Judy's Picky Picks

Mistakes at Home and a Far Better Meal at Kimberly’s

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 1:30pm

I know a lot of people who pride themselves on their cooking. One of them is my sister-in-law Regina, a grad of the Culinary Institute, in other words, a real chef. One of her favorite eyewitness stories is of working in a New York City restaurant with two feuding kitchen guys, one of whom ended up in a steaming pot of liquid and the other, in a police car. Don’t ever call her Reggie or you could end up in one of her soup pots. 

Among the others I know (and I will never name names) some really are good and others, not so much. I consider myself a so-so cook. Sometimes my meals come out superb, at other times, inedible, though everyone (translation — my husband Ron) chews through those anyway and  knows better than to complain. 

Last week I put a steak on the grill after marinating it for twenty minutes in a baggie with my own special recipe (store-bought teriyaki sauce) and while it was cooking, I started reading a new book, “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: A Novel.” Well, the book was so good I forgot to go out and turn the steak on time. By the time I got there it was patterned with grill stripes and a charred black coating. I tried to knife the charred parts off while the other side was cooking but, alas, to no avail. I plated the poor things as soon as I could, cringing at its appearance, and went into the house with apologies that I had ruined it.

One or two bites into his supper, Ron exclaimed that he’d never eaten a better steak. He said it again when he’d almost finished. Go figure! I’d call it divine intervention but I don’t think any deity really cares how my husband likes my mistakes. Now I know there is nothing better than benign neglect for dinner — perhaps they teach that at the culinary institutes.

My up and down cooking skills are why we go to restaurants so much. Our favorites are not always the most expensive or lavish, they are the ones where the food is good and consistently so. They don’t have days when the cook is off and so is the food.

This brings me to my most recent positive restaurant experience and my Picky Pick for this month, the new Kimberly’s on Ocean Avenue. Ron and I first met Kimberly Ward back when we were new cottagers and she was the manager of Deadeye Dick’s. I assume her husband Norman was cooking there then, because the basic flavors of their dishes remain the same. We used to sit out on the side porch over the water and let our little boy run down to the pond below where he would skip rocks and watch little crabs while we fell in love with the crab cakes and the Thai beef skewers.

A few years later the Block Island Fitness Center opened and when we worked out Kimberly and Norman would also be there, especially after the summer season ended. I began to recognize Norman when he was running or bicycling on the street. All the islanders who exercised back then knew each other.

The Wards moved over to the Beachead when friend Steve Orlando bought it, and eventually took over the lease. Now they have moved again, this time to the building on Ocean Avenue that once housed Harry’s and before that McNamara’s. I tried it out last week with my friend J and we each gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. The only Ward ingredient missing here is a view of the water, but the friendly ambience of Kimberly coming to tables to chat, along with members of the former Beachead crew like Lisa Ommerle and Bruce Eagleson more than make up for that. I felt comfortable and well-treated among these old friends.

On the menu that night was one of my favorite appetizers, lamb chop lollipops. It might just be that I love them because Kimberly served them up when she catered my son’s wedding, but everyone else seems to like them, too. Could be they are just delicious! J and I split an order of the lollipops and then I had a salmon that was delicious, so fresh and cooked to the absolute perfect temperature. 

J ordered a beet salad as she is right now somewhere between vegan, vegetarian, and carnivore, depending on the day or even the course. Her salad was colorful, with red beets on one side, yellow on the other and, in her own words, “beautiful steamed green asparagus between them.”  I am not a beet lover, but J is and declared it delicious. After her low-calorie meal, J ordered dessert, which she shared with me. Chocolate mousse is tops on my list. I love it and it is hard to find in restaurants these days. This was a really good one, made even better by its accompanying chocolate espresso truffle handmade by Sheila at Blocks of Fudge.

I’ll be back to Kimberly’s soon, because I liked it a lot and also, Ron hasn’t tried it yet and he is eager to go. Sometimes it is not the view outside that makes the restaurant, but the view within.

For more information about Kimberly’s and their menu, check out the Block Island Times Dining Guide at www.blockislanddiningguide.com.

From the August 2014 Block Island Summer Times