It happens all too easily in Newport–you have a short list of beloved restaurants that you’ve always wanted to expand, but some how the temptation of familiar favorites always wins. Restaurant Week seems to give diners the much needed motivation to try someplace new, which is why I dined at Spark last night. I first sampled Chef Sue Zinno’s cooking when Spark participated in the Taste of Newport to benefit Child & Family (which returns this weekend at the Hyatt Regency Newport—click here for more information) and made an impression. Last night was my opportunity…
Spark’s RW menu includes it’s famed Thai Shrimp Nachos (also available vegetarian), which is also included on their regular menu, and I couldn’t pass up to opportunity to enjoy the “sautéed shrimp, scallions, red peppers and leeks served over crispy wonton chips with Thai red coconut curry sauce.” My dining companion enjoyed a “Petite Lamb Burger and Spark Frites Pizza,” a mini-pizza piled high with ground lamb, thick fries, “cowboy ketchup” and doused with, as the menu describes, “gooey cheese sauce.”
Entrees include Braised Wild Boar Ribs, Tuscan Scallops and a Grilled Petite Deconstructed Beef Wellington, but I opted for a vegetable fried rice dish with a mix of julienne vegetables stir fried, orange-scented jasmine rice, soy ginger and hoisin and peppered with black sesame seeds and topped with crunchy noodles, which was packed with flavor. My friend opted for the oven roasted quail stuffed with herbs, figs and quinoa served atop a bed of sautéed spinach and drizzled with pomegranate molasses—and though she had intended to leave half for a take-home treat, nothing was left behind. What were the dishes paired with? Anything we wanted, as Spark is a BYOB restaurant. In keeping with celebrating local talent, we enjoyed Sakonnet Vineyards Cabernet Franc Rose, which complemented both dishes.
Another benefit of RW—dessert is included, so if you normally pass on this final course, the all-inclusive RW menu puts it right in front of you. For me, a petite crème brule that was the perfect finale to a lovely evening; for my friend, an orange-scented coconut cake. It’s easy to heart Spark…add it to the regular roster.
Spark is located at 12 Broadway in Newport, 842-0023, sparkrestaurantandcatering.com
Photos: Courtesy Spark