Thursday, December 16, 2010

Olga's Cup and Saucer

A dining fixture in Providence for more than a quarter of a century, Olga's Cup and Saucer, known locally as simply "Olga's," has become an icon (along with Seven Stars) for those seeking fresh bread and a tasty sandwich.

But I draw the line at their soup.

Over the past several months I've tried three of their soups, the last one just yesterday: a disappointing Navy Bean. Basically a mediocre tomato vegetable, the beans, less navy than coast guard, were smallish, a bit too firm to the bite and not worth the time or trouble it took to prepare, order or eat it.

So stick with the panini's, the tuna melt, the salads or whatever, but steer clear of the soups.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cook and Brown in Providence

It's been too long since I've updated this blog -- primarily because we tend to eat at the same wonderful places right here in Providence, and you've heard most of those details all before. But I wanted to share our latest dining adventure: a very nice new restaurant opened about 8 months ago on the East Side, right across the street from one of our favorite places, Chez Pascal.

Called Cook and Brown (no, I don't know why), you can skip Atwell's Avenue,  this place needs to go right to the top of your list of places to eat next.

We had an early dinner and were probably the second table seated for the evening. By the time we left, at nearly 8pm, the bar was shoulder to shoulder and the restaurant was packed, each table full to capacity.

Ambience -- a magical word in today's dining experience -- was cozy, and the small dining space had a comfortable neighborhood feel. and indeed, one senses that lots of the folks dining that evening were locals.

Service (Kandace with a "K") was friendly,  straightforward, and attentive without being invasive, striking just the right balance we thought.

Food was delicious, filling and creative without being contrived. I had Hubbard squash soup with chicken confit and pumpkin seed and Susie had the swordfish salad. Yes, we thought it sounded strange, too, but the flavor was so good you couldn't wait for the next bite. For our entree (or plat in French) Susie had the John Dory (not him personally just his fish), on a bed of small white beans and veggies, and I had the Cuban sandwich with a side of their home frites. Outstanding in every way. Portions were just right and so our second meal at Cook & Brown proved just as wonderful experience as our first.

We can't wait to try their Sunday dinner, one seating. . .  See ya there!