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    Thursday, February 02, 2023

    A look back at restaurants The Day’s writers recently reviewed


    37 Main St., Westerly

    (401) 348-9700

    Find their website at bridgeri.com and search their name to find them on social media.

    There are all kinds of seating options at the Bridge, but at this time of year, with the weather for the most part delightful, the only place you really want to be is on the deck out back, overlooking the Pawcatuck River.

    There’s a full-service bar outside, with bar seating, as well as seats on the deck and more in a shaded grove of trees along the river. Once settled, look over the expansive menu.

    They’ve got a raw bar offering oysters, littleneck clams, and cherrystones. Or maybe you want to try the Buddha Bowl, $17, a house favorite with arugula, brown rice, grilled squash, broccoli, pesto, and almonds, dressed with a sherry vinaigrette and blue cheese crumbles.

    We enjoyed the grilled swordfish, $26, which was served with sweet corn succotash and basil pesto the night we dined there. Another favorite is the squash sandwich, $14, which includes squash, tomatoes, caramelized onions and a lot of cheddar cheese all nestled between two slices of grilled buttery rye bread.

    The menu has a variety of offerings at various price points, so there is something for everyone.

    The Bridge is conveniently located on Main Street, just as you cross the border from Connecticut to Rhode Island. When you are over that way, give it a visit.

    ― Ann Baldelli

    Privateers Pizza & Provisions

    55 Main St., Essex

    (860) 662-4497


    Once again, a hidden gem emerges in our foodalicious region!

    The name of Privateers Pizza and Provisions first grabbed my atttention. Then I sampled the goods and, officially, we have yet another fine pizza option on the Essex side of the Connecticut River.

    Privateers fires up their pizzas in a brick oven, and the pies we sampled were great or mostly great from toppings to crust. The flavorful, crispy chewy crust was consistently good across all tastings and held up well the next day.

    The decisive winner was the Breakfast Pizza ($13.50 for a small; $21/large), a white pie topped with an egg, mozzarella, and salt and pepper. Putting an egg on formerly egg-less dishes is a trend I can get behind if the results are this good.

    Our basic pepperoni pizza ($13.50 for a small) took second place, thanks to generous pepperoni placement and the wonderful effect a brick oven has on spicy sliced meats.

    We also recommend the Buffalo Chicken pizza ($15.50/small) because we enjoyed the kick of the Buffalo sauce, and if you're a big fan of pesto, try the pesto pizza on the specialty menu. You will get your money's worth in pesto topping for sure!

    Calzones and soups are also on the menu, and salads should be back soon. And while you're there, you can always pick up a few pantry sundries or a delectable dessert from the provision side of the house ― otherwise known as multitasking at its best!

    ― Marisa Nadolny

    Shaking Crab

    305 N. Frontage Road, New London

    www.shakingcrabct.com, (860) 574-9031

    Eating at Shaking Crab in New London was a peculiar experience on two different visits. First off, it’s important to know the focus is on very pricey seafood ― $16-$199 for jumbo boils ― as per many varieties of the titular crab, lobster, mussels, clams, crawfish and more.

    The main culinary concept is the New England or Low-Country seafood boil, where the components – along with corn and potatoes and a choice of additional sides ― are boiled in highly seasoned water. It’s all then served in either individual plastic bags to hopefully contain the “mess” the diner makes while eating it or, if the whole table’s involved as per the family-style servings available, the entire feast is dumped on paper-covered tables, bibs and plastic gloves are handed out ― and fun ensues!

    My seafood was served tepid and floating in a pool of butter so that extraction from my individual bag was unpleasantly difficult without sufficient flavor payoff. There are plenty of other entrées, appetizer and sandwich options, and a happy shout out to the fried shrimp starter – enough for a nice lunch. Gumbo, rarely seen in this part of the world, had most of the essential flavor components, but ingredients were blended to a fine consistency, thereby taking away context and texture.

    The staff was eager and earnest in the atmospheric, nets ‘n’ seashells décor, but pounding house music seemed out of place.

    ― Rick Koster

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