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Unusual eats in Boston/Providence?


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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?

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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.

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There is barely room for WD-50 in NYC. It is definitely one of the few of the top restaurants where it is relatively easy to get a table. And not surprisingly, nothing like it in Boston.

There is also nothing like St. Johns, but where is...?

There are some unusual places though. For offal I think Craigie Street is always a good bet. He makes some really unusual stuff, like the foie gras terrine style monk fish liver. I also love the offal ragouts with poached eggs and mushrooms. There is always stuff like that on the menu, and usually also included in the Chef's whim that is lots of fun and a real bargain.

Toro usually also has a few offal preparations. All very good (they only need to put more tripe in that tripe dish.....).

I am not sure how the Chinese places are in Providence, but we have some pretty good Sichuan places up here, outside of chinatown. Very spicy food and some pretty offbeat meats, a recent favorite cuisine of mine with lots of new stuff to explore.

I also think Oleana is very unique through its elaborate use of spices. The food has much more mainstream appeal than the offal dishes at Craigie, but it is a kind of its own. For me also special because it is the only place where I prefer the vegetarian dishes. The five course plus dessert prix fixe is wonderful (for 40$!!!, and if two people share they will always get two different dishes).

Hope that gives you some ideas....if you have more specific question sfeel free to ask

Georg

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China Pearl does good dim sum, which can get as funky (snails, chicken feet, etc.) as you like. The Butcher Shop is a charcuterie with a good reputation, though I haven't been. Savenor's is a grocer that has a lot of game meats, if you don't mind cooking your own.

Edit: the above are all in Boston. In Providence...hmm. Local 121 on Washington St. has quail on the menu and a fantastic corned beef. (I don't know if it's house corned, but it's awesome.) There's also La Laiterie and the Farmstead, with great cheese and cured meats.

Edited by michael_g (log)
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Thanks for the great info, Georg!

I guess the St John/WD50 examples were a bit over the top.

I've wanted to try Craigie St for some time. I think I'll have to make it a priority. The $40 Prix fixe at Oleanna sounds like a GREAT deal too!

There is barely room for WD-50 in NYC. It is definitely one of the few of the top restaurants where it is relatively easy to get a table. And not surprisingly, nothing like it in Boston.

There is also nothing like St. Johns, but where is...?

There are some unusual places though. For offal I think Craigie Street is always a good bet. He makes some really unusual stuff, like the foie gras terrine style monk fish liver. I also love the offal ragouts with poached eggs and mushrooms. There is always stuff like that on the menu, and usually also included in the Chef's whim that is lots of fun and a real bargain.

Toro usually also has a few offal preparations. All very good (they only need to put more tripe in that tripe dish.....).

I am not sure how the Chinese places are in Providence, but we have some pretty good Sichuan places up here, outside of chinatown. Very spicy food and some pretty offbeat meats, a recent favorite cuisine of mine with lots of new stuff to explore.

I also think Oleana is very unique through its elaborate use of spices. The food has much more mainstream appeal than the offal dishes at Craigie, but it is a kind of its own. For me also special because it is the only place where I prefer the vegetarian dishes. The five course plus dessert prix fixe is wonderful (for 40$!!!, and if two people share they will always get two different dishes).

Hope that gives you some ideas....if you have more specific question sfeel free to ask

Georg

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Thank Michael!

I go to Farmstead/La Laterie quite a bit. I did notice the last time time they added a calf tongue dish to the menu. I'm going to have to try that next time. I'm also VERY excited to try Local 121.

Savenor's is fun too. Although I'd be lost trying to prepare kangaroo!

China Pearl does good dim sum, which can get as funky (snails, chicken feet, etc.) as you like.  The Butcher Shop is a charcuterie with a good reputation, though I haven't been.  Savenor's is a grocer that has a lot of game meats, if you don't mind cooking your own.

Edit: the above are all in Boston.  In Providence...hmm.  Local 121 on Washington St. has quail on the menu and a fantastic corned beef.  (I don't know if it's house corned, but it's awesome.)  There's also La Laiterie and the Farmstead, with great cheese and cured meats.

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Gargoyles on the Square in Davis Square has the most forward thinking food of anyplace I've been in Boston. (Which admittedly isn't *that* many because we live down the street from this place so often just go there). The proteins themselves are not unusual, but the garnishes/sides/other ingredients are. For example, the early Spring menu had a seared tuna appetizer I enjoyed a few times - with a pile of powdered coconut, yuzu-squid ink vinagrette, and 4 pipettes filled with different house infused sake flavors. Liquid nitrogen has been making an appearance on the menu somewhere lately. Most recently, its in a white sangria with beet juice. Gargoyles doesn't chemically reformulate food the way WD50 does (I don't know if that is correct term, but you know stuff like the thin canneloni sheet at WD50 made from shrimp and made possible by some 'meat glue' substance), but instead relies on unusual pairings and uses of some familiar (and not so familiar) foods. Although some might not count the packing peanuts that were sprinkled on my chicken as food :smile: Edited by baw (log)
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Gargoyles on the Square sounds fun.The menu looked pretty cool. Have you done the tasting menu? Davis Square has come a long way since I lived around there.

Gargoyles on the Square in Davis Square has the most forward thinking food of anyplace I've been in Boston.  (Which admittedly isn't *that* many because we live down the street from this place so often just go there).  The proteins themselves are not unusual, but the garnishes/sides/other ingredients are.  For example, the early Spring menu had a seared tuna appetizer I enjoyed a few times - with a pile of powdered coconut, yuzu-squid ink vinagrette, and 4 pipettes filled with different house infused sake flavors.  Liquid nitrogen has been making an appearance on the menu somewhere lately.  Most recently, its in a white sangria with beet juice.  Gargoyles doesn't chemically reformulate food the way WD50 does (I don't know if that is correct term, but you know stuff like the thin canneloni sheet at WD50 made from shrimp and made possible by some 'meat glue' substance), but instead relies on unusual pairings and uses of some familiar (and not so familiar) foods.  Although some might not count the packing peanuts that were sprinkled on my chicken as food  :smile:

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I've been to Gargoyles once, and really enjoyed it. The tasting menu was just composed of dishes from the regular menu, if I recall.

I would say Clio has the best, most modern food in town, but it's also very expensive...definitely not an everyday place. However, if you are looking for things like barnacles, exotic fish, interesting vegetables, foams, gels, etc., this is the place to go.

Green Street Grill in Central Sq also has a "daily offal" and a "daily cure" (for $3!!!!). Last time I went these were warm lamb's tongue salad and duck rillettes.

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Clio is definitely on the list of places I'd love to go to!

I had no idea that GSG had a cool menu. I think last time I was there it was like $10 for dinner and a band.

I've been to Gargoyles once, and really enjoyed it.  The tasting menu was just composed of dishes from the regular menu, if I recall.

I would say Clio has the best, most modern food in town, but it's also very expensive...definitely not an everyday place.  However, if you are looking for things like barnacles, exotic fish, interesting vegetables, foams, gels, etc., this is the place to go.

Green Street Grill in Central Sq also has a "daily offal" and a "daily cure" (for $3!!!!).  Last time I went these were warm lamb's tongue salad and duck rillettes.

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