Though it may be small in square miles, Rhode Island is a big dog in the seafood game. A Saint Bernard, to be exact, just so we’re clear. So whether you’re a Rhode Islander, or just visiting, seafood should be on the agenda. If you want to dig into some of the most quality catches in the state, Matunuck Oyster Bar is your huckleberry.
Before I even make it to the food, let me just do a quick rave about the location. Matunuck is nestled into the most picturesque waterside inlet that one could think of; perched on Potters Pond with sweeping water views, and marshland bespeckled with wildlife. And if you are imagining this in your mind’s eye, also paint in a majestic and vibrant sunset in the backdrop. Le sigh, the most stunning setting for a delicious meal.
Of course being the Matunuck Oyster Bar, the raw bar is a focal point. What sets this place aside from other oyster bars is that Matunuck is not just a restaurant; it is a sustainably run oyster farm and organic vegetable farm. The “farm to table” ideology is practiced here by standard, but also raises the bar with the “pond to plate” approach as well. There is something special about watching hardworking oyster farmers hauling bags of oysters out of the water only 40 feet from where you are enjoying them on the half shell. When it comes to fresh and local (which are two things I surely want my seafood to be) it doesn’t get better than this.
The oysters coming from the farm are Matunucks, which are a petite oyster with a sweet finish. There’s a reason they are so popular, tasting so pleasantly palatable. Being so fresh and bright, they taste like the ocean gave you a sultry kiss. Pucker up!
Checking out the menu, there’s really no such thing as a bad decision, no dish will do you wrong. We were surely in a shellfish mood, and cracked open some tasty water-dwellers. We enjoyed steamers, a beet & goat cheese salad, a chilled lobster, alaskan king crab, and of course raw oysters. Two dozen to be exact, and we could have kept going! Steamers are soft shell clams with the necks attached. Dipped in clam broth and then in warm butter, these tender little babies are to die for. The beets coming fresh from the vegetable farm are roasted and paired with goat cheese, and candied walnuts. The crab and the lobster were so, so, so, very tasty. Call me crazy, but I’m yet to find another establishment that serves better crab and lobster. Though simply done, they are always cooked to perfection.
For dessert, we shared a chocolate bread pudding and a frozen key lime pop. Let’s go into detail here. All of you sweet lovers will want to hear this. The chocolate bread pudding is made in house, and is somehow dense, yet fluffy. How? I don’t know but I’m not questioning this magic. It is topped off with a caramel mascarpone sauce, and if I’m being honest, I’d bathe in it. I’d use it in my cereal instead of milk. I’d pour it into my ice cube trays and use it to cool off anything I drink. OK I think you get my point. The key lim pop is made from scratch and is probably one of my all time favorite sweet treats. And I don't mean favorite at the Matunuck Oyster Bar, I mean favorite ever consumed. Picture this: a traditional key lime square with a graham cracker crust, a popsicle stick, dipped in white chocolate and then chilled in the freezer. I am willing to bet that you will not find a better summer-time treat.
If anything you have seen or read here has enticed you in the slightest, check out Matunuck Oyster bar for lunch or dinner. To the surprise of many, this place is not seasonal. They are serving fresh seafood and local ingredients all year round. And if oysters are your fancy, check their website at rhodyoysters.com for a list of their available oyster farm tours. Owner and oyster aficionado/connoisseur, Perry Raso leads groups on an informative oyster farm tour, where customers learn literally everything and anything there is to know about these tasty, slippery snacks. Attendees get up close and personal with the oysters as they are transported out to the farm by way of barge. Pretty cool, huh?
So whether you're looking for waterside dining, al fresco dining, or just well, delicious dining, Matunuck Oyster Bar is an excellent choice. And if you don't believe me, just check out some of their nationally recognized reviews.