What is the Wandering Sister Rating?

1 Wandering Sister = Enter at your own risk, you've been warned.
2 Wandering Sisters = How hungry are you? This place has it's down side.
3 Wandering Sisters = Pretty good place to go, but not for everyone.
4 Wandering Sisters =  Good food. Good service. You won't go wrong.
5 Wandering Sisters = Considering there's only 4 of us... This rating will speak for itself!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Barking Crab, Newport, RI

We arrived in Newport around 7:30pm, STARVED! I read of The White Horse Tavern in a guide book and we were anxious to park our mobile chateau and boogy over to the White Horse. When we arrived, we were greeted by a woman who glanced at me, in my jeans and a sweatshirt, and my small children and instructed me to look at the menu before we would be seated, so that we knew what we were getting into. So, we left.

The Barking Crab won out.

This casual crab shack packs quite the character into this large eatery by the warf. There is a bar, which played sports, loudly and two separate inside areas to dine, both facing the warf with large window walls. When the weather permits, there is also a patio in the back, facing the Brick Market Place. At the entrance, there is a list of scheduled entertainment posted.

Immediately upon entering you see three large ‘pools’, stacked in a waterfall tower, filled with live crabs and lobsters. As we waited for our table, a lobster was chosen to become someone’s dinner and a sad little lonely crab sat in the window of the highest pool, looking awfully pathetic. After our face to face encounter with the sea bugs, I decided I would be having something else for dinner… something I hadn’t shared a moment with. This was an easy decision since apparently the down economy has not affected the price of these little bugs.

I started my meal with a Sankaty Light ($4.95) which was on draft. It was a sweet and heavy tasting ale, which made me very suspicious of the word “light”, especially since the tap was shaped like a lighthouse.

Our choices were  very limited for dinner. Either we spent close to $100 to murder one of the sea bugs, or we could get a baked fish plate.  

I chose to get the catch of the day. It consisted of a grilled swordfish steak, served with a vegetable medley of squash, asparagus, artichokes, beef steak tomatoes and capers, with a side of risotto for $25.

My husband ordered the Baked Schrod for $17… that’s right, NOT a burger, which was actually an option. His meal came with a squash and asparagus medley and the risotto.

I was unsure what swordfish tasted like, but one of my goals in this trip is to try new things… plus, she did said the 2 magic words… “Asparagus and artichokes.”

 Our dinner was served on very little plates… for such prices, you’d think you’d get a whole meal. But the flavor was absolutely great. The fish was fresh and, not to sound cliché, but it tasted like chicken. The vegis were perfectly grilled. The risotto was excellent, flavored with lots of basil.

For desert, my husband chose the cheese cake. 

I told him that I was not a cheese cake person, so that would help me not to eat too much of it. Wrong! The cheese cake, as sad and small as it was for $7.50, it was awesome! However, there should have been more of the strawberry glaze that was drizzled on the plate, or possible some fresh strawberry garnish.

Unfortunately our server, as sweet as she was, was very slow and several times disappeared (This bored the short one, and he ended falling asleep in front of his ice cream sunday, included in the $7 childrens meal). We often had to reach out to the bus boy or hostess for assistance. 

In the end, the meal was only Almost satisfying. The selection was poor, the prices were scary, the portions were small, but the presentation and taste was phenomenal. I may not live in the area, but we do plan on visiting Newport in the future. The Barking Crab is very appealing with its location and crab shack atmosphere, but it is not one that I would visit again.

It only receives a 2 Wandering Sisters rating. Go if you must, the food is excellent, but be prepared to spend a fortune for a small plate of food, and try not to make eye contact with the sad little crab in the window of the crab pool.

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