I love reading chef interviews about where they go to eat in their free time, because more often than not, they bring attention to small, local spots with a great dish or two that go otherwise unnoticed by most people and the press. Case in point: Jeannette's Bakery.
'Providence' on Serious Eats
Since opening in 1983, Pastiche Fine Desserts has been a mainstay of the Providence restaurant scene, and the place to go when you're looking for a classic celebration cake or dessert.
At North, the kitchen doesn't just bend rules, but breaks them entirely, confidently, and incredibly skillfully.
Sometimes all you want is a great burger and the beverage that goes alongside it isn't too important. But other times, access to a wide variety of awesome beer is equally crucial to eating a delicious burger. For those times, we've compiled a list of a few favorite spots across the nation to simultaneously satisfy a craving for an exceptional pint and a delicious beef patty. Click through the slideshow to see all of our picks.
Luxe Burger Bar might serve unimpressive burgers, but it's a perfectly fine downtown spot for friends to share some drinks and greasy grub.
The highlight of Plouf Plouf's bacon and wild mushroom-topped duck burger is the side of fries that comes with it.
Harry's, a burger joint specializing in good beer and small burgers, opened on College Hill a couple years ago and has since become a mainstay for students with big appetites and thin wallets. While its prices are always reasonable, Harry's really shines during its daily Happy Hour, during which all burgers are half off. At any burger joint this would be a steal, and Harry's luckily cooks a solid patty.
Downcity Providence's year-old tapas joint is as pint-sized as Rhode Island itself, but shows off big flavors through its rotating menu of simple, well-executed small plates.
Like I said last time I visited Farmstead, I went in for cheese, and got cheese—and a bunch of other stuff. But this time, it was on the other side of the cheese shop's wall at La Laiterie, the adjacent bistro with fabulous cheese plates and charcuterie boards.
Nice Slice is a hipster-slash-hippie slice joint, with RISD-alum Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant posters plastered on its walls and a substantial portion of their menu friendly to a vegan clientele. A recent visit revealed the thin crust pies make a solid slice.
Back in October, I had the opportunity to experience three of my favorite things all together: Chef Mike LaScola of American Seasons on Nantucket, Chef Matt Jennings of La Laiterie in Providence, and a rather tasty heritage breed Mangalitsa pig. Check out the video after the jump for some thoughts from Matt Jennings and Mike LaScola about the importance of heritage pork.
Al Forno's grilled pizza needs no introduction, but the restaurant's desserts—particularly the free-form tarts—don't get the chatter they deserve. Chef/owners Johanne Killeen and George Germon run three or four of them at a time, filling the same ultra-flaky tart dough (flour, sugar, salt, water, and lots of butter) with a variety of produce: apples, peaches and raspberries, plums—and during the fall months, sugar pumpkins.
This always happens. I went in for cheese, and left with cheese, jars of fancy mustard and ketchup, and an awesome sandwich. Farmstead, Wayland Square's terrific cheese boutique that shares a wall (and a door) with chef/owners Matt and Kate Jennings' beloved bistro La Laiterie, serves lunch between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m, and the roast beef sandwich ($9) came highly recommended by the friendly on-duty cheesemonger.
There are almost 50 farmers' markets in the small state of Rhode Island, and much to the joy of locals seeking fresh produce, they're just starting to open. The Hope Street market at Lippitt Park is one of the biggest and most diverse in Providence. It draws dozens of vendors including fruit and vegetable farms, dairies and cheese shops, bakeries, meat and egg producers, a juice truck, and more.
Few joints get as crowded during lunch hour in Providence as Geoff's Sandwiches on Benefit Street. Though the tiny shop is nestled on College Hill beside both Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, its clientele treks from all over downtown Providence to try one of dozens of creative sandwiches.
Louis Restaurant has been an early morning/very latenight staple for college students and Providence locals for decades. The menu is standard diner fare: eggs any way, hash browns, and fluffy pancakes, in addition to off-menu items like tofu scramble scribbled on sheets of paper posted on the wall. The gruff but warm-hearted waitstaff will make you pretty much anything you want, as long as the ingredients are in the kitchen. That's how a friend of mine ended up with this killer reuben.
No state has a closer relationship with doughnuts than Rhode Island. The state has just over a million people, but houses more than 200 doughnut shops. And the doughnut capital, Providence, has over 25 doughnut shops per 100,000 people. Sure, Dunkin' Donuts is responsible for much of the state's pastry offerings, but the market also supports a large number of small, local chains. We tried a few, on a quest to find the best.
The Cambodian population in Providence began to grow during the reign and eventual fall of the Khmer Rouge, in the late 1970s. It's now a substantial immigrant group with more than 10,000 people. The cuisine relies heavily on rice as well as familiar Asian flavors like soy sauce, lemongrass, tamarind, ginger, and coconut milk. Fish is also a staple, though Westerners don't always get behind the fermented and salted preparations. There are two popular Cambodian restaurants in Providence: Angkor and Apsara Palace. I dropped by both to see what authentic Cambodian food is all about.
The city of Providence, Rhode Island has a relatively small food scene compared to some of its more populated neighbors, like New York and Boston. But that's not to say that there's any lack of excellent food in the city. To kick off a series of posts about where to find great eats in Providence, I chatted with chef Matt Jennings of Farmstead cheese shop and La Laiterie bistro. (We are big fans of their sandwiches!) Chef Jennings trained in some excellent restaurants, and now brings his taste for artisan cheese and great composed plates to Rhode Island. Let's get to know him!
To say that Providence, Rhode Island, has some of the best restaurants in the country is by no means an overstatement. The incredible meals I ate when I lived there (before leaving in 2008) have me yearning perpetually to return. Everyone asks me, how could Providence, a city of less than 175,000 people, have such good restaurants? Though the city hosts the largest campus of the Johnson & Wales culinary empire, I'd say the proliferation of exceptional eateries has more to do with the number of nearby farms, all within an hour's drive from the capitol. Here are the five most unforgettable dishes at my top five Providence restaurants.