Monday, July 16, 2012

Perro Salado, Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is one of the spots around New England that truly signifies summer to me.  Full of vacationing families and couples, its main streets are packed with tanned people dashing away from the surrounding beaches and in to the variety of ice cream shops, fudge stands, restaurants and shops along the way.  The din of happy chatter replaces the roar of cars as everything seems to move a little slower, just as it should in a vacation spot. I

Ive had the opportunity to head down a couple times already this summer, during the first I had the chance to visit Perro Salado, a family operated  traditional Mexican restaurant in the heart of the downtown area.  The charm of Perro Salado emits as soon as you arrive at their establishment - an antique home whose very floor boards creak with history.  Inside the restaurant bustles with happy patrons, a full kitchen and a friendly staff.

I was there to eat for sure, and started my meal with their guacamole, a staple for me in Mexican restaurants, and their sticky pork ribs, a highly recommended dish.  I dug into the guacamole first and foremost and found it to be a smooth avocado puree flavored with a healthy dose of lime juice, spiced with a gentle heat, and then mixed with chopped onions, tomatoes and pipians (or pepitas).  I loved the addition of the pipians- they added a unique, earthy textural contrast that highlighted the smoothness of the avocado and the brightness from the acidic lime juice.  The guacamole was served with fresh, thick corn chips that served as the perfect vehicle for the dip.

I then poked my fork into the sticky pork ribs.  I soon found that once that initial poke had occurred it became increasingly difficult to stop poking at them.  The meat easily fell off the bone, the result of obvious hours of gently cooking the meat in its sauce of  bursting of rich flavors of orange, cherry, molasses and cinnamon.  The ribs had a slight char to them as well- and together they presented a delightful smokey and sweet combination.  Served with pickled onions, the tangy flavor complimented the ribs perfectly.  They were fantastic.

I decided on the fish tacos for my main course.  The menu billed them as beer battered mahi mahi, but after a brief conversation I found that grilled was also offered and so I later dug into my double corn tortilla encased grilled fish tacos, topped with a cabbage slaw, fresh cilantro, a chipotle flavored mayo and served with fresh jalapenos, lime wedges, more pickled onions and fresh pico de gallo on the side, it was a beautiful dish to view, and a fun one to enjoy.  The fish itself had been marinated in a slightly spicy marinade, which was immediately cooled with the creamy mayonnaise based sauce.  I appreciated the options to add as many jalapenos as I wanted, and loved piling on the pickled onions to my hearts content.  The flavors were fresh and full bodied and created a wonderful harmony as I plowed through them.

I ended my visit to Perro Salado with their Chocolate Volcano Cake- a moist cake which easily gave way to a melted center with a simple fork  puncture.  The flavor was deeply chocolate and spiced with chipotles adding to the intrigue of the dish.  This was served with a mango cream and a traditional whipped cream, both of which allowed for a little relief to ones taste buds in between bites of cake. 

Perro Salado was a treat to visit.  Every room offered the beauty and the charm of historic Newport, while the food was a welcome deviation from the normal fare of the vacation community.  The chef puts his heart into each dish and creates a wonderful harmony of flavors and textures with every bite. 


Michelle Collins said...

I love Newport, but haven't been in ages. This place looks great - any place with good guac is OK in my book! ;)

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Guac with pepitas is very interesting! Awesome meal!

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