Monday, December 9, 2013

Jacky's Galaxie in Johnston

One night we had to get out of the house for an hour or so right around dinnertime so we thought why not try the new Jacky's Galaxie in Johnston. (Jacky's is a small chain of Asian eateries in Rhode Island.) The service was very friendly, ambience neat and clean and the food, while tasty, was generally unremarkable.

Still, the spring rolls were served with a very tasty crunchy peanut sauce rather than the ubiquitous orange "duck sauce." And the broccoli was just about perfect.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chez Pascal in Providence

Susie and I splurged recently on a Kermit Lynch wine dinner at Chez Pascal. It was a wonderful evening of delicious wines matched by equally delicious food, put on by the brilliant folks at Kermit Lynch. An importer of incredibly wonderful wines at a relatively decent price, Kermit Lynch has been one of those marques you find and never let go: you just know the product he selects and brings over here will be delicious and of good value; his organization has been a resource for us since we lived in Michigan.

During dinner we actually sat next to an Eisenhower, although she claimed that her branch of the family was very distant from the former President. There was really no resemblance, but still. . .

Unfortunately, the poor lighting and my mediocre photographic technique doesn't even begin to accurately depict the scrumptious food but I think you'll get the idea:

seared scallop with celery root, apple and saffron butter

beef short rib, white sweet potato gratin

pear custard gratin with bleu cheese

Saturday, November 30, 2013

AS220 in Providence

AS220, part of the downtown Providence art gallery movement that has stalled somewhat in recent years, is probably one of the better known venues for appreciating local art. It's also got a nice little bar and counter cafe on one side of the fairly large ground floor space on Empire Street as well.

 I went there for lunch and had the white bean soup -- loaded with green leaves, which I tossed out, and heavy on the garlic and semi-fried bacon, it tasted just OK. The toasted bread was good.

Oh, and since it's order at the counter and pick up your food when your "playing card" is called, I had very little observation of the level of quality of service.

But there's little else along Empire Street for a quick bite at midday. Just go without any great expectations.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Breakfast at Nick's on Broadway

Between Sunday brunch and evening dinner I've eaten quite a few times at Nick's but even though I live just four blocks away, I've never gone there just for breakfast in the middle of the week. Until now.

This morning I met up with three colleagues from work to sit, chat and have a delicious breakfast. 

It was worth the walk and the time.

Ed had the frittata

I had an omelet (bacon, sausage and provolone)

Jeff and Andrea had Eggs Benedict

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Westside Diner in Providence

Located just a block from our house on Westminster the Westside Diner is only open for breakfast and lunch and that hasn't really fit in with our schedules. But when a pair of friends blew through Providence on their way from Vermont to Louisiana we took the opportunity to check the place out.

OK, the basics first: the diner itself is very 1950ish and, we thought, so was the food. But more of that in a moment.

Seating is a bit awkward for the newcomer: no sign to wait or seat yourselves and the staff didn't make things any clearer, at first. Anyway, after a few minutes a booth opened up and the four of us grabbed it.

The booths, tables and seats all moved, allowing flexibility I suppose. The seats we thought quite uncomfortable -- and I know I was sitting directly on springs. I noticed that while the diner was completely refurbished, from a total mess last year, there wee hints of scrimping: the top of the long counter appeared to have an old piece of linoleum (?) instead of new. The edges were curling and there were areas where the top was nearly gone, exposing the brown under layer.

The service was friendly and attentive.

The lunch menu was fairly limited: a few sandwiches, soup of the day and a few hot plate specials. It's the breakfast menu that take sup nearly two pages but they had stopped serving breakfast at 11:30 (they're only open until 2pm).

The four of us opted for sandwiches: I had the classic patty melt on toasted rye bread with 1000 Island dressing. Ed had the burger club (interesting), Chris had a wrap and Susie had a turkey sandwich. I was the only one who opted for the fries, the other 3 went for the homemade cole slaw.

house made cole slaw

turkey club

classic patty melt

house made apple pie -- not good

chocolate pudding -- also house made and also not good
Quality of the food was good; both burgers were prepared as requested and tasty. The slaw, I was informed was quite good and surpassed expectations. The portions were just right as well. Prices ran about $8 per sandwich with sides, which we thought not too bad, particularly in Providence.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rasoi on the East Side of Providence

After living more than six years in Providence, we finally got to Rasoi, arguably one of Rhode Island's better restaurants and perhaps THE best Indian restaurant in greater Providence. It was last Friday evening, we had no reservations and the place was packed when we walked in the door. The hostess said there was a short wait or we could sit at the bar -- we chose the bar and it couldn't have been more perfect.

Although swamped with drinks and food the bartender was not only attentive but helpful in the extreme: He suggested cocktail specials for the evening and we give both two very big thumbs up -- I loath martinis as a rule but the special had (among other things) caramel vodka and apple cider. . . delicious!

When we asked about the nan bread for an app -- they have a variety of flavors - the bartender asked us what we were going to have with dinner (chicken). He suggested pairing the bread just like wine and he was right, of course: we ended up going with rosemary nan for our chicken dishes. Perfect!

We also tasted a couple of whites -- again at the bartender's suggestion -- to see which we would prefer with the meal and opted for a crisp, slightly tart sauvignon blank.

Cauliflower 65

chicken kebabs with mashed potatoes and lentils

Friday, September 20, 2013

Waterman Grille in Providence

Last Sunday evening, after a gorgeous day part of which was spent on the East Bay Bike Path, we couldn't quite bring ourselves to let go of it. So we opted to go to one of the better places to eat outdoors, Waterman Grille.

Now when I say better I don't mean the food is up to the same level as New Rivers, Broadway Bistro, Chez Pascal or Nick's on Broadway (four of our favorite haunts) but the location is quite nice and that's what we were after.

We started with a glass of prosecco and asked for a a hit of Aperol. They didn't have Aperol (hmmmm) but we substituted Camapari. They put in two or three drops (that's right, drops) just enough to turn the drink pink rather than red.  Obviously making cocktails isn't one of their strong suits we thought. But the drink tasted OK so what the heck -- we were sitting outside on a lovely evening enjoying life.

Susie had the the fish tacos followed by a Caesar Salad; I opted for Harissa meatballs as an app followed by a burger and (frozen) fries -- meat night for me. Our server was pleasant and moderately attentive although he did remind us of his name at least three times. I guess we appeared to be a bit on the dumb side?

Anyway, as I said the food is OK but it's the ambience that's everything.

OK so the view from the restaurant is Seekonk and not Manhattan, that's true

harissa meatballs on orzo salad == somewhat bland actually

the salad was a bit boring but the anchovies lively

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hemenways in Providence

Our 30th anniversary meal was spent at Hemenway's. Part of the Newport Restaurant Group (which includes Waterman Grille and The Boat House in Tiverton), and specializing in seafood, Hemenway's overlooks the Providence River as it drifts down to the hurricane barrier and Narragansett Bay.

The evening couldn't have been better (unless we were in Paris): food was very good, service attentive and the ambience fine.
view of the river looking south

calamari, Rhode Island style with Banana peppers

house salad


Seafood casserole with fingerling potatoes

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Birch in Providence

Located in downtown Providence, right next door to Gracie's along Washington Street was Tini's, one of our favorite eateries. Launched by George Germon and Johanne Killeen (of Al Forno fame), Tini's was small and unique in design (a food bar really) but under the culinary direction of Darius Salko you could always count on not just good food but great food.

When Tini's closed earlier this year it left a big question mark in the minds of local foodies: what is going in to that tiny niche across from Trinity Rep Theater. Well, now we know.

Ben Sukle, who helmed the opening of the Dorrance Restaurant in downtown Providence,  and his wife Heidi have taken the space and, keeping the same design (not much choice there!), launched "Birch" last month.

Susie, Andrea, Matt and I met up there the other day to taste test the food and get a sense of the new space.  While we miss Darius' incredibly creative and tasty comfort food (my God his gnocchi and rabbit!!), still we found the food at Birch quite nice: imaginative, flavorful and priced to sell.  A very nicely rounded wine list as well.

The space only seats about 15 people so I suspect that there will be standing room only before long. Oh, and parking is a challenge of course, it being Providence, so be prepared to be creative on a busy weekend.

Matt always has a way to make people smile

Tini's layout is still pretty much the same: u-shaped bar; kitchen is to the right rear

no, that's not sausage but a roasted carrot with Point Judith Fluke!

shredded crab with potatoes, quinoa, green tomatoes and an egg yolk

Point Judith stripped sea bass with Hakurei turnips, mussels, Escarole and lovage
crispy Vermont quail

triple chocolate pudding with rhubarb sorbet, peanuts and oat snaps

unique take on cheesecake with glazed strawberries, sorrel and wild rose ice cream

raspberries with almonds

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nick's on Broadway

The other day after worked Susie and I walked the four blocks from our apartment over to Nick's on Broadway, ostensibly just to have a drink. But, one thing led to another and we ended up eating for dinner. One of those last-minute decisions we've been making a lot of in our lives and so be it.

The service, like the food was worth it.
a scrumptious veggie concoction: roasted potatoes in one bowl and a variety of veggies in another

I'll take the fish please with fresh shelled peas and sugar snaps!