Blue Elephant on Wickenden in Providence
I'm killing for not writing this up earlier, but I wanted to give some advanced praise for the newest restaurant on Wickenden Street, The Blue Elephant. The restaurant doesn't open officially until Monday, but my friends were lucky enough to have this restaurant do a little "trial run" for their rehearsal dinner on Friday night.
They made a special menu for us, so I don't know how much of this is going to make it onto the actual menu, but here is a short description of what we had:
Appetizer: a crab cake with a sort of sweet salsa with capers, along with 3 mushrooms stuffed with white beans and shrimp. The crab cake was good and not too greasy, and the mushrooms were to die for. I could have stopped there and been totally happy with the meal.
Soup: it was a thick, sweet carrot/apple/ginger soup with a tiny bit of cilantro and diced jalapeno on top. The spicy jalapeno was such a perfect mix with the sweeter soup, and kept it from maybe being too bland.
Salad: spring mix with a wonderful balsamic dressing, sweet walnuts, and little goat cheese balls with herbs.
Dinner: We had a choice of scallops on top of a sweet potato cake, or citrus chicken over wild rice. I had the chicken, but I tried some of the scallops and the sweet potato cake, and I wish I had ordered that instead! In my opinion, the chicken was just a little bland. Not bad, but just not anything too exciting. The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the sweet potato "cake" was delicious.
Dessert: Amazing. It was a sort of tart or pancake baked with thinly sliced apples on top and then covered with blackberries, blueberries, powdered sugar, and drizzled with a brown sugar cinnamon sauce. It was the perfect ending to the night, because it was light and sweet and not too heavy at all. I only got one picture of the evening, and of course it was my dessert: <a href="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2416/1...>
I looked over their menu, and it looks to be a lot of breakfast and lunch food. If it's served up with the same presentation and taste as everything we had at dinner, I'm sure they will do well.
We just went there for lunch today and I had mixed feelings. I got the Philly Twister which is a pastrami sandwich with sauteed mushrooms, onions, swiss cheese and dijon mustard. It tasted delicious, but I have to say it was very thin for a $7.50 sandwich that only came with a tiny scoop of cole slaw and a sad looking pickle spear (we're talking a Vlassic straight out of the jar) - plus they were out of rye bread (?!) so I had to get it on wheat.
Hubby had the bare knuckle sandwich which is Roast beef and ham, cheddar cheese, spinach leaf, fresh green apple slice and honey-mayo. They forgot the cheese and again, he felt it was on the scrawny side for the price though he agreed that it tasted very good. He chose potato salad with his, I tasted it and it was very...cooler tasting if that makes sense. He said it had too much "other stuff" (apple, celery, dill) and that overwhelmed the potato-ness.
Maybe I'm spoiled by Red Stripe, where I can barely get my mouth around the sandwich for like $1.00 more (plus bushels of frittes) but when the sandwiches came out it almost looked like two slices of toast stacked on each other - that's how skimpy the inside was.
I'm back to defend this lovely new addition to Providence eating out. My roommate and I went there for breakfast this morning, and it was probably the nicest brunch experience I've had in Providence. You know how Julians and Brickway can become giant echo chambers? You can't hear the conversation going on at your table and it's hard (for me at least) to enjoy a good meal when all I can hear are other people's conversations. The Blue Elephant has solved this problem by having two smaller dining areas. The atmosphere is so calming, and just what I want to sooth my nerves after a late night out.
As far as food goes, I think Breakfast will really be this restaurant's forte. My roommate had a dish which was essentially homefries, covered with poached eggs and their Mexicali Holly (Hollandaise sauce with salsa), with three "add ins". She got salmon, avocado, and mushrooms. I tried a bite, and it was delicious. I'm a big fan of the Mexicali Holly now
I got the "Munch" omelette, which had sausage, spinach, potatoes, and sour cream inside. It was delicious, and exactly what I was in the mood for. The eggs were cooked perfectly (I've had a few breakfast experiences around town which included eggs that were not fully cooked), and the ingredients blended together very nicely.
If you've tried this place and were disappointed, I think it deserves a second chance. They've only been open a week, and I think they're still trying to work some kinks out, but I am totally sold on this place. I think it will be our brunch destination from now on.
That's why I said I had mixed feelings. I probably will give them another try once they've been open a while longer because I just loved the whole look and feel of the place (you are so right about the cozy little dining rooms) and the sandwiches did taste great - just on the slim side from the price.
I had dinner there on Saturday night and was very happy - a delicious tender chicken over angel hair....capers, olives, etc. My friend had a really nice pot roast w/veggies, which came w/a side of white rice. Only 4 dinner entrees to choose from (changes weekly) but you can always order burgers, sandwiches, quesadillas, etc. They also had tomato soup and grilled cheese.