Red Stripe Providence disappointing
Went to Red Stripe for the first time last night. We had an 8:30 pm reservation - our party of 4 was seated promptly, in front of the open windows, which was nice.
Very busy and our server was noticeably harried. We were prepared to order an appetizer and were told that on Friday and Saturday nights, diners are supposed to order both appetizers and entrees at the same time. I was embarrassed in front of my guests - if you need to turn the table, fine, but you don't have to tell us in such a tactless way. We changed our minds about ordering appetizers, we were so turned off by our server.
Two of us ordered the so-called specialty of the house, the moules et frites. He had the Portuguese style with chorizo and I had the mariniere. We were both disappointed by the mussels - small, dried out, and the broth (which at other restaurants, I've been known to sop all up with bread) was too salty in both styles. Our companions had the everything but the kitchen sink salad with chicken (seemed fine - difficult to mess this one up) and the salmon, which was deemed okay, but it looked rather dry and overcooked to me. The accompanying latke looked tasty.
No beer on tap was disappointing - we were looking forward to a nice Belgian beer with our moules frites, but they didn't even have anything in bottles. I had a glass of Spanish white wine (crisp, but a little too young and tart) and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for the table (okay).
All in all, I felt like this is yet another over-hyped restaurant in the D'Oliveira empire.
I've had similar experiences (except I've been foolish enough to go a total of four times). Ordered the mussels twice and been disappointed twice. Around the same time period I had them at Incontro in Franklin MA and they were excellent (large & not dried out) - so I can't imagine the teeny dried out ones were all that was available at the time.
I posted about this a while back and I couldn't believe someone replied by basically saying that I was being too picky considering the prices. Huh? If that's my criteria I'll go to McDonalds and REALLY save some $$.
I've been twice. My first time, I thought it was only average. I ordered the salmon and it had no flavor. It was just a blah meal. The second time, I brought my parents because they were dying to try it and I was willing to give it a second chance. I had the pork tenderloin and it was excellent. My parents' meals were both excellent as well. I too found it strange that they had NO beers on tap. With its pub atmosphere, I would have expected a really good beer list. The place reminds me a little of Monks in Philadelphia and they have such an awesome beer list. I wouldn't put Red Stripe on my list of top ten Providence restaurants.
I'm sorry to hear you've all had such poor experiences. Perhaps I'm looking through rose colored glasses since I live in Wayland Square and think Red Stripe is great for the neighborhood, but I've really enjoyed by meals there. I definitely think the appetizers are the strength of the menu (I had an excellent cod-cake last time) although I've had some very good entres as well (the smoked tofu in particular).
I must say I agree about the service. The majority of the times I've been there my servers have been rushed and often brusque, especially as you get towards closing time. I think this is a problem they really need to address.
Garris, how do you like Twist? Although the interior's a bit dark for my taste, I much prefer the food (although I've sorta had it w/the other Pinelli places) to that at Red Stripe.
I like Twist a lot. I think it's very different than Red Stripe though, more whimsical, less serious. I'll certainly grant that the food at Twist is far more consistently high quality than the more hit and miss Red Stripe and that Twist's service is similarly predictable very good, although I vastly prefer Red Stripe's space...