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Jun 3, 2008 08:41 AM

Rick's Roadhouse - Providence

Went with my wife Satuday night. Sat in the bar area. Loved it! Reminded me very much of a bar in Austin that was converted from a gas station. Both used the old garage doors as part of the design of the bar. Very cool. The big doors open up and give you easy access to the bar area or the outdoor area, which is set up with some picnic tables.

For food, got a bowl of Chili and split a sampler appetizer plater. The chili was excellent. Best restaurant chili I have ever had. Maybe even as good as mine ; ) Don't miss it if you are a big chili fan (it is traditional, so no beans).

2 of the 3 items on the app platter were very good (texas egg rolls, steak on a stick) but the chicken wings were very sad. Soggy. Yuck. Beer selection was good, and the margarita was very tasty. Prices are very reasonable. Really was impressed. So much better than Big Fish, which was here previously.

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  1. Good to know. I'm planning a girls night out here in a couple of weeks. I heard there were pool tables as well, correct?

    1. Is it run by different owners? I went to happy hour at Big Fish a year or two ago and had some great happy hour priced appetizers and a wonderful sangria. We ordered up a storm and were overall pleased, just a miss or two, but at those prices, who cared?

      I would never think to order Chili in a restaurant, especially an East Coast one. Is that the big thing there?

      2 Replies
      1. re: coconutz

        Yes, same owners as Big Fish. Not sure if chili is "the big thing", but it rocked. I would almost never get chili in a restaurant, because they are usually so bad, but they said the recipe was an award winning one, from some big contest somewhere, and the winner is a realtive of the the owners of Rick's, so he gave them the recipe. If they only served it with a nice big piece of homemade cornbread then you could make a meal out of it.

      2. First visit to Rick's for lunch. Was never a fan of Big Fish but thought we'd try this new Elkhay venture. A mistake. Had the nachos with pulled pork-- basic out of a bag chips (half are those weird dyed red type), maybe 2 oz of cheese, a few jalepenos and less than 3 oz overly sweet pulled pork (pork adds an additional $1.50 to the price- not worth it). This would have been ok bar food but for the nachos being lukewarm and congealing as they hit the table.

        On to a fried fish sandwich and Buffalo chicken sandwich. Unidentifiable fish was entombed in way too much greasy (really greasy) batter/panko breading to be tasty. Picked off the square of unmelted american cheese. Really bland overall. Chicken portion was laughable-- pounded absurdly thin-- no way this was even 4oz of meat. Also remarkably bland. Onion rings were atrocious-- definately prepackaged food service supply grade. Didn't eat all of any of it. $29 for a lousy lunch.

        I guess I'd forgive some of this had the place been packed but we were one of only three occupied tables in the place. Service was attentive. Perhaps we should have gone for the ribs, however, a restaurant that's willing to use prepackaged food for some things doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. And that sickly sweet pulled pork is not something I want to revisit. LJ's and the roadhouse place in Attleboro are better, imho

        1. we went last night before waterfire,and yes the chili is really pretty much of a chili snob,as in ,i really only like the chili that i make,but ricks was really better half got the pulled pork sandwich,that was pretty much average,though the onion rings were better then average.i went for the brisket plate,which was really good,on the 1 to Lockhart ,Texas 10 scale,id give it a 7.5,which means ill be back,alot.the sides of beans were good too,as was the slaw.and they do have a great beer selection,im loving that lieninkogel sunset wheat beer this summer,in 3 sizes,which is a good thing.the bourbon list looked nice,as did the drink specials.all in all,we really liked the place too,good prices,friendly staff,nice seating options,bar,lounge,picnic tables out front,and a good size dining room,and great bbq.

          1. I am late in reporting...we took my parents there for Father's Day. Rather disappointed in the food, but we'll be back for apps, beer, Sox game, and darts. B (former UT Austin) rather cautiously ordered the "Austin-style" chicken and beef fajitas. They were just okay and this is coming from a guy who will eat and enjoy almost anything. He did like the cheap 22oz Magic Hat on tap. Mom had fish and chips, which was probably the best dish of the four dishes. Fries were quite good. Fish was, I think, panko crusted (I didn't taste as Mom looked like she was enjoying it)? Dad had the pulled pork entree, which was pretty skimpy looking. It was served on bread, so I don't know if they accidentally gave him the sandwich portion. I had the Bayou crab cake - blech. All mushy filler, crab was imperceptible. Do not order this dish if you have had anything resembling "real," MD-style crab cakes. Presentation of the dishes was also overall not very appetizing. When our dishes were plopped down in front of us, (nice server, but like most RI places, polish at all) I noted that all the dishes looked pallid and a little depressing. They all came with sides, like cole slaw (ok), rice and beans, collard greens (inedibly salty and I think it had ham even though I asked). Cheap wine by the glass (~$5) helped some.

            6 Replies
            1. re: digga

              "pallid and a little depressing."

              Yep, that sums up my experience perfectly!

              1. re: GSM

                Unfortunately, every Elkhay restaurant I've eaten at (Big Fish, XO, Citron) have been vastly disappointing considering the unusual hype they get. I haven't been to "Rick's" and probably won't.

                To my eyes, Elkhay's places put a premium on sizzle, but really offer no substance. This is shameful as he promotes himself as a great chef. Maybe he is, but it certainly isn't reflected in the staff he hires, both in the kitchen and on the floor. Woeful, really.

                1. re: Rhody Dave

                  I agree completely Rhody_Dave. It miffs me a bit that so much of Providence's much-touted restaurant scene is taken up by Elkhay's flashy ventures. Between Pinelli and Chow Fun and all the steakhouse chains, we're really overrun by corporate restaurants.

                  1. re: GSM

                    GSM you've got to look a little harder! Providence , for me has a plethora of independents. For starters eat your way up Broadway towards Olnyville, starting at Broadway bistro and ending @ Nick's on Broadway you will be pleased.

                    1. re: Ichewonthis

                      Oh I certainly know the independents are out there (I've lived in Prov for years) and I frequent them often. I just think it's a shame that so many corporate run places have taken over the scene.

                      1. re: Rose125

                        Count me in with RhodyDave and GSM - I am not a fan of Elkhay's restaurants either. Years ago when he had InProv, he seemed to know what he was doing and success hadn't gone to his head yet. In the past 15 years or so, he has become the "RI celebrity chef" (seems like the ProJo and their spin-off RI MONTHLY just can't give him enough praise every time he sneezes) and the 'fame' has definitely gone to his head.

                        As Rhody Dave said - all sizzle and no substance. However, I think people are catching on to this.