Tyler Point Grille
A long-standing tradition of casual elegance
by Johnette Rodriguez
32 Barton Avenue, Barrington, 247-0017
Open Sun-Thurs, 4:30-10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. till 11 p.m.
Major credit cards
One thing about East Bayers: they know a good thing when they find it. Tyler
Point Grille has been reopened under new management for just a few months now,
but on a recent Friday night, it was packed by 6:30. Fortunately, we'd hurried
in out of the rain an hour earlier and had been easily seated in the
low-ceilinged dining room next to the high, open-beamed one.
In both, you can find comfort in Tyler Point's warm wood and polished brass
decor, set off by hanging plants and picket-fence-like room dividers and by
multi-paned mirrors and sailing prints. In spring and summer, there are even
sunsets over the inlet on which the restaurant sits.
Our attentive and patient waiter answered all of our questions and promptly
brought us two piping bowls of creamy roasted-garlic soup ($3.75), followed by
baked clams ($6.95). The soup was dreamy. The half-dozen clams, flavorful
littlenecks, were startling with oregano and salty with chopped prosciutto.
The three of us carefully split up the clams and their stuffing before two
from our party gravitated toward the pastas for our main course, with Bill
ordering a special ravioli dish ($13.95) and our friend, Baiba, succumbing to
that evening's risotto special ($13.95).
Her risotto was expertly cooked, with fresh tomatoes and a pesto sauce, and
was mixed with a generous portion of pan-seared scallops. Delicious, through
Bill, meanwhile, scarcely let anyone near his plate, guarding the artichoke
hearts which hid their plump halves among the ravioli. But reviewers have their
responsibilities, and I managed to wangle a sample, in which I found the light
wine/lemon sauce just the right framing for the hearty ravioli, stuffed as they
were with roasted eggplant.
My plate was actually the one everyone wanted to taste and retaste, in order
to savor the smoked fresh tomato sauce surrounding my polenta Napoleon and
halibut fillet ($15.95). It's not that the fish should have played second
fiddle to the sauce, because it ably lived up to the restaurant's name and was
very nicely grilled. It's just that there's something so appealing about smoked
flavors, and this sauce was excellent.
The polenta was a round, thick slice of cornmeal-pudding-Italiano topped by a
fresh tomato slice, melted cheese and a sprig of thyme. The vegetables that
evening (chef's daily choice) were fresh green beans, cooked to a tenderness
that retained their optimum flavor.
For dessert, we chose an apple-pumpkin upside cake ($4.95), made especially
for Tyler Point, as were a half-dozen tortes and cheesecakes that night. The
cake was moist and spiced like a pumpkin pie, while the apple slices were
arrayed on top like pineapple slices, with that same buttery, brown-sugar
Unfortunately, we also ordered a portion of mango sorbet, with memories of
exotic tropical-flavored sorbets and ice creams in the Keys. We all agreed that
this one tasted more like perfume than fruit, and our waiter whisked it away
with an apology that it wasn't made by Tyler Point.
There's always been a feeling of casual elegance about Tyler Point Grille, and
the food and service now keep pace with that mood, sorbet notwithstanding. Two
caveats about finding the restaurant: when you look for the turn off Route 114,
make sure you take Barton Avenue and not Tyler Point Road, as you might think.
Also be sure to make a reservation for Friday or Saturday nights. You'll know
you're on the right road as soon as you glide past towering, dry-docked
sailboats and glimpse a view of the water.