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Everything posted by NewEnglandSteve

  1. I guess I don't need anything on the level of Anthony Bourdain eating a beating cobra heart... but I'd happily settle for an American vesion of Fergus Henderson's St John. I'd also love it if there was a restaurant in the area that featured some interesting molecular gastronomy. For a city like Providence with 927 red sauce Italian restaurants and 10 chain steakhouses... you'd think that there would be room for our own WD50.
  2. Excellent report. I can't wait for the next installment. I'll be spending most of September in Italy, so all this great info will come in very handy!
  3. Where in the Providence/Boston area do you go if you are looking for something different? Are there any restaurants that you can count on to find some exotic menu items(offal/exotic game etc. )I know Eastern Standard has offal on their menu. Any others that people count on when they feel adventurous?
  4. Persimmon gets my vote too. We've always had great experiences there.
  5. Great photos! Thanks so much for sharing them!
  6. Update: I emailed to John Elkay, the owner of XO Steakhouse (among other restaurants) regarding my experience. Within a couple of weeks I had received notes of apology from the bartender, the waiter, the chef, the manager and John Elkay himself. I also received a 100.00 gift card with a note urging me to give them another chance. I wish the night in question could have been salvaged but I certainly applaud JE and his staff for stepping up to make things right.
  7. My favorite is the chicken/lamb vindaloo. Next would have to be the chicken tikka masala, and the aachari chicken. They have the best garlic naan in the city too in. Wash it down with a nice mango lassi. Good stuff!
  8. I've been to Rasoi a couple of times since it opened. I've enjoyed it but have not been overwhelmed. I'm glad to have another option for Indian in the area, especially since the menu seems to be considerably different than what I'm used to. I still think Bombay Club is the best around.
  9. Chris, it was a Friday night. It was pretty busy when we got there but practically empty in the dining room when we were leaving. It really is no excuse whether it's busy or not. All the server had to do to salvage the evening was to improve from the point I pulled him aside. I'm most pissed that even though he had the opportunity to make things right he couldn't care less. Like most people on here, I work hard to be able to go out and have a nice dinner. It's pretty aggravating to have a restaurant take your business for granted when you choose them over all the other available options.
  10. How many things can a restaurant do to ruin my night? Let's count how many XO cafe could squeeze into 3 hrs.: 1) We arrive early for our reservation so we sit at the bar for a drink. 20 minutes after we sit down the bartender takes our order. I get my wine, but the bartender needs to stop and text message someone for 5 minutes before she could start my fiancée's martini. It finally arrives, and it sucks. She makes up for that by also over charging me for the drinks by 2.00. Nice start 2) The rest of our party arrives (my boss) and we head into the dining room. We order drinks and wait 40 minutes for the server to take our dinner order. After waiting this long the server still felt the need to make us feel like we were inconveniencing him by asking a couple of questions regarding the menu. He takes our order and then comes back a few minutes later and repeats it back to us to confirm everything. 3) Our dinner arrives and only my fiancée's order was completely wrong. 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Unfortunately, he also forgot the additional sauces and plates we asked for. At this point after waiting for him to return I had to get up and look around the restaurant for him. I understand if there is a problem when dining out it is the diners responsibility to ask someone to remedy the situation. I pulled the server aside and explained how bad everything had been up to that point. I was respectful but firm that I wanted things to improve. He apologizes profusely and proceeded to continue to not give a shit. 4) I sit back down. Everyone has everything they need so we dig in. I had the braised pork shank. It could not have been drier had it been microwaved pork shank. A complete bust. The other meals were fine. We finish up and order dessert. The server wraps up a couple of things for us to take home... which he completely forgot about until someone in the back was cleaning up and wondered aloud who's crunchy risotto had been hanging out. We already were out of our seats and had our coats on at this point. 5) We finish dessert and get the check. $235.00. Awesome. BUT they made up for it all with a hastily written card that said "Sorry for the poor service". What a complete waste of money and a waste of a night out.
  11. Much thanks to fellow Egulleter and chef, Champe Speidel for a great evening recently at his restaurant. We were celebrating my fiancée's birthday and Champe and his staff made the night very special. We had been looking forward to trying the chef's tasting since our first trip to Persimmon this summer. I believe it was a 6 course tasting but I think I may have lost count after the many little extra treats the chef sent out from the kitchen. Some highlights were: * The cream of mushroom soup (which was praised in a recent Food & Wine magazine) - Ok how good can a soup possibly be? Well ...as soon as we both took our first taste we just looked at each other with raised eyebrows "Are you kidding me?" Incredible. Earthy and creamy at the same time. I could have eaten a gallon of this soup * A candy striped beet salad with blood orange and lobster knuckle meat - I've had a little bit of an aversion to beets since I was a kid. I'm glad I gave this one a shot with somewhat of an open mind. It was actually very good.The beets were sweet but not over the top like I remember beets to be. The blood orange pieces were a perfect fit with the beets and the lobster. * Scrambled eggs with first of the year Oregon truffles- Yep, scrambled eggs. As silly as this may sound, I think this may have been my favorite dish of the night. I'm not even sure how to describe why it was... it just was. * A perfectly prepared duck breast. Pink and beautiful. Juicy ... just delicious. Other wonderful treats included a succulent lamb shank, duck confit with the cheese agnolotti, a generous cheese plate with numerous condiments and the desserts... mmmm the desserts. Chocolate ganache cake, lemon parfait,and crème Brule. The service was excellent. Friendly and attentive but not smothering. It was just a wonderful night out. If you haven't gone to Persimmon I highly recommend taking a trip to Bristol!
  12. I couldn't agree more with your praise of Joyal's. Huge selection with really great prices and service. I don't get there as much as I used to now that I'm a bit further up 95. On the bright side, I am a lot closer to Town Wine and Spirits.
  13. Thanks Nes06473. I think there might actually be one in the Norwood/Walpole area. I'll have the check into that one. Thanks for the tip!
  14. Thanks for all the help tim, Snowy and Sheena!
  15. Thanks katbalou! I'll give them a shout if I can't dig something up a little closer to home
  16. Does anyone know of a place to get kitchen knives professionally sharpened in the Providence/Southern MA area? I appreciate any help! Thanks Steve
  17. Soooooo good. My girlfriend is heading to GC on her way home from work tonight. We're doing the wine, cheese and chocolate thing tonight. Unfortunately Farmstead is closed so we'll be getting the cheese from Whole foods (which still isn't bad at all)
  18. XO Cafe I have some major catching up to do on here. My better half and I have been doing quite a bit of dining out lately. My review of La Laiterie is forthcoming. Right now a little review of our recent dinner at XO Cafe. Whenever we decide to go out to Providence for dinner XO always comes up as a possibility. We usually have a great experience there. It's pricey but usually well worth it. We arrived at 8:30ish. A few minutes after our reservations (we called to let them know we were running behind.) Our table wasn't ready so we sat at the bar for a drink. Julie had a "Flirting with style" (Stoli Razberi, Cointreau, Pineapple, Cranberry,Champagne, Fresh Raspberries) and I had a glass of Mirassou Pinot Noir. Her drink was tasty as usual. Their specialty drinks are never less than fantastic. We finished our drinks and headed into the other dining room. For appetizers We got the goat cheese tart ( we fight over who gets to order this every time we come here) and the lobster won tons. The won tons were really good. Very crispy with a wonderful smooth filling. The mango dipping sauce was a nice touch although I preferred my won tons straight up The goat cheese tart was ... ok. Not up to the usual standard. I'm not sure if they changed cheeses or what but it had very little body to it. It tasted fine and the figs were PERFECT but the consistency of the cheese wasn't so hot. A little runny. Having said that, I'd still order it as a starter next time I go back. Julie got the XO Filet as her dinner. How could you possibly go wrong with a 10 oz Filet with seared sea scallops on top? Cooked perfectly as usual and served with the best asparagus you've ever tasted. For my entree I got the slow cooked short ribs with garlic mashed and wasabi onion rings. This ribs were the only really bad part of the whole meal. I understand short ribs are fatty but this was truly unacceptable. There was a piece of fat on my plate that was 1/3 the size of the entire portion of ribs. I couldn't believe they actually put it on the plate. Now anyone that has ever been to XO knows that the portion sizes are very generous. If they had just left that off the plate I would have been pretty happy with the meal and satisfied with the size of it. But they didn't, and it took away from the entire dish. When the server asked how everything was, I politely told him my issue. To his credit, he went out of his way to find a way to make it right. He offered to have them make me another meal, more ribs or anything else I may want. I was fine just finishing what I had. In fact the only reason I mentioned it to him at all was because if I were running the kitchen, I'd want to know. I'd hate to have someone leave unhappy and tell others of my bad experience. I've had too many good experiences at XO to let that ruin my evening. In the end, they bought me desert for my trouble. After a short break our deserts arrived. I had the hot molten chocolate cake with coconut ice cream. Are you kidding me?? If there was ever a better ending to a meal I haven't had it. It was just delicious. The cake is rich with a warm creamy interior. I could eat that coconut ice cream by the gallon. Julie had the trio of crème brulees. They were coconut, vanilla and Thai chili. She loved all three but the Thai Chili was her favorite. She said it tasted almost smokey with hints of espresso. She said it had a bit of heat in the finish. Really interesting and creative desert. As usual, the service was excellent. I feel like the server handled the issue with my entree very professionally. Overall the experience was a tad short of what we're accustomed to at XO but still a very good experience.
  19. Thanks, Chris. We're off to Pinelli's tonight. I think we'll probably end up at Walter's on Thursday night. Lastly, Camille's for lunch on Friday. How about you? Have you made it out yet?
  20. Restaurant week in Providence has begun. Our first stop for the week was Gracie's in their new home on Washington Street. This was our first time at Gracie's. Upon arrival I was very impressed with how beautiful the room was. Very classy but not at all stuffy. Julie ( My fiancée) was a bit put off by the smell of smoke that hung in the air. I'm not sure if smoking is still allowed in bar area or what but there was definitely a bit unpleasant. We were seated at a nice table tucked away in a corner. Nice and cozy. I ordered a glass of Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva cabernet to go with dinner. The special menu for restaurant week included a choice of starter: an heirloom tomato tasting or a native sweet corn soup with rock shrimp and Spanish paprika After much deliberation we both went with the soup. It was a great choice. I have never had a better soup in my life. Sweet and light with just a hint of spice from paprika. The shrimp was cooked to absolute perfection. It was a great start to the meal. The entrees were a choice of: Carolina Golden Trout with Peruvian potato, Chesapeake Blue crab & sweet corn hash & Meyer lemon or Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Pomme puree, red onion marmalade & creamy spinach I had the trout. It was light and flaky. Very tasty although not overwhelming. The sweet corn hash was a nice fit with the fish. I enjoyed the meal but I think I might have set the bar too high after the soup. After the first bite I was already jealous that Julie got the pork tenderloin. The pork incredibly tender and juicy. You could cut it with a fork. The server mentioned that they used a preparation for the pork that they usually use with the Filet on the regular menu. Whatever they did worked. The pomme puree and the creamy spinach were exceptionally good as well. We might have to make another trip back this week and switch entrees. Lastly, desert was a choice of: Flourless Velrohna Chocolate Cake Cherry anaglaise & bing cherry compote Or Gracie’s Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee Seasonal Berries That was a no brainer to me. We both chose the flourless chocolate cake. It was wonderfully warm and soft. The center was almost like melted chocolate. For some reason instead of the bing cherry compote it was served with fresh cut strawberries. Which was fine. I was looking forward to the cherry compote but the strawberries were delicious. Overall, we both thought the dinner was fantastic. The service was great and you certainly couldn't beat the price. If we had one thing that put a bit of a damper on the evening,it was the couple sitting next to us. I have been to punk rock shows that were quieter than these two. They were both teachers from the area. Math teachers, I believe. I think this because in the course of almost 2 hours sitting next to them, they shouted math rules at each other. That's exactly what I want to hear when I'm dining out in a nice restaurant. People fighting about math. Mmmmm math. In any event, it was a great night and I highly recommend taking advantage of the special menu at Gracie's this week.
  21. That's disappointing but not terribly suprising. I go to a Starbucks in Providence a few times a week. At least one of those times there is a line 8-10 deep and a barista struggling to keep up. I'm not sure how effective the system they have is. There is usually one person taking the order and ringing the register, one person getting the coffee and one barista running the entire specialty drink area. Seems to me they could change that around to make it a little more efficient... but what do I know. p.s. my biggest pet peeve regarding Starbucks: sugar packets instead of a sugar shaker. THAT makes me feel like I just got a Cup O' Joe from the Quickee Mart.
  22. Thanks for the heads-up on Steeple St. We'll look for a replacement on the list. We've done XO and 10 a few times (and they're always great.)
  23. Thanks for the post about restaurant week in RI. My Fiancee and I are really looking forward to getting out at least a few times. We're already set for Gracie's on Sunday. We're thinking maybe 3 Steeple St. and Pinelli's Cucina Twist as well. There are a ton of great choices but we wanted to stick to places we haven't been to. I'd love to hear about what restaurants people other Egulleters are excited to try out.
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