WARWICK, RI – Nothing makes you more nostalgic than comfort food done right, like a warm crock of mac and cheese, or a cool ice cream sandwich. Nothing will bring you back to childhood more than having all of those treats… in The Tree House.
Located just along Route 114 in Warwick, Rhode Island, The Tree House Tavern and Bistro is a charming spot unlike any other restaurant you’ve ever seen. Owner Michael Gerard, along with his mother, Allyn, have created a truly unique space set inside an 1820’s farmhouse with eclectic decor in every corner.
“People cannot believe their eyes when they come into the room,” said Michael. “They scan the room in amazement from inside to outside. You can read it right on their face. Either this wondrous look or smile, and we gladly show them around to all the areas.”
There’s the main dining room, chock full of knickknacks, with a lofty ceiling and active bar. Or for a more intimate experience, you can wander out to the lush garden and relax on Adirondack chairs by the fire pit. But the main attraction of the space, and the inspiration for the name, is the real life tree house which welcomes guests as they arrive.
“They stop. They pause. They take pictures,” Michael said. “They imagine themselves as a youngster.”
Once you’ve taken in all there is to see, it’s time to take in some of the fare, with a menu that’s as original as the space itself. Take, for example, the appetizer known as BLT Deviled Eggs.
“The deviled eggs are our approach to a classic, memorable, simple dish that was at every picnic or every family reunion and injected, of course, that famous bacon. The filling is created with roasted tomato, spices, and then it’s filled into the egg white, garnished with crispy bacon. Then deep fried spinach is peppered onto the top,” described Michael.
There are also Roasted Jalapeno and Crab Corn Fritters with a spicy harissa aioli for dipping; and crispy chicken wings that go way beyond Buffalo, because they’re tossed in a smoked, pecan barbecue sauce.
If there’s one app that’s truly a must try, it’s the Polenta Fry Poutine, baked off with goat cheese and warm marinated veggies.
“Little bit of saltiness in the natural sweetness of corn, match that with the goat cheese which has got a nice char to it, and the marinated vegetables which have a natural sweetness. It comes around sweet and salty,” Michael described.
Sandwiches at the Tree House are sensational. The Tree House Burger is piled high with caramelized onions, tomato chutney, smoked gouda and thick cut bacon. For even more bacon, along with some lobster, get the Lobster BLT.
“Lobster combined with bacon – you can’t go wrong,” Michael declared. “On a sweet brioche bun, and tomato and crispy lettuce, it’s a perfect combination. I’ve seen little old ladies in their 90s devour the whole thing.”
Entrees are impressive in both size and taste. There’s the Crab, Corn and Jalapeno Mac and Cheese, served in a cast iron skillet; and for a savory version of a classic dessert, try the Lobster Bread Pudding. This decadent dish mixes brioche bread with chunks of fresh lobster and creamy bisque, and the whole thing gets baked so the top is crunchy, and the inside is soft and creamy.
Even meatloaf gets a face lift here, when it’s served Asian style in a sweet soy broth.
“This is Angus beef, a little pork, and it’s combined with fresh carrots,” Michael described. “We make a roasted tomato sauce that goes on the top. It’s served over rice noodles which are ultra-thin, and a wonderful savory broth. It’s not like any meatloaf you’ve ever had.”
Deciding on dessert at the Tree House is simple, because it’s all out on display. While there are over a dozen housemade goodies to choose from, sometimes you want something simple. Nothing will cure that need quite like one of the Tree Houses’ ice cream sandwiches.
“Everyone likes a warm, fresh cookie. Our baker bakes up cookies every day and we match it up with the simplest of all – vanilla ice cream.”
Polenta Fries, a Lobster BLT, Asian Meatloaf and an ice cream sandwich make for THE PERFECT MEAL when you’re in The Tree House.
You can find The Tree House Tavern at 1094 Centerville Road in Warwick, Rhode Island and online at thetreehousetavern.com.
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