My mother is a foodie. Not a bad trait to inherit. She unknowingly plays Motif’s editorial consult on half of our Locale coverage. I’ve also inherited her organizational skills that border on neurotic. This was made clear after asking her to participate in a Mother’s Day-themed bar hop as I read her itinerary email the night before, copied to nine other people, stating, “Here’s the lineup for tomorrow night’s drunken extravaganza.” She strategically mapped out three restaurants in East Greenwich based on a three-course evening: Meritage for high-end martinis, Finn’s Harborside for “clam cakes to soak up the booze,” and Grille on Main for, “yet more responsible drinking,” and the main course. I like the way you think, Mom. And so it began — five retired best friends and five of their grown children take on East Greenwich.
Ten ladies and a gentleman deep, we hit our first stop. Meritage must be where 9 to 5 sophisticates go after a long day at the office because for an early, rainy Wednesday evening it was packed. Even in a crowd the open room held the group of us comfortably. If there is such a thing as a cocktail destination, this is one of them. After flipping through pages of signature drinks, I settled on the Double Cross Pear Martini, which was Double Cross Vodka & Chilean baby pear nectar, garnished with a wild baby pear. The fruit nicely complemented the bite of the vodka without disguising the flavor.
As my sister whispered to me, half a martini deep, “Are you drunk yet, too?” it was clearly time to finish up and move the party along the road to the rehabilitating, booze-soaking clam cakes. And more cocktailing. Finn’s Harborside, known best for their weekend summertime dock parties, is a nautical dive bar during off-hours. It’s the type of place where you wouldn’t be phased if someone looking like Gorton’s Fisherman took the bar stool next to you. Bar food plus seafood translates into some quality fried appetizers. Clearly, Mother knows best.
Our last stop brought us to Grille on Main for a late-night dinner. As a Main Street staple, it was only appropriate. Known for its grilled pizzas and pasta dishes, the bistro-style eatery certainly delivered. The butternut squash ravioli balanced sweet and savory with candied pecans and spinach tossed in a sage brown butter cream and Parmesan cheese sauce.
The casual sophistication of our night, not a usual ambiance for our group of 20-somethings, was not out of the ordinary for our mothers. “You were schooled in happy hour,” they declared. “We trained you for this!” And they were right. This group was no stranger to small intimate parties. I had been a guest at their patio soirees since the womb. We all got to college confused as to why there was never any fresh crab dip or bruschetta.
Teach your children how to tie their shoes, ride a bike, and that if you’re going to drink, do it right. They just might write about you in a magazine some day. Happy Mother’s Day to the group of women who raised me and trained me how to properly make a gin and tonic.
Meritage, 5454 Post Rd
Finn’s Harborside, 38 Water St
Grille on Main, 50 Main St