Waterfront Grille, New Bedford

It’s not easy to find waterfront dining in the Southcoast area of Massachusetts, but Gina and the Big Dog are doing their best.

A rare Saturday night journey into New Bedford was, well, weird.  Our first stop was a place touted as the city’s hottest rooftop nightspot, and granted, it was early evening (7 p.m.), and hot nightspots aren’t our thing anyway, but we were alone with the bartender in a two-story space for much of our visit.  In fact, we may have been the only living creatures on the whole street, one that is supposed to be the heart of New Bedford’s restaurant scene, on the nicest evening of the year so far.

And then, based on the recommendation of a couple who came in later, we went to the Waterfront Grille, requested a table on the patio, and we were alone there too. The inside dining areas and bar were hopping, though, suggesting that patrons were on hand for something other than the best view you’ll get of the working waterfront without stowing away on a fishing boat. (The camera phone photo on this page was taken from our table.)

Our young waitress brought us a shiraz and a pinot grigio, and an order of sweet potato maki — an unadventurous but very tasty selection from an extensive sushi menu. Gina’s house salad was fresh and crisp, and the Big Dog’s caesar was doused with a good dressing and laden with parmesan.

The Dog ordered scallop scampi, partly because it was so likely to have come off one of the boats that was sitting in front of us.  It was a delicious version of the classic dish, with a smattering of sun-dried tomatoes and the same addicting  crostini that came with his salad.

Gina’s black pepper crusted swordfish special with grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes was perfectly prepared. But at the risk of sounding like we spend too much time in faux Italian chains where a serving includes multiple pounds of pasta, this was simply too little food for the hefty $27 pricetag.

When seeking dining recommendations, we found that everyone in New Bedford began by identifying the likely age range of fellow patrons.  So, lest you think that the Waterfront Grille is just for older folks like us, we would note that we ran into Big Dog Junior on our way out, dining on sushi with fellow 20-somethings. The indoor dining area is festive and sleek, with ample windows overlooking the harbor — likely a great place to watch the game while splurging on some excellent food.

Waterfront Grille
36 Homers Wharf, New Bedford

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