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Sep 11, 2008 09:32 AM

Dinning in Providence

It seems that this has been the summer of sustainable farming. In the past few weeks, we have dined at Fore St. in Portand, Somewhere North of Broad Street in Charleston, SC and Blue Dock Tavern in Washington DC All of them focusing on local ingredients and all three of them with open kitchens in the dining room (all three were just fine in their own unique way). We will be in Providence in a few weeks. What's the current scene in Providence that we should check out.

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  1. Local 121 is dead on in concept, and, at times, well off the mark in execution.

    I would look at Chez Pascal, Gracies and New Rivers, which also happen to be my 3 favorites in the city. All have a focus, to varying degrees, on using locally sourced ingredients when possible. If you do a search on this board, you'll find each discussed at length.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Frobisher

      I agree 100%, but would also add La Laiterie to the list.

      1. re: Frobisher

        I have been to all four of these restaurants in the past month.

        New Rivers, which has always been one of my favorites, was disappointing this time around. The restaurant was extremely loud and the food just not up to their normal standard - maybe a bad night in the kitchen?

        Chez Pascal was great but, as mentioned elsewhere, the service was slow and we had to flag down the waiter a few times. The food however, was excellent.

        Local 121 missed the mark on some of the food and the service was less than attentive.

        Gracie's excelled in every area - food and service.

        Knowing that any place can have a bad night, I don't think you can go wrong with any of these places.

      2. if your willing to drive 10 or 20 minutes,theres a couple of great places that are what youve described nearby.Persimmon in Bristol is great,awesome seasonal menu,no open kitchen,but its so tiny you feel like your almost in the kitchen,or at least very very close.the other is the Back Eddy in westport,mass.,once owned by chris schleshinger,and still just as great,using only local ingediences,open kitchen and all.its a few more miles,but its pretty much a perfect seaside experience in the perfect setting.

        1. You might want to forgo dessert at wherever you do eat and then head over to Pastiche(sp?) on Federal Hill. Tiny, but delightful

          10 Replies
          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

            thanks all. will check them all out. if you have time for only one meal, which one would be on top of the list.

            1. re: martyl9

              La Laiterie or New Rivers. Have not yet been to Persimmon but have heard rave reviews from people who I trust.

              1. re: dagwood

                Persimmon would get my vote. It's my favorite restaurant in the state -- hands down.

                1. re: frobb

                  I don't have an opinion on Persimmon one way or another. I have never been, but have heard great things. However, I do want to clarify for for the OP that Bristol is in no way a 10 minute drive from Providence - more like a half and hour.

                  I should have included La Laiterie in my original response. But I would also add a caveat. The space is tiny and they don't take reservations. This can lead to a long wait. Other than the cheese shop next door or the bookstore around the corner there is no good place to wait if the weather doesn't cooperate (they do have a small bar, but it is usually occupied by diners who did not want to wait for a table - like me)

                  As to New Rivers, Gracies and Chez Pascal, I like them all for different reasons. All have websites, I would check them and see if one seems more appealng to you.

                  FWIW, my quick takes on those three are as follows:

                  New Rivers is intimate and romantic. The service is good without seeming fancy. It is the place I take my in-laws who are the polar opposite of foodies and would be misreable if I took them somewhere them deemed too high falutin.

                  Gracies has perhaps the best service in the city and wonderful food. It has more of a "night in the city" or "expense account meal" feel than New Rivers or Chez Pascal. I end up at Gracies more with friends or my brother.

                  The best meals I have had in the city have been at Chez Pascal (but again only by a nose vis a vis Gracies and New Rivers). The atmosphere is more formal than New Rivers but less so than Gracies. It is where I take my folks.

              2. re: martyl9

                I've never been to Gracie's, and I like ll of the restaurants mentioned, but Chez Pascal has blown me away every time I go. They serve meticulous, flawless food every time. In particular, the housemade charcuterie is masterful, the onion soup is the best I've had by a long shot, the house duck confit is also the best I've ever had, salads are usually interesting and lively... I could go on and on... And while it's true that it's a bit more formal than New RIvers or La Laiterie, it's far from stuffy, just a little staid. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

                1. re: celeriac

                  wow, i am truely impressed with the detail of the recomendations. all of you have certainly been helpful. we will repot back on our experience.

                  1. re: celeriac

                    I love Chez Pascal's food, but the service is something else. Recently I went with my wife for a special dinner. We were seated promptly for our reservation and watered. 15 minutes go by and no one came by to take a drink order, tell us they will be right there, give us a nod from the other end of the room, anything...

                    So we got up and went over to the hostess, who never even looked up from her phone conversation for 3 more minutes. My wife and I looked at each other and realized this was the way the tone was going to be for the whole meal, and walked out. We went to Gracie's where we had an excellent meal/service.

                    It bums us out because we do really like Chez Pascal, but now have been burned...

                    1. re: basachs

                      don't understand, isn't a restaurant a servie business. thanks for the current update

                      1. re: basachs

                        Wow. I've never had an experience anything like that at CP.

                        1. re: celeriac

                          Either have we...I sent a letter to them, hopefully will get a response.

                2. Having just eaten at Gracie's last night, I highly recommend it. Everyone thought our meal was spot on with preparation, presentation, and flavor. Service was excellent as well.

                  And I really, really liked the pan seared Gnocchi I had.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kaszeta

                    Citron also focuses on local ingredients products, which I mention just for completeness (it isn't the ONE place you should go if here for a night). They're generally very uneven. I've had fabulous meals and service there some nights, and outright bad examples of both other nights...