Rhode Island’s Top 5 Gourmet Restaurant Experiences

Thursday, October 10, 2013


There are certain foods and experiences that are game-changers for diners. When you have these, it forever alters your culinary landscape. We picked 5 quintessential foods or experiences and found some tasty examples right here in the Ocean State...

Tableside Cooking, Capriccio, Providence

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There a few old-school classics that are still cool after all these years. One of these is tableside cooking. In classic European restaurants, having a skilled dining room captain cook for you at your table is commonplace. Most of the flambé dishes you know--crepe Suzette, cherries jubilee, steak Diane--all originated as tableside dishes. In Providence, you can still count on Capriccio for classic tableside preparations. The steak Diane features a thinly-pounded filet mignon sautéed to your ideal temperature and flamed with brandy. Finish with the crepe Suzette, where freshly-made crepes are flambéed with Grand Mariner and orange zest. Delish. 2 Pine St. 421-1320, www.capriccios.com

Foie Gras, Persimmon, Bristol

You can always count on Persimmon to be on the list when we're talking good food. Chef Champe Speidel continues to be among the best chefs in the region and with good reason...his food is thoughtful and elegant. His plates are clean and his flavors refined. Part of this is an omnipresent foie gras dish that, although it changes form, always dazzles. Foie gras is the rich and silky fattened liver of a duck. When cold it's almost like butter; when seared it becomes rich and takes on the sweet flavors that usually accompany it. Speidel's late summer version has two versions...one hot and one cold. Whatever the preparation, you can count on a perfectly prepared dish! 31 State St. 254-7474, www.persimmonbristol.com

Craft Cocktails, The Grange, Providence

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Although a sort of newcomer to the West Side, The Grange has deep roots in the local dining scene. The same team behind the city's first health food restaurant and bakery -- the Garden Grille and Wildflour Bakery -- has opened a high end vegetarian restaurant. The Grange is also one of the best spots to grab a craft cocktail in Providence. They recently won the cocktail contest for Cocktail Week in Providence. We fell in love with the Kingsfoil. Edinburgh gin, BareHoney Liqueur, yellow Chartreuse, lime and bee pollen combine for a perfect drink. 166 Broadway, 831-0600, www.providencegrange.com

Artisanal Cheese, Farmstead, Providence/Le Petit Gourmet, Newport

One from the current capital...one from the original capital. Farmstead has everything a good cheese shop should have: passionate, knowledgeable staff serving delicious, hard-to-find cheeses. The passion that the Jennings' have poured into this shop is obvious. The selections are always interesting and the staff will guide you to a cheese that fits your tastes. The same can be said for Newport's Le Petit Gourmet. Maria Chiancola has set up a terrific shop with more cool cheeses for you to try. A recent selection was aged in the mashed grapes from Prosecco. So it naturally would pair well with this sparkling wine. Pretty cool! 186 Wayland Ave. 274-7177, www.farmsteadinc.com 26 Bellevue Ave. 619-3882, www.newportwinecellar.com

Edible Flowers, The Dorrance, Providence

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One of the recent food trends is the use of just-picked herbs and flowers as part of the overall dish. Forget about the curly mound of parsley on the side of your plate. Top restaurants are all about the purity of seasonal ingredients. At the Dorrance, Chef Massimilano Mariotta has taken the farm-to-table movement one step further...he owns his own farm. Each day he picks the leaves and buds that will become a part of the day's dishes. When something is no longer in season, it simply goes away. No confusion there. Chef Mariotta works in whatever is fresh that day to his menu to near perfection. The simple becomes sublime...and that's what it's all about. 60 Dorrance St. 521-6000, www.thedorrance.com 


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