New Restaurant - Rumford RI
Has anyone been to Nick Rabar's new place in Rumford?
I am planning on going this weekend but wanted to check here first.
re: Jennifer Luxmoore
We went recently to Avenue N and absolutely loved the food, but had serious reservations about the ambiance...
Food: Tomato bisque, Heirloom Tomato salad, and the Bass and Tuna fish dishes were all excellent. The bass I had was amazingly cooked, almost butter smooth.
Building: It's a great space. Nicely redone, vaulted ceilings, good detailing
Ambiance: The only problem. The bar in the center of the space has two huge (why 2 for such a small space?) televisions (showing baseball when we were there) and they DOMINATE the entire restaurant. They're absolutely impossible to ignore for anyone facing them in the restaurant space (half the seating). For those facing away from them, they're STILL impossible to ignore because they reflect in every window and every metallic and glass surface.
The music was the killer though. A kind of harder rock was playing, and playing far too loud for such a small space. I'm young(ish), I like rock, I like harder rock too - in my gym, or at a bar. But in such an impressive space, with such impressive food, with such delicate detailing (beautiful table flowers) it was too much.
In fact, the TV/music overwhelming everything (including the excellence of the food) is a crying shame because by the quality of the space and food, Avenue N deserves to be a huge hit. My dining companion was lukewarm about the idea of going back in the future because of the TV/music issue, however, and I can't blame her. It's not the "loudness" either. I love some other local loud places, like Siena, or Red Stripe, for example. Here, however, it feels all wrong.
Maybe they can do "dinner" ambiance until, say, 9:30 or 10, and then maybe switch to a more "bar" ambiance after? I hope so...
My family and I went for post-Thanksgiving dinner on Friday - two Boston/PVD hounds, my RIer parents and my NYer bro and SIL. We made a reservation for 7:30 pm. Our other plans fell through and I called to see if there was something earlier. Nothing. But then I get a call about 30 min later...the other party has canceled! How soon can you come? We're in Wickford...can you give us 30 min? Yes we can! GREAT! My parents definitely appreciated the earlier dinner and the rest of us were secretly happy to eat at 6:15 pm instead of 8 pm-ish. That level of customer service is wonderful. It's SO RI! I love it!
Room is smaller than I expected but we all found it charming and cozy, even the two Manhattanites! We weren't bothered by either the music or the TVs as Garris notes (in fact, B told me that we need to use Avenue N as a post-beach spot - grab seats at the bar with a Sox game and good food). Maybe they have turned down the music volume since Garris' visit? Our conversation was fine, even with two 70-ish folks in our party.
Friendly waiter Paul knew the menu. Started with fried calamari and fried oysters. Oysters won that show-down. I thought the calamari was just OK. A bit bland - more peppers would have helped and maybe some more salt in the batter? But the fry-job was perfect, both on calamari and oysters. We loved the whimsical oyster plating - presented back in the shells. SIL had the beet and arugula salad which our crowd seemed to like. Ditto on the butternut soup that my bro ordered. I didn't sample either.
Entrees were the short rib x 3, pork chop (ranked 1st by Paul and those in our party who sampled it concurred), the special scallop dish (mom raved) and the pumpkin ravioli (ordered by me - I worried about too much sweetness, but it wasn't at all....delicate and quite delicious). The short rib needed something by the ones who ordered it - we told Paul..maybe some greens or something to cut the richness.
The Huntington petite syrah was quite inexpensive and nicely spicy. $28 and we promptly got two bottles.
We had a great time talking, eating, and drinking! We will most definitely return.