Rhode Island’s Best Fall Foods + Where To Eat Them

Thursday, October 17, 2013


The only thing that compensates for the departure of our favorite summer ingredients -- tomatoes, corn and the like -- is the bounty that autumn brings. Colorful, savory and rich, we love what the season produces, and found five places to taste Fall in all its glory....

Squash: Gracie's, Providence

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The original player in the Washington Street restaurant revival, Gracie's is one of our favorite all-time dining spots in Providence. You can always count on well-prepared local food that allows the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine. We picked a dish here that features local butternut squash as a lush, earthy flavor to accompany a couple of our favorite tastes: Bomster scallops and pork belly. It's the best version of "scallops wrapped in bacon" you've never had. 194 Washington St. 272-7811, www.graciesprovidence.com

Pumpkin: Bacaro, Providence

Like the changing of the leaves, you can always count on Bacaro for taking the flavors of the season and making them shine. Every year we make a fall pilgrimage--you know, after we eat the wonderful corn dishes they feature all summer long--to taste the grilled pizza with pumpkin and spicy oil. There is something about the rich, slightly sweet flavor of the pumpkin accented by spicy oil that warms us all over. We usually enjoy a few selections from the Italian tapas menu and the pizza with a glass of wine. Pretty perfect. 262 South Water St. 751-3700, www.bacarorestaurant.net

Shellfish: The Mooring, Newport

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So the story goes, the best shellfish is harvested in months that end in "R"...Something about the cold water adding to the flavor of the fish the Well, here we are, smack dab in the middle of high season for local shellfish. Where better to enjoy this bounty than on the waterfront in Newport at the Mooring. Sidle up to the bar and enjoy some oysters and littlenecks on the half shell. Don't douse them with too much lemon or other accompaniments; the Mooring's shellfish is super-fresh and should be enjoyed as "naked" as possible for optimal flavor. Cozy up in a sweater and park yourself on the deck -- the perfect place to view a fall sunset. 1 Sayer's Wharf, 846-2260, www.mooringrestaurant.com

Apples: XO Cafe, Providence

One of the best new chefs in Providence is one you may not have heard of. His name is Martin Lyons and he plies his trade at the venerable XO Cafe. Having come from some of the city's top kitchens, Lyons has raised the game at XO with creative, sometimes complex, and always delicious dishes. Chef Marty has a barbecue brined pork dish that features the flavor of pickled apples. The fruit retains the look and feel of traditional apples after the pickling process, but it adds a depth of flavor that had us dying for more. The perfectly braised red cabbage and mustard demi-glace didn't hurt either. 125 North Main St. 273-9090, www.xocafe.com

Carrots: New Rivers, Providence

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One of the grandaddys of the seasonal food approach in Providence is the iconic New Rivers. Almost since day one, they have helped Providence raise its food game. We actually love New Rivers more in fall and winter. The rich flavors highlighted by Chef Beau Vestal are on full display this time of year. We held out for a favorite local fish, fluke, and found it all pulled together with an exceptional carrot vinaigrette. The flavor of the carrots was a star and very unexpected. We imagine it would be good on just about anything. Bonus points for the little carrots served with the roast chicken. 7 Steeple St. 751-0350, www.newriversrestaurant.com


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