just so's you know, to experience a short wait, particularly on weekends, but just take the opportunity to clamber aboard one of the Rich Guy boats and snoop around.
Breakfast enthusiasts can ponder choices under Classics, Platters, Omelettes, Sides and Steak & Eggs menu headings. The usual elements meat/egg/pancake/waffle possibilities are present as well as soupy, homemade roast beef hash and Portuguese toast.
My wife Eileen, a vegetarian who married me even though I don't own a Dennis Connereque sailboat (AVWMMETIDOADCS), chose a Two Egg Scrambler ($6.95). Instructed to choose three fillings, she went with goat cheese, thyme-roasted mushrooms and spinach — and the idea of tumbling huge portions of those ingredients into her fluffy scrambled eggs was not only great but also beautifully cooked.
I sampled the Homemade Roast Beef Hash ($9.95), which included slow-crafted brisket, hand-shredded with sauteed onions and potatoes and served delightfully brittle. Scrambled eggs were a nice complement, and both of us enjoyed "dirty hashbrowns" prepared with a dusting of Cajun seasoning.
Because we could, we also tried a half-order of the Portuguese Toast ($3.75, $6.95 full order), on which two spectrally-light bread slices host a feloniously terrific collision of vanilla, cinnamon, crushed cornflakes and warm maple syrup. This goes up there on the "You're going to be executed, Koster. What's your last meal request before riding the lightning?" top 10 list.
We've also tried a variety from the lunch menu. Our experiences weren't as consistently excellent, but there were plenty of high points. Burgers are the restaurant's spotlight feature, with 13 varieties ranging from standard recipes to The Elvis ($8.95, with peanut butter, bacon and American cheese), the Popper ($8.95, with fresh jalapenos, cream cheese, bacon and lettuce) and a Gyro Burger ($8.95, with a rosemary/garlic dusted beef patty, baby spinach, tomatoes, red onion, goat cheese and cucumber dressing).
The Father-in-Law ($8.95) was amazing. The massive, hand-sculpted disc of meat, grilled to medium sublimity, came with provolone, sliced banana peppers, crisp bacon, shredded lettuce and the house's Oak Sauce — a sort of catsup/mayo mix with a distinct tang. Thin-sliced French fries come plain or in a variety of "extras" versions including S'Oaked — which I tried and which involve melted cheese and a so-so light brown gravy.
Meanwhile, the Bellaporto ($8.95) fused a precisely grilled, flavorfully marinated filet of 'shroom with a gorgonzola/hummus combo. Eileen says it was one of the best portabella sandwiches she's had ever. She opted for in-kitchen potato chips. They weren't at all oily, but they were a tad bland and, next time, she'll try them dusted with the Cajun seasoning.
An Oak St. Salad ($8.95) is decidedly a meal unto itself, with romaine lettuce, cukes, grape tomatoes, red onion, banana peppers, soy nuts, roasted edamame, dried cranberries and crumbled bleu cheese — sweetly kissed by a house balsamic. The ingredients were up-to-the-moment fresh, and the flavors and textures cleverly coordinated.
Two New York System Weiners ($6.95), with a choice of fries or chips, were close approximations of the classic Rhody construct with two savory weiners — as distinct from hotdogs — nestled into buns and serenaded by savory meat sauce, mustard, chopped onions and celery salt. These were pretty damned good, although the mustard was a minimal dollop, and there was perhaps too much celery salt.
Speaking of over-seasoning, I must say that the Five-Alarm Chili ($4.95 cup, $5.95 bowl) was the only decided disappointment. Though a thick mixture of beef and beans and dusky coloring looked promising, someone was far too liberal in terms of the amount of chili powder utilized. Way too much.
That's a mere trifling, though. Dockside B&B will be a regular destination, well worth our trip from New London.
If you go
19 Margin St., Westerly
(401) 315-2520, bnbdockside.com
Cuisine: Creative breakfast, burgers and lunch
Atmosphere: Smart, casual, comfortable
Service: Helpful, earnest and efficient, even with peak crowds
Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon., Wed. and Thurs., 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri. and Sat., 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sun
Reservations: Yes for large parties; expect a short wait on weekends.
Handicap access: Level approach from parking lot, two entry doors, narrow but negotiable floorplan
Credit cards: All majors
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