Local 121 - Providence
I have read all of the very mixed reviews on Local 121 here, but a friend and I are still going to try it for ourselves on Saturday night. Has anyone been recently? I saw the review on Tomato Soup tonight and was disappointed, and am confused at how the ProJo review could be so stellar.
Does anyone have any recommendations for some of the better dishes that I should try?
The restaurant is beautiful, so if you keep your choices simple and your expectations low, you may still have a great time. For lunch, the burger was great, for example. I'd hope their food would improve as more local food becomes avaiable in the summer--let's hope that's right.
Please post on your experience--maybe they're getting their act together.
as has been voiced on this board in the past, there is not a single print media source in providence that publishes critical reviews. i take a certain cynical glee in bill rodriguez's unfailing glowing reviews each week in the phoenix. I have literally never read a negative review there or in the projo. they're advertising sections. it's insane.
Celeriac, I totally agree with you about projo reviews. Rhode Island Monthly's reviews often take a much more critical approach. I remember reading this one on Local 121 a number of months ago. It echoes many of the problems people on this board have had with the restaurant.
Totally agree, and have posted it on another topic recently-----the restaurant reviews are like comedy. They're ads for the restaurants. It's so Rhode Island (and not in a good way) because of course you know the handful of reviewers have got to get Da Special Treatment when they dine out.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way----I've been ranting about it for years.
Here's our experience, dating about a month ago: a major culinary disappointment. The photos on their website are so enticing, and more so yet, the descriptions about their concept. But most of each dish we ordered remained in the plate, failing to please our palates. The smelts appetizer was enormous but more problematic yet it was so spicy that even for one who enjoys that degree of heat, it was excessive heat. And for the one at our table who is not keen on "spicy" food, the waitress profusely assured us that it was just a touch of spiciness but nothing to worry about. Completely un-true. The goat cheese tart entree looked like an appetizer plate -- and it really lacked salt and essential flavor. Their infamous scallops were overdone and the mixture beneath it smelled anythying but appetizing. How can one ruin good ingredients? Too much fuss over them, probably. And the apple crostata did not taste fresh and yummy.
Decor: interesting, but the rest?
As for the review in the media i think it's fair to say most of us on here on the Board won't listen to them :-)
Part of the answer to the mystery as to how this restaurant, which seems to have so much potential and so much work was put into the space, is so bad is who the owner is - the very same man who owns Trinity Brew House. For those who love good beer, avoid Trinity - they make the equivalent of what you could probably make at home with a kit. Thin, tasteless, beer.
When we went, our entree's were lovely. I had sea bass, I believe, and it was perfectly cooked and delicious. My husband had scallops, and they were also divine. The appetizers (I believe it was some sort of Sam Adams Cheese thing, and a corned beef thing), were terrible, the beatiful, fresh (this was in October) salad greens were swimming in dressing and you could taste nothing else, and the desserts were eh, at best. I, for one, still have hope for them. Maybe we'll try them again in the summer.
Great space, very uneven food... I've often ordered the same dishes and what will be tasty and appealing one night will be bland and unremarkable the next time there...
I agree with the above voiced opinions... Go for the great space and great vibe and acceptable food, but keep the expectations low... It's a shame, because if the food were a slam dunk, it would be a local institution overnight.
Oh, and about local reviews? As mentioned above and discussed often here, there is NO single critical source in town... Not one. Here (and the restaurant topic board on providence.urbanplanet.org) are the *only* places you're going to find honest opinions. I've heard from no less than people involved in the food business in town that the market here and "food community" here is just too small to ever allow for honest reviewing. It's just too incestuous. The restaurants need the media for the exposure, and the restaurants are huge revenue for the media outlets. They're too co-dependent.
I've heard Providence restaurants are now listed in the Zagat rankings in the "Boston" section. Has anyone looked at them online? How accurante are the ratings? I always found Zagat rankings dead-on for NYC and Minneapolis/St.Paul.
To follow up - a report from last night:
As has been reported, what a fantastic space. Both the bar and dining room were so unique, and the dining room was much smaller than I expected.
My friend got lost on the way and the manager took the time to get on the phone with her and direct her there. Very nice of her to do.
We each had the arugula salad (delicious, fresh and nicely done), and we split the jar of pickes and the cheese platter. The cheese was delicious and the garnishes tasty as well. The pickled vegetables were good but not my favorite of the night.
We split the pasta special (cream sauce, parmigiano, broccolini and red pepper flakes). We both enjoyed it greatly. The kitchen was also nice enough to split the dish on two plates ahead of time for us.
We skipped the dessert but would like to try it next time. The service was also good; the courses arrived with good timing and we did not have to wait for drinks or water refills.
I will definitely be back. Thanks to everyone for your recommendations!