Tallulah on Thames (Newport, RI)
Why Come Here? World-class dining in Newport, outstanding local cooking
If you’ve been to Newport, you’ve probably gawked in awe at the summer “cottages” built by the the Vanderbilts and other turn of the century titans. Across town at Tallulah on Thames however, you can have a meal that would make these gilded age captains of industry jealous.
Tullulah follows the seasonal/local New American style that’s been all the rage around the country for the last two years. While this has led to an overcrowded field with many demanding high prices for mediocre cooking, this is far from the case at Tullulah. Chef Jake Rojas’ cooking is right up there with the likes of ABC Kitchen (the gold standard in this category) with every dish hitting the mark and a superb overall dining experience. I’m guessing it’s remained hidden nationally by it’s location in a resort town known more for lobsters and chowders than culinary innovation, but if our meal was any indication you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the months to come.
The quaint 30-seat restaurant is tucked away on bustling Thames Street, Newport’s main drag. The color scheme is a simple black & white with finishings that harken back to Newport’s early 20th century heyday. The menu format was also simple and classic: a three course prix-fixe for $55 (with several small supplements) and wine pairing for an additional $33. What was not simple was the innovative cuisine churned out by the kitchen with every dish offering something unique and incredible. (Good news for vegetarians: you could easily build a delicious meat-free meal from the menu). The meal pacing was a leisurely but well spaced 2 hours, with no noticeable gaps between courses.
A rundown of what we had is below. You can find additional photos on my DishEnvy page.
Native Heirloom Tomato Salad All the ingredients, especially the tomatoes are incredibly fresh and perfect. It’s essentially a very upgraded version of the caprese salad with watermelon, which makes it the perfect summer starter.
Cheese Plate Normally I’m disappointed by restaurant cheese plates as I feel I can get a better assortment for less at Murray’s. At Tullulah they actually bring it out before the meal so you can see the options so we decided to go for it. Great move as it’s one of the best we’ve ordered. We’re now on the hunt for Pleasant Ridge Reserve.