East Greenwich has become a serious dining destination in Rhode Island. With new restaurants popping up almost monthly, the town’s restaurant scene is constantly evolving. When I say there is something for everyone, I am not joking: The variety of cuisines you can sample are multitudinous, and every taste and demographic has a place to eat. But what if you are looking for a restaurant to please a wide range of people?
My pick is Meritage. In vintner-speak, a “meritage” wine is a blend of varietals. Just as the name suggests, Meritage offers a great mix of food, cocktails, wine, and service.
My family has been eating here since it took over the Mr. Marco space decades ago. Back then, we went for the jumbo-sized margaritas, flavored martinis, and fantastic appetizer selection. My parents still go for those reasons, and they are close with many of the staff members. They even have a favorite waitress, Jen. They often sit in the large bar area for discounted appetizers during happy hour.
For an early weekday dinner, my parents, my brother, and I decided to relive our Meritage memories and ordered a round of Skinny Margaritas ($12). Most of the other guests were sipping the classic version, but we prefer the Skinny Margarita’s fresh squeezed lime juice, Patron tequila and Cointreau. It’s a strong drink, and I only need one.
The appetizers at Meritage are always our favorite part of the meal. They’re all good – and we know, because we’ve tried just about everything. On this visit, we opted for a newer menu item, the Au Gratin Grilled Pizza ($14). The pie has a thin crust with a nice, chewy interior and is topped with perfectly cooked potato, bacon, red onion, and scallions. We also ordered a family favorite, the Buffalo Chicken Skewers ($12.50). The chicken is moist, tender and has just enough buffalo sauce to give the skewers a kick. The homemade blue cheese dressing is a welcome addition.
I asked my parents to recommend their favorite dish and they picked the Lobster Cardinale ($25). Capellini pasta is tossed with a very rich cognac tomato cream sauce, then is topped with lobster, shrimp, and scallops. It was a big portion, and the cream sauce makes it quite heavy. My brother had the Herb Encrusted Cod ($23), and my mother tried the Halibut Special ($26). My brother’s cod came with mussels and shrimp and was served in a tomato-clam broth. My mother’s halibut was also herb-encrusted and drizzled with a lemon-infused olive oil. My father ordered the Kabob Trio ($24) which included shrimp, scallop, and beef tenderloin kabobs grilled with garlic butter.
When it came time for dessert, we wanted to try something different. The Dessert Pizza is a family go-to and well worth the calories, but instead we sampled the S’Mores Pie. The pie was quite a spectacle: the top combines marshmallow fluff and mini marshmallows, which is lit on fire with a crème brûlée torch. Everyone in the dining room stopped to watch the conflagration. Underneath the marshmallow topping, there is premium coffee ice cream and a tasty graham cracker crust.
Next time you are looking for something to eat in East Greenwich but can’t figure out exactly what everyone in your group wants to eat, give Meritage a try. You just might see my parents drinking their skinny margaritas and enjoying the happy hour specials.
5454 Post Road, East Greenwich • 884-1255