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Public Kitchen and Bar Review (Providence)

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Went here twice now, before a show at the Vets and a movie. Very pleasantly surprised. First time, I started the meal with a frise salad that was excellent. BItterness of the greens was offset by bits of bacon and cheese and other things I can't remember. Long story short - perfectly balanced, not overly dressed and fresh salad. For the entree I got a trio of tacos - fish, pork and beef. Very tasty, I like the variety in one meal, and a good price point. For drinks I ordered an "Argyll" Manhattan (because they use scotch and bourbon whisky). It was very well made. Service was just fine as well, and I also like the decor (less clubby and more intimate/casual than when it was Temple restaurant - it's in the Renaissance Hotel). I will be back again. The menu is well constructed with full size entrees, small plates and apps. Prices are reasonable and the chef seems to care. Definitely recommended.

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  1. Great review! Will need to check it out.

    1. Public Kitchen has been on my backburner for a while, and after your review, I think it may finally be time to check it out. Menu variety and an enthusiastic chef are always essential, and even from the dark days of Temple, that restaurant space was really quite nice.

      Unfortunately, I'm beginning to feel a little "farm fresh pub grub" fatigue. When I initially checked out the menu at Public, it sort of blended together with other elevated comfort food options in my mind. It looks like the new Rogue Island Kitchen and Bar in the Arcade is going after the same niche (even the name is very similar!) I like eating that style of food as much as the next person, but I also find myself looking for something a little different. Maybe that's why I've been so enamored of The Grange and North recently. Forgive the digression. On second glance, however, the menu at Public Kitchen does seem quite appealing. If it's also well-executed, it's definitely worth a visit in the new year.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RhodyRedHen

        I like that, "farm fresh pub grub fatigue."

        I'm live in the home of pub cuisine, and am equally sick of "modern-British" and "gastropub" monikers.

        Without criticism, North American pub restaurants have the absolutely most uninspired names. Public, as a name, is just so lacking in creativity I wonder how the food can possibly be anything but bog-standard.

        1. re: brokentelephone

          Agreed, I find the name "Public Kitchen & Bar" less than inspired and, perhaps, even somewhat unappetizing. It has a whiff of the cafeteria to me. It certainly sounds like that would be doing the food a serious disservice.

          Incidentally, referring to a restaurant as a "kitchen" seems to be a requirement of the gastropub concept. I'm truly baffled that there would be two restaurants in Providence, less than a mile away from each other, and both billing themselves as "Kitchen & Bar" (Public and Rogue Island). Over in Warren you have Chomp Kitchen & Drinks. Of course, Cook & Brown on the East Side actually bills itself as a "public house," but I find it perhaps the least pubby of all. Is a puzzlement!

          1. re: RhodyRedHen

            In Vancouver, Canada they're obsessed with the word 'urban.' Even the knitting shop my wife went to was called Urban Yarn. Restaurants include Urban Diner, Urban Pizza, Urban Fare, Urban Sushi, Urban Thai, Urban Tea. I think there is a pet store called Urban Puppy. It's ridiculous.