Best Bets For Providence Restaurant Weeks 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013


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We love Restaurant Weeks. This simple idea allows diners to get out and try new places or revisit old favorites. The Providence Warwick Convention and Visitor's Bureau has designated July 7th through 20th for this summer's version. We all know the deal by know: a three-course prix fixe lunch for $14.95 and a three-course prix fixe dinner for $29.95. We set out to find 5 good bets for you to try this year and came back with these...

Hemenway's, Providence

One of the originators of the Providence dining scene, Hemenway's has been reborn in recent years. Since the talented team behind the Newport Restaurant Group took over, this spot has seen a resurgence. These guys know service and professionalism and we are the beneficiaries of all that experience. We love this place for everything from a quick lunch at the bar to a special occasion dinner. For Restaurant Weeks, you can visit for either. For lunch, check out the fish and chips for a pretty perfect version of the classic. Dinner features perfectly seared George's Bank scallops with local veggies. At both lunch and dinner the landlubber is covered -- with local chicken at dinner and a Creekstone Farms burger at lunch. For dessert, the house white chocolate mousse is our fave. As always, start at the raw bar for a tantalizing selection of local shellfish and a glass of wine before dinner. 121 South Main St. 351-8570,

Parkside Rotisserie, Providence

We are big fans of Parkside. They've been serving consistently good food for a long time and its only gotten better since the re-opening post-fire. That break also gave us time to miss them! We love this spot for lunch. Dinner is awesome too but you can't beat sitting at the bar and letting our favorite bartender, Mike, take care of you. The Asian salad was tasty and interesting--like most of their salads--but we really loved the Asian dumplings. The mixture of sauces--orange/spicy mustard/sweet soy--all are delicious. The lemon/garlic rotisserie chicken is true Parkside. Juicy and flavorful, it was spot-on. We also liked the panini, with an interesting pear syrup that added a nice sweetness to the salty prosciutto and creamy mozzarella. The featured dessert is a cheesecake with a peach compote. 76 South Main St. 331-0003,

Local 121, Providence

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Local 121 has been a part--with Gracie's and among others, of course--of the food revival currently going on on Washington Street in Providence. Along this stretch, there is a cool selection of new cafes and bars and restaurants. Local 121 has held down their spot here admirably. Using local ingredients to perform their magic has been their modus operandi from day one. For Restaurant Weeks, we love the dinner menu selections. They have two different menus-- one running each week--of tasty, local goodness. The Rhode Island Clam Hush Puppy was flavorful and had a nice piece of house bacon alongside it. We really liked the duck meatball with ricotta cavatelli; the Arugula puree fools you into thinking it's pesto--but it's so much more. The Olive Oil Cake was at first interesting and challenging but ultimately won us over. The local strawberry preserves were just the right accompaniment. 121 Washington St. 274-2121,

d.Carlo Trattoria, Smithfield

The reach of the Providence Warwick C.V.B. goes all the way to Smithfield, as d.Carlo Trattoria gets in on the Restaurant Weeks excitement. Always a reliable spot for good food in the northern end of the state, d.Carlo serves upscale Italian food at reasonable prices. They are doing interesting things at both lunch and dinner (but note that they are not offering the Restaurant Weeks menu on Saturday night). Both meals feature the minestrone soup that has been a staple since day one. It wasn't really "soup weather" outside when we tried it, but it was good nonetheless. The standout for us was the braised pork shank. The acid in the watermelon radish salad cut the richness of the pork and the bacon cheddar risotto. There only needs to be one dessert here: the tiramisu. It is a very good rendition of the this classic dessert. 970 Douglas Pike, 349-4979,

XO Cafe, Providence

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One of the crown jewels of the Chow Fun Food Group, XO Cafe is one of our favorites in Providence. The chef, Martin Lyons, has worked at local faves Nick's on Broadway and Loie Fuller. These stops helped him mold his vision: food that isn't just seasonal, it makes you think. It's classic but slightly twisted, and always delicious. He features a different menu each week of Restaurant Weeks--so you can visit both weeks. The roasted corn bisque we tried was divine, the chili oil adding a nice kick. The standout was the cod, with a summer succotash that was crisp and fresh, and the cucumber vinaigrette had us licking the plate. Week two features Lyons' sweet corn fritters, which are huge favorites of ours. 121 North Main St. 273-9090,


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