Castle Hill Inn al fresco, photo courtesy of Castle Hill Inn
Castle Hill Inn al fresco, photo courtesy of Castle Hill Inn

Travel + Leisure 2012 “America’s Favorite Cities” Voting

It’s that time of year again. Voting for the 2012 “America’s Favorite Cities” poll has begun on the Travel + Leisure site. According to the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, “Providence did extremely well in this survey last year, earning #2 Food Destination and #1 burger rankings, as well as other high marks for all of our culinary offerings and arts activities.” Perhaps there are very subjective categories, but it does show that the people who vote sure do love Providence, even more than New York City. Spread the word, vote and keep the trend going.

Summer at Castle Hill Inn

The following are two press releases regarding the Lawn Opening and Summer Menus at Castle Hill Inn.

The Lawn at Castle Hill Opens for the Season

Summer’s Arrival Marked by the Return of Rhode Island’s Premier Al Fresco Dining Backdrop

Castle Hill Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property located at 590 Ocean Drive in Newport, RI, is pleased to announce that The Lawn, the inn’s outdoor dining space, has opened for the season, featuring the best in local and organic produce, fresh seafood, and prime cuts of meat as prepared by executive chef Karsten Hart. For more information or to make reservations, please call 401.849.3800 or visit

“Nothing says summer like sipping a cold cocktail in an Adirondack chair on The Lawn at Castle Hill,” said Daniel Braun, General Manager. “While nothing compares to the view, Chef Hart’s Lawn menu is a perfect pairing to the ocean breezes and crisp white sails against a clear blue sky.”

Begin your Lawn experience with a selection of house made cocktails, including Blueberry Lemonade: fresh blueberries, fresh lemon, St. Germain liqueur, blueberry vodka, Double Cross vodka, and lemonade; a pitcher of The Lawn Sangria: wine, orange liqueur, orange juice, fresh fruits, and sugarcane syrup; Cucumber Collins: New Amsterdam gin, cucumber puree, lemon juice, and soda water; or Castle Hill’s signature Oyster Martini: Three Olives tomato vodka, clamato juice, cilantro, fresh lime, sambal chili pepper, sugarcane syrup, and a native oyster.

The Lawn menu begins with a variety of Raw Bar, including native littleneck clams, native oysters, and white shrimp cocktail; Crab Cake with fire roasted tomato vinaigrette, avocado mousse, ancho aioli, Jonah crab, and cilantro; pan roasted Georges Bank Scallops with local corn puree, haricot vert, and charred jalapeño marinade; and house made Smoked Kielbasa with grilled onions, sauerkraut, and caraway mustard.

Salads include Native Field Greens with roasted shallot-oloroso sherry vinaigrette, compressed watermelon, and feta cheese; the Castle Hill Cobb with avocado, bacon, egg, chicken confit, and tomato raisins; and a Shrimp Caesar with grilled shrimp, romaine, anchovies, Parmesan, and black pepper croutons; while sandwiches feature a Maine Lobster Roll with tarragon-crème fraiche dressing, red cabbage slaw and shallot onion rings on a butter toasted bun; the Rhode Island Muffaletta: house-made mortadella, capicola ham, olive relish, provolone cheese, and tomato-cucumber salad; and the Surf ‘N’ Turf Burger topped with Maine lobster and served with house made fries.

Castle Hill’s entrée selections for the Lawn include grilled Native Swordfish with sweet corn, tomato, quinoa, arugula, and smoked tomato cioppino; Chicken Schnitzel: breaded chicken cutlet, lemon juice, mustard, German potato salad, tomatoes, and cucumbers; and Chef Karsten’s signature New England Lobster Boil: Maine lobster, littleneck clams, corn, chourico, smoked seaweed broth, and butter.

Castle Hill Inn Presents Prix Fixe Menus for Summer from Executive Chef Karsten Hart

A La Carte and Tasting Menus Abundant with Local Ingredients

Castle Hill Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property located at 590 Ocean Drive in Newport, RI, is pleased to present new tasting menus for the summer. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the new menu in four different ways: the Three-Course Menu, Five-Course Tasting Menu, Eight-Course Degustation Menu, or à la carte. For more information or to make reservations, please call 401.849.3800 or visit

Castle Hill’s award-winning Executive Chef Karsten Hart has prepared the new menus featuring the best in local and organic produce, fresh seafood, and prime cuts of meat. Prix Fixe menus are available during dinner only; dishes are also available à la carte.

Castle Hill’s Three-Course Menu begins with a selection of first courses, including cinnamon-braised House Made Charcuterie: kabanosy, foie gras terrine, mortadella, green apple mustard, and pickles; Baby Farms Field Lettuce with roasted shallot-oloroso sherry vinaigrette, shaved spring vegetables, and manchego breadstick; and pan-seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with pinot noir cake, green grapes, foie gras ice cream, and vincotto.

Main courses include herb-roasted Elysian Farms Lamb with merguez sausage, falafel, spring bean ragout, and lucques olives; butter-poached and seared Maine Lobster with panisse croutons, chick peas, and curry emulsion; and a grilled Filet of Hereford Beef with caramelized onion tart, spring garlic soubise, roasted carrot, and beef jus.

Guests may also choose from Castle Hill’s house-made seasonal desserts, including Coconut Phyllo with ganache, caramel mousse, and lemon sherbet; Sacher Torte with bittersweet chocolate chiffon, apricot preserves, and roasted white chocolate ice cream; and Crème Brulee with vanilla and Meyer lemon custard, poppy seed cake, and blueberry coulis.

The three-course Tasting Menu is priced at $75.00 per person or $105.00 with wine parings; tax and gratuity are additional.

Guests who wish to indulge in the chef’s Five-course Tasting Menu will begin their experience with pan-roasted Georges Bank Scallops with spring peas, maitake mushrooms, golden potato, and tarragon.

The second course features Spring Pea Soup with rabbit rillettes, prosciutto, and potato-parmesan relish; followed by applewood-smoked Confit of Wild Boar with a yakitori glaze, candied citrus, and shaved radish.

The third course features a choice of entrees, including a Duet of Rohan Duck: slow-cooked breast, confit roulade, foie gras, gooseberries, and carrot-marjoram emulsion; a grilled Filet of Hereford Beef with caramelized onion spring tart, spring garlic soubise, roasted carrot, and beef jus; pan-seared Native Fluke with bouillabaisse, lobster “sausage,” confit potato, and braised leeks; and grilled Lemon Salted Swordfish Fillet with smoked piperade emulsion, red pearl onions, and mache.

Dinner concludes with a Belgian Chocolate Soufflé with a peanut butter macaroon. The five-course Tasting Menu is priced at $95.00 per person or $145.00 per person with wine pairings; tax and gratuity are additional.

For guests with an appetite for the truly sublime, the Eight-course Degustation Menu features an array of local and organic offerings expertly chosen to complement the entire experience.

The first course features Chilled Spring Pea Soup with horseradish sorbet, prosciutto, and celery, followed by pan-seared Georges Bank Scallops with compressed melon, chiles, curry emulsion, and cilantro.

The third course features Grilled Swordfish with lemon salt, smoked piperade, and mache, followed by Surf & Turf: Maine lobster, foie gras, quinoa, and carrot-marjoram emulsion.

The fifth course is applewood smoked Confit of Wild Boar with shaved radish and candied citrus, followed by Elysian Fields Lamb with spring bean ragout and fava-olive oil sauce.

A cheese course featuring Boucherondin, a semi-firm goat’s milk cheese, served with anise crisp and Greenview Farms arugula will lead into the dessert course: Belgian Chocolate Soufflé with a peanut butter macaroon. The eight-course Degustation Menu is priced at $118.00 per person or $183.00 per person with appropriate wine pairings, tax and gratuity are additional.

Food TV Comes to Federal Hill’s Marrocco Group

The following is a press release regarding recent television production with Gianfranco Marrocco at his Mediterraneo Caffe.

The Marrocco Group establishment Mediterraneo Caffe will be featured on Food Network Star Guy Fieri’s show. Plus, restaurant owner Gianfranco Marrocco might become a reality star of his own.

Guy Fieri was rolling through Providence on his vintage beach cruiser and started to feel a little rumbling in his stomach when he came upon the delicious smells of Federal Hill. Being the world traveler that he is, he knows to trust the locals when it comes to finding the best spot to stop and grab a quick bite to eat. It wasn’t a surprise he was directed to Federal Hill’s mainstay Mediterraneo Caffe. As with most trips to Federal Hill, Fieri’s quick afternoon snack turned into a family style gathering where he dined on his favorite dish: Spaghetti Alle Vongole (spaghetti and clams). Onlookers overheard Fieri say Spaghetti Alle Vongole (spaghetti and clams) is  “in his estimation the true test of any Italian restaurant.”

As the day progressed into late evening, Fieri was regaled with tales of food and  “the old days on the hill” from owner Gianfranco Marrocco and his father.  This action packed evening and Marrocco’s impressive roster of diverse Federal Hill restaurants resulted in Fieri returning to Mediterraneo the next day to tape a segment for an upcoming program to air on the Food Network. The show date has not yet been released.

Marrocco and his stable of restaurants has other news to dish out too.   Multiple production companies have approached the gregarious restaurateur on (finally) bringing a reality show to Federal Hill featuring more of the Marrocco Group’s restaurants. Currently pilots are being filmed and edited. So stay tuned for more saucy things to come from this King of the Hill.

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