Newport’s super deluxe hotel Chanler at Cliff Walk and its restaurant, the Spiced Pear, celebrate their 10th anniversary this summer. By that time, you’ll risk long waits and crowded conditions as the vacationing hordes fill the destination overlooking Easton’s Beach. It would be smarter to plan a spring daytrip, or perhaps an Easter brunch fieldtrip.
The Spiced Pear is surprisingly small and inviting. You enter through a cozy mahogany-paneled bar and it’s edged by a large covered terrace, which opens April through October, weather permitting. A sweeping lawn with neatly lined up white Adirondack chairs and the vast and relentless Atlantic Ocean makes a perfect view that just doesn’t get old.
Through summer, the Spiced Pear opens for breakfast and then all-day lunch on the terrace. Then comes dinner, which isn’t as stuffy as you might expect as the restaurant’s initial regal image is softened by chef Thomas Duffy’s more playful approach. The Rhode Island native packs the menu with free range and organic meats and local often-organic produce, and spices it with a sense of fun.
Take his version of profiteroles. The unsweetened dough is cooked to a nice crispness and the bittersweet sauce has lots of natural spicy chocolate flavor. Both work perfectly for the super-sweet interior of, well, what is it? Dr. Pepper ice cream!
Then, there’s Duffy’s riff on surf and turf: a flakey, tender pork cheek with a sweet cherry vinegar reduction and big tasty shrimp as a garnish. A bed of creamy white corn grits softened and seasoned with Vermont cheddar makes it a comfort dish to be savored until next winter.
Specials for Sunday
The Spiced Pear’s three-course Easter Sunday brunch welcomes spring with an early heirloom tomato salad with organic baby lettuces and Moody Blue cheese. There are also Maine diver scallops with truffled leeks, chanterelles, and fiddlehead s; pistachio crusted Texan wild boar chops with morels, ramps, and a Madeira jus; and a simple, sweet chocolate Belgian waffle with bananas, berries, and the restaurant’s signature spiced pear compote.
Easter Sunday Brunch
$75 per person
117 Memorial Blvd, Newport