Review

Island Delights

Simpatico remains a pillar of the Jamestown dining scene

Posted

Narragansett Avenue in Jamestown has quietly become home to Jamestown’s restaurant row. Between Simpatico, Jamestown FiSH, J22, the Pink Pig, and the Narragansett Cafe, you are sure to find something delicious to eat. Yet the grand dame of Jamestown restaurants is Simpatico. Allured by the charm of its twinkling lights and sprawling restaurant, I brought a friend along to experience a quintessential Jamestown night.

Simpatico has long held its spot on Narragansett. Since 2013, the restaurant has been owned by Amy Barclay (who started as a busser at Simpatico in 1993) and Newport’s Ben Brayton. Originally known as Trattoria Simpatico, the new owners dropped Trattoria from the name and renovated the space. The restaurant is a series of small rooms, sprawling terraces, and nooks easy to lose yourself in. On the Saturday night we visited, the restaurant was hopping. Rather than wait for a table, we settled into seats around the upstairs bar. The trees surrounding the restaurant provided a sense of seclusion. Downstairs is more open to the street, perfect for people watching. The doors were all open and the sea breeze blew through.

We started with two cocktails – the Hendricks Refresher and the Blood Orange Spritz ($13). My Hendricks Refresher was made with Hendrick’s gin, elderberry, cucumber, and lime with a splash of soda. It hit the spot on such a warm night. My friend’s Blood Orange Spritz was a mixture of Stoli Ohranj, triple sec, lime juice, blood orange juice, and finished with a spritz of soda.

Food allergies are tricky. I have been allergic to coconut oil for a good 10 years now. My options for appetizers were limited, but I had been craving a Wedge Salad, so I went with that. I could have eaten the gorgonzola dressing with a spoon, and the salad itself was a hefty portion of iceberg lettuce sprinkled with a smattering of grape tomatoes, diced peppers, diced red onion, crumbled bacon, and sliced hard-boiled egg. My friend ordered the No Frills Calamari. The Calamari Antipasto is the dish that has garnered the most attention, but my friend just wanted the calamari, sans all of the accompaniments. The calamari tubes were perfectly fried with a side of marinara for dipping. My friend was also asked if she would like to add some banana peppers, which she gratefully did.
Even with my allergy, when it came time for entrees, I had plenty of options. The menu is all over the place with Mediterranean, Asian, and American cooking styles. We did think it was funny how our server mentioned several times not to order the chicken, because customers complained it was dry. Being so close to Narragansett Bay, I thought the Swordfish seemed like the best option. I was given a huge piece of well-cooked swordfish; the chef was able to get a nice sear on it, and the fillet was served over a white bean ratatouille. My friend went with the customer favorite, Glazed Salmon. The salmon filet was coated with a strong, maple-soy glaze and served with a small portion of jasmine rice and sautéed vegetables. 

All of the desserts were off limits to me, but I did catch a glimpse at the menu. I was most intrigued by the Chocolate Sushi. Sushi and chocolate are two of my favorite things. In this version, a chocolate truffle is rolled in toasted coconut and then served with caramelized banana, strawberry cocoa sauce, and chopsticks.

Now that the tourists have gone back to where they came from, southern Rhode Islanders can take back their towns and their restaurants. On a beautiful fall night, Simpatico is a bit of heaven on earth. Settle into a nook in the restaurant, order a couple of cocktails, and toast to a perfect night in Jamestown.

Simpatico
13 Narragansett Avenue, Jamestown • 423-2000