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Providence, RI--Temple Downtown Restaurant?

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Anyone tried this yet? It's the new place in the Renaissance Providence Hotel that just opened in the old Masonic Temple next to the mall. I read that the chef used to cook for the Cheesecake factory, but this new place is high-price, so I wonder how that will work...

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  1. Oh I'm also dying to know about this as well....
    ANYONE?????

    1. I'm taking a party of 10 for Providence Restaurant Week - they have an ambitious menu, so it will be interesting to see...

      1 Reply
      1. re: GeekGirlGourmetRI

        We took a table of 11 for Friday night at 7:30 PM. From the looks of the restaurant, they got SLAMMED with way more patrons than expected. One cocktail was already 'out' for the night due to a lack of ingredients.

        While we didn't stay long, the lounge was fun and configurable. We were seated promptly, but could have used a quicker explanation of the Restaurant Week menu (divided into 3 sections for 'first course', a second section for 'main course').

        Everyone was happy with their appetizers, with the standout being the broccoli rabe & calamari, although the mushroom flat bread and stuffies were also good. The chopped onion salad had too few lettuce greens and the chowder was really bacon-y.

        Entrees took a little time to arrive, but also allowed for some extra beverage ordering and delivery. The standouts seemed to be the pork chop, the lobster pasta, and the mushroom risotto, with the salmon being the least inspiring dish. Points on the fish and chips for including fried lemon - a VERY tasty addition. Portion size was good, if uneven - pastas came with varying amounts of sauce, so one person got almost a full tail's worth of lobster, while another got much less.

        Desserts were all very tasty, including a proper berry shortcake (no poundcake here!) and the ridiculously over-chocolated cookie ice cream sandwich.

        Down sides - no actual dessert wine/port/apertif menu was offered. The sommelier described the two tawny ports as a '10 year' and a '20 year', but had to go check what ports they were. As it was, the 20 Year Quinto Noval was WAY overpriced, which we didn't discover until we got the bill. Service still need a little practice - water glasses weren't filled often, crumbs & empty glasses were slow to be cleared,

        Overall, I'd go back again. Would certainly do drinks & apps in the lounge, or another big party out. Unless you get one of the 'private' booths, I'd probably skip it for a romantic date night.

      2. A friend from work went this week and didn't like it. Nobody in their large group did (and one is a chef). She started her description by saying "the stuffies were dry..." OK, is it just me, or should the newest hippest restaurant in town not even be SERVING stuffies??

        I actually don't think it's high-priced (she didn't comment on that aspect, I think she was being treated).....yesterday's Projo food section had a review of sorts (not a full one) that talked about how reasonably priced it was.....entrees under $20.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JaneRI

          I went with two friends last week. We all loved it. None of us are chefs though, but I dont think that matters.

          They serve stuffies because their focus is serving high quaility local cuisine. Stuffies fit the bill. I live in Providence and I dont think many believe it to be the hippest restaurant in town. Certainly the newest...

          Its not high priced. It does have a slick NYC feel to the place, very beautifully done.

          The food in my opinion and my friends was very good.

        2. We stopped in Monday night for restaurant week (more details further down in the board). There were no standout dishes, but everything we had was good. I also thought that most of the portion sizes were generous. I can't say I would hurry back for dinner, but it has a nice hip atmosphere to hang out and have some appetizers and drinks.

          1. While I haven't been there yet, I thought all of the pre-opening press I was reading was focusing on how it *isn't supposed* to be a "fancy" restaurant (not a Gracies or Siena competitor) but more of a neighborhood medium/value priced place with locally sourced ingredients and some slick decor. I wasn't expecting high cuisine...

            From what I was reading, I was anticipating it would be more of a Tazza North than a L'Epicureo North...

            - Garris
            Providence, RI

            1. My husband and I had dinner at Temple Saturday night, we loved it. I am very fussy when it comes to eating out, I appreciate quality food. We started with calamari that came out exactly as we requested, all rings. It was tender, crispy and seasoned to perfection. We also had Heirloom tomatoes the were served just as they should be, slightly warm, and again seasoned in a way that did not over power the garden fresh taste. My entree, salmon, served over corn and fava beans had to be one of the best salmon dishes I've had out yet.Our sever described it as succulent and he was right. My husband had the tuna, he usually always gets tuna when we dine out, after tasting my entree he said he's getting the salmon next time. We also had the mushroom risotto for a side. It was by far the best risotto i've ever had, not only was it creamy and flavorfull it's vegetarian, made without chicken broth.
              The decor was not what I expected, it is nice, but the review in the prov. journal had me thinking it would be a bit more unique. We can't wait to go back, my husband wanted to go back two nights later for the calamari and salmon but i already had dinner made. We will be back this weekend though. Over all we were very pleased, our server was very nice and well informed, we liked the wine selection. we left full and satisfied.

              4 Replies
              1. re: susanz

                I ate lunch there today with some clients. The space is beautiful. Shiny black and white marble/tiles. Cool earthtone accent brick. Urbane graffitti (sp) murals. A huge bar.
                I took a walk around to see it all and would comment especially on the area after the bar where there are couches and ottomans as a great looking place for drinks and conversation.
                The "candles" that are repeated throughout the restaurant are cozy and interestingly placed. The curved entry stairway is dramatic and also partially "candle" lighted.
                Our booth was warm, windowed, and crescent shaped.
                The service was attentive and timely from an enthusiastic well groomed staff.
                The waiter's wine recommendation was perfect for me. My guests switched to it for their second glass.
                I dont understand the perceived problem with serving stuffies. They arrived (5 of them) stuffed into the full bivalve clam (not quahoag) shell. They were moist, full of clams, and nicely spiced. The brocolli rabe tempura was a new dish for me that was very interesting and fun. My lunch entree, the dirty steak frites, was an adequate portion for lunch. A very interesting touch was that it was served with an ample greens garnish/salad of sage, parsley and watercress. The frites were thin hot and deliciously salty. The steak was nicely seasoned and well done, as I had ordered it.
                The price point was what we have come to accept as moderate. Two appetizers, three entrees, 6 wines, and one coffee for $100.00.
                I will definitely return for dinner and hope that all of you readers do the same.

                1. re: providencediner

                  I always thought the Stuffies were good here too. Some of the better ones I have had.

                  Did not realize they were open for lunch, thanks.

                  1. re: providencediner

                    We were at Temple for dinner last night. Overall, we loved it. Nice space. Treacherous entrance from the side - curved black stone staircase in the dark was seriously challenging! And I am fairly well coordinated and athletic. Not for the shaky or already-drinking - better to enter through the hotel lobby via the elevator.

                    Food was mostly fantastic. We had the stuffies, liked a lot, concur with the above, and the rock shrimp johnnycakes, total home run! With some sausage-laden really terrific sauce. For entrees my husband had the steak with fried oysters, delicious, and I had the salmon on creamed corn. Lovely piece of fish and the corn was heavenly. We didn't like our side, the fiery potatoes, very boring. Didn't each much of it and the waiter took them off our bill - very nice, much appreciated. We had some cocktails, drinks, and dessert - I had the ice cream cake which was nice, fine, nothing spectacular but with a good not too sweet brownie crust. $140.00 or so.

                    Loved the place, service was terrific, had a great time, going back for sure.

                    1. re: jsd

                      Yes, I have to agree about the staircase. It gave me pause, literally, coming on to it from the bright lobby.

                2. FInally made it to temple. As stated many places, the decor is one of the highlights...it is definitely a unique space, especially the bar/lounge. The service was also quite good for a busy friday night. Unfortunately, the food was a mixed bag. We started with one of the flatbreads which was nice and crispy, though a bit bland. My wife then had the risotto which left a lot to be desired, the consistency and flavors just were not right. I had the fish and chips, which were a bit small portion-wise but solid as expected. I think the space is great for a bar or a late night meal, but in terms of dinner...there are other places we will definitely go back to before temple.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: 02903

                    I met up w/friends this past Friday night, they were coming from their dinner at Temple. A resounding "awful!" was the consensus (3 people).

                    1. re: JaneRI

                      I also went with friends Friday night. Everything was pretty good to great.

                      To start we had the Stuffies, a platter of 2 cheeses and a calabrese salame and one in our party had a caeser. Cheeses were rich and flavorful, salame was of high quality also very flavorful. Stuffie were hot, and filled with clams. Ceaser was very good.

                      For entrees we had the burger, a fish sandwich and the fish and chips.The fish was fresh, lightly breaded and perfectly fried. Burger was cooked a little more than preferred, but still juicy.

                      Overall food was good, service was competent and the drinks were made well. I am trying to understand why people find this place "awful" Granted, I too found the flatbreead a bit bland my first time there so I dont order it. I hardly ever order risotto out either due to less than stellar results at a lot of places. Temple seems to be great for basic food in a nice atmosphere.

                      1. re: basachs

                        As to your question, just a guess, but maybe the variability in folks' experiences at Temple derives from their expectations and what they ordered. The entrees your party ordered (a burger, fish chips and a fish sandwich) can be had at most neighborhood pubs. They are also at the bottom end of Temple's price point. Maybe the less than stellar reviews are coming from folks who have sampled the rest of Temple's menu, most of which is around he $20.00. It could be that Temple manages the routine pub food fine, but struggles with more upscale fare like the skate, the lamb shank or the rissotto.

                        1. re: Frobisher

                          It certainly makes sense. I have ordered some of the pricier items and found them to be very well executed though.

                          Quality though has never been an issue for me, even on the lower priced entrees. This is what I think seperates Temple from a lot of neighborhood pubs.

                          I guess I want to have a bad meal here so I get the "awfulness" of it all! :)

                          1. re: basachs

                            I haven't been so I do not speak from personal experience. This thread is the *only* place I've heard a single good thing about the place....not one person I know "in real life" has anything good to say about it.

                        2. re: basachs

                          They didn't get very specific - we had lots to chat about that night, and the conversation turned to something else w/out me pumping them for information (I recall them saying the risotta was downright terrible, and that an inexp goat cheese/portabello appie was the best thing that night, very tasty - don't recall what else they said).

                          I've got to go back to my orig post on this place....if the menu is full of stuff like burgers, fish & chips and stuffies...what is the draw? Especially for someone coming from outside the city, who won't be walking there and has to pay for valet parking?

                          Could just be a thing w/me as I happen to think stuffies suck....rubbery clams and overseasoned mushy bread crumbs is all I've ever tasted.

                    2. I've been there twice now, and the first time was good, and the second time it really wasn't. The first time, I had the beet salad which was very good, then the roast chicken dish. The chicken part was good, but I didn't care for the sausage and peppers underneath. It seemed sloppy and not well executed. For dessert, I had the cookies with homemade gelato, and that was also excellent. I guess, how bad can you mess up cookies and gelato. The second time, I started with the crab cake. It was full of crab meat, and didn't have much flavor other than that which might be a good thing to some people. The baked beans it was served on were delicious. For an entree, I had the angry lobster bucatini (sp?). It was really bad. Not spicy at all. I could have found a better arrabiatta sauce in the grocery store. There was lots of lobster meat, but the sauce made even that taste bad. For dessert, I had the brownie cheesecake, and it was stale or something. Not good. I should have saved my calories. I think I will stick to drinks at the bar from now on.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sap115

                        aha! You refreshed my memory on a couple of things! They had the crab cakes....does the menu state served over baked beans? They were not happy, felt the combo made no sense. One had the lobster/pasta dish that you mention but she complained it was so spicy-hot it was inedible. Now I'm curious....have they turned up the heat in response to complaints....or is she a spice-wimp? Hmmmm.