Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tini's in Downtown Providence

Another of favorite eating haunts, Tini's, wedged between Gracie's and the Bravo Brasserie on Washington Street in downtown Providence requires a certain suspension of your ideas about what a restaurant should and shouldn't be. The sign above the door says "Food Bar" and indeed that's exactly what it is: a bar that serves food. U-shaped the bartenders are also foodtenders and they do an incredible job of both. The long and short of it is the superb service is outdone only by the incredible food served up by Chef Darius Salko.

Wednesday nights dining out in downtown Providence are often a quiet affair and Tini's was no exception last evening. We started out with a glass of cava for Susie and I had an Ipanema cocktail (Brazilian rum, lemon juice, simple syrup and cranberry juice), both perfectly suited for toasting Susie's late brother, her incredible mother and the future of the French Tarte.

For starters Susie had the bruschetta special and I had Brussels sprouts, followed by short ribs ravioli for Susie and the steak and fries for me.  The steak was prepared nearly sushi-grade (think tuna) but tender, sweet and matched in flavor by Tini's succulent fries -- the best I've found in the city so far. All washed down with a light Bardalino -- a bit light for the steak but nice nonetheless. Susie rounded her meal off with the lemon gelato. Wonderful!

Two suggestions: comfortable stools would be nice touch; the ones there now are like sitting on a plank of wood (which it is) and they're difficult to move in and out. This is a bar after all. . . And maybe a couple of nice full-bodied reds available by the glass?

200 Washington Street
Providence, RI 02909
tel. 401-383-2400

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Three great places to eat in Providence

For a week or so in early March we hit three of our favorite eateries here in Rubetown: Ama's on Luongo Square near home, Duck and Bunny on Wickenden Street in the Fox Point area and Broadway Bistro on, you got it, Broadway at the corner of Pallas Street.

Ama's is small and intimate, what one reviewer on Chowhound styled as a "jewel of a place," right across from one the city's more popular watering holes: The Avery. Run by Mike Sears, one of the most underrated restauranteurs in Providence ("Lili Marlene" to "Loie Fuller" to "Ama" and coming soon an honest-to-God diner one block from our home), with some of the best tasting and best priced food in the city, this was our umpteenth visit to Ama's and, as always, a pleasure.

Three of us started out with a new app, lightly fried edamame pods with a scrumptious dipping sauce. While I love the succulent peas themselves, edamame pods have never been one of my favorite foods, I usually find them tough and barely edible. But these were tender, tasty and cooked to perfection. We also ordered our standard app, the house green beans.

As usual, Susie and Andrea each had the Bento boxes while I went for the fish and chips. A bottle of sparkling accompanied us throughout.

After a long Friday at work for one and an even longer day at home for another we were feeling an urge for a taste of crepes in a cozy setting. And crepes here in Greater Gritworld pretty much meant Duck and Bunny. Billed as a "snuggery," Susie and I had recently gone there for the first time for Valentine's Day dinner and were eager to return and try their regular menu on for size. We weren't disappointed.

For an aperitif, we each had the "mojitoph," a delicious concoction of fresh mint, sugar, lime juice with a splash of fruit puree, topped with champagne. The salads are fresh, flavorful and huge -- Susie and Andrea split one as an app leaving enough to take home. The crepes were equally substantial and equally delicious. Susie had the "Distinguished Lincoln" crepe, ham & Gruyere with caramel mustard; Andrea had one of her favorites, the Mazzy Star, with Portobello, Fontina with rosemary and truffle oil. I had "Creperito", stuffed with brown rice, black beans, cheddar, onions, spinach, and house made salsa and guacamole with sour cream. Whoa! What a meal!

Service was friendly, attentive and the ambience cozy and inviting -- at least in the fireplace room near the bar.

This past Monday evening Susie and were in need of comfort food (trust me on this), and that meant our neighborhood favorite: Broadway Bistro for ribs 'n grits. It was quiet when we arrived so we picked out a choice spot in front overlooking the street life. We started with two glasses of Italian prosecco, followed by celery puree soup for Susie and a bean stew for me. Although billed as an appetizer, we each had ribs n' grits for the entree -- plenty of food believe me, washed down with a nice, comfortable palate-pleasing Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.

Once again, and again and again, great food sensibly priced.