Order this... Fresh swordfish at Finn's
According to the history books, by the time of the infamous hurricane of 1938 that decimated Block Island, the fishing industry on the island had been substantially reduced since its glory years. But, thanks to Finn’s, which has been in business since the mid-1970s, fresh caught swordfish is available daily in both the restaurant and adjacent fish market.
Finn’s is a family business. Currently, the second, third and fourth generations of the Howarth family are involved in its operations. We sat down with Finn’s second generation matriarch Debbie Howarth and Jessie Howarth, her daughter and part-time manager to learn about the swordfish as well as other fresh seafood available at Finn’s. Grandson Ezra, a member of the fourth generation who is getting his start bussing tables, was at camp.
Every week, two to three whole swordfish, each weighing between 120 to 140 pounds, are delivered to Finn’s packed and then stored in ice and are boned only when needed and then only one-half of a fish at a time. The freshness was very evident in the cooked-to-perfection swordfish that we tasted. No fancy sauce — just baked and then grilled with only a light butter sauce and served with lemon on the side along with a choice of two sides — French fries, baked potatoes, salad, corn and mixed vegetables. It was special!
We learned that other local seafood dishes include sea scallops right out of the shell, local lobsters from Pt. Judith or caught right off of Block Island by Freddy Howarth, Debbie’s husband, and bluefish which is the primary ingredient in Finn’s famous smoked bluefish pate (which we understand is a favorite snack of the fourth graders in the Block Island School). All can be eaten in the restaurant, purchased at the outside take out counter for a ready-to-eat dinner, or from the fish market for a home-cooked meal. One new offering this year is smoked scallops wrapped with bacon, available only at the fish market.
Finally, the Howarths reminded us that Finn’s offers an awesome lobster boil that you can order with only 24 hours notice. It includes lobsters, steamers, and flounder and is great for a beach picnic or a backyard cookout.
Finn’s Restaurant and takeout are open daily through Labor Day for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and seating is available indoors or outdoors. The fish market is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Labor Day. — Ruth Perfido and Becky Ballard
Finn’s is located at Old Harbor. Phone is 466-2473.