25 November, 2012

Greenville Inn

Nestled deep in Greenville is the Greenville Inn (appropriately named). The exterior screams Rhode Island dining classic with a sign that advertises 'Family Style Chicken' and Italain-American cusine. That's not a bad thing to diners in the Ocean State, but does the exterior indicate a good place to eat?

Inside, the atmosphere changes from carriage house to classic New England with exposed beams and soft light. The busy staff were quick to seat us, and placed us to a room with a nice big fireplace. Unfortunately, the fireplace was not lit. Otherwise, the room felt very cozy.

We ordered 5 dishes. All are classic Italian dishes popular in Rhode Island. The first, our appetizer, fried Calamari served with banana peppers (we asked them to omit then, more below). Then we each ordered a pasta dish. I ordered the Pasta Fagioli with the Pasta Aglio Olio. My wife ordered J. Bell's Tomato Sauce with capellini and a side salad.

The fried Calamari came out quick. The plated looked like a mound of golden rings. Why did we omit the banana peppers? Most times the peppers turn the delicious fried squid soggy. Thankfully every bite of this dish had a perfect crunch. The Calamari itself was tender enough. My wife enjoyed the fact that the plate lacked bodies (though I wondered where the little tentacles went off to?).

Next came the second course. My wife's salad was eh, served with a neutral oil and neon-red vinegar. It was standard salad with nothing to write home about. I noticed a trend with the oil presented with the salad as to what they us to fry the Calamari.

At the same time I enjoyed a small bowl of Pasta Fagioli. It was garlicky, but lacked a full tomato flavor I expect in the dish. The pasta itself was overcooked. It tasted too much like a canned soup you could buy in the supermarket.

Finally, our main courses arrived. I ordered the Pasta Aglio Olio made with linguine. The oil and garlic showed up with some powdered Parmesan cheese aiding some extra flavor and saltiness. I missed something more from this dish. A shaker of red pepper flakes added some heat. I would have loved for the chef to have added some of the black olives from my wife's salad. Otherwise everything tasted great, though there was a bit too much oil in the plate. Again, it was the non-olive oil.

My wife had the J. Bell's Tomato Sauce with capellini (angel hair if you do not speak Italian). She enjoyed every bite. The sauce was bright and the pasta was perfectly cooked. I found the sauce a tad bitter (the same bitterness found in tomato seeds), but my wife did not taste it. I am curious to how the meatballs and sausage would taste with the red sauce.

Overall, this was a great Italian-American meal. I felt like I was eating Rhode Island food in a Rhode Island restaurant. Despite a few minor missteps, I felt comfortable and left satisfied without a big hit in the wallet. If you're in Greenville and need a nice meal, I can endorse stopping at the local Inn.

The Greenville Inn has a website and this is the Greenville Inn's Facebook fan page.

Rating: B+

Greenville Inn on Urbanspoon

13 April, 2012

Special Earth Dinner at Gracie's

Gracie’s Pays Homage to the Earth by Celebrating Its
Bounties with Special “Earth Dinner”

Earth Dinner Menu Incorporating Locally Sourced Food Offered on
Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 12 2012) – Gracie’s restaurant in downtown Providence is among more than 100 Chefs Collaborative-member restaurants across the nation joining forces with Organic Valley to host an “Earth Dinner” in celebration of Earth Day. On Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21, Gracie’s will offer guests an Earth Day menu to select from in addition to its spring menu. The nationwide “Earth Dinner” event promotes restaurants that use local, organic and sustainable food – all things that Gracie’s makes a priority in creating its menus – and provides the restaurants with a vehicle for “giving back” to the local farms they secure food from.

“The Gracie’s team is always thrilled to be involved with this initiative as it is a natural extension of all that we already do to celebrate local foods and their vibrant flavors and nurture a more sustainable food supply,” said Ellen Gracyalny, owner of Gracie’s. “Taking part in the ‘Earth Dinner’ event is also an expression of our appreciation for local farmers and purveyors who provide us with the fresh ingredients we insist on using in our menu offerings.”

Gracie’s Earth Dinner will feature a unique menu created by Gracie’s Executive Chef Matthew Varga. Guests will also receive educational materials about the Earth Dinner and Gracie’s commitment to sustainability. The prix fixe menu ($40 per guest) will be broken down into three courses with one choice for each course:

First Course

• Baby Greens Salad – organic cranberries, goat cheese croquette, Providence granola (Baby Greens Farm, Simmons Farm, Fairland Farms, Providence Granola project)

• Rhode Island Parsnip Soup – Empire apples, parsnip crisps, hearty mustard, young parsley (Schartner Farm, Hill Orchard, Silverbrook Farm, Farming Turtles)

• Zephyr Farm Egg – bacon braised cattle beans, winter rye bread, garden herbs & flowers (Zephyr Farm, Green Thumb Farm, Schartner Farm)

Second Course

• Local Skate Wing – pickled baby beets, braised green kale, grapefruit beurre blanc (The Local Catch, Farm Fresh & Company, Schartner Farm)

• Baffoni’s Farm Chicken Ballantine – roasted carrots, charred spring onion, potato puree, herb jus (Baffoni’s Farm, Schartner Farm, North Star Farm)

• Hopkins Farm Lamb – house made merguez, braised lettuce, pea falafel, salty feta (Hopkins Farm, Narragansett Creamery, Absalona Greenhouse)

Third Course

• Slopeside Maple Pudding – fried sweet ricotta, strawberry jam, Providence Muesli (Slopeside Syrup, Narragansett Creamery, Schartner Farm, Providence Granola Project)

• Frozen Nutter Butter – chocolate covered peanuts, caramel popcorn, toasted oatmeal ice cream (Aquidneck Honey, Fairland Farm, Farm Fresh & Company, Virginia & Spanish Peanut Co.)

Gracie’s will donate a portion of the proceeds received from the Earth Dinner to Chefs Collaborative, the leading nonprofit network of chefs and farmers that fosters a sustainable food system using the power of education, collaboration and responsible buying decisions. These funds will benefit the local farms that Gracie’s secures food from. Organic Valley, the nation’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and a leading organic brand, has promised to match all donations to Chefs Collaborative, up to $10,000.

“We’re thrilled! Involvement in this year’s Earth Dinner series has already broken a record – with more than 100 chefs and restaurants participating from every region of the country,” said Melissa Kogut, executive director of Chefs Collaborative. “We attribute this to a growing number of restaurants that make responsible food sourcing part of doing business.”

"Earth Dinner was born to remind us all that 70 percent of the earth’s resources are used to produce food," said Theresa Marquez, founder of Earth Dinner and mission executive for Organic Valley. "Organic Valley farmers and the members of Chefs Collaborative share this knowledge because producing food with the earth in mind is not only delicious but worthy of celebrating. Food to delight the taste buds from the most caring and thoughtful cooks in the world!”

To make reservations for Gracie’s Earth Dinner call 401.272.7811 or make an online reservation through Open Table.

About Gracie’s
Established in 1998, Gracie’s in downtown Providence, R.I. provides guests with a culinary experience that is anything but expected. The 70-seat restaurant, located at 194 Washington Street just steps from Trinity Repertory Theater, entices guests with seasonally inspired American cuisine that is fresh and inventive. In addition to the main dining room, Gracie’s also offers a private wine cellar for up to eight guests and a private dining room that can accommodate up to 70 people. In addition to award-winning food, guests can enjoy five-star cocktails and a wine list of more than 200 wines. Gracie’s can also cater a wide and unlimited range of events through Grace, Events by Gracie’s. For more information, visit www.graciesprov.com or call 401.272.7811.

03 April, 2012


A recent addition to Garden City is Pink Berry. I had always had Red Mango prior (the Burger King to their McDonalds) so this competitive establishment piqued my curiosity. I knew of their existence from prior national ads and mentions in popular culture. To know that finally Rhode Island received the exalted franchise made this an irresistible visit.

The design of the parlor is very modern. Bright colors and lighting made the interior alluring. One downside was the exceptionally long line, though that's always good for the owner. Tables were small and chairs were few and far between, but to me frozen yogurt is a walking food.

Upon ordering, you get the choice of either a single or 'twist' flavor selection from 6 available flavors. Only 3 pairs are truly twisted (like original and Blood orange, who's spouts were next to each other), with other 'twists' being simply the flavors extruded next to each other.

The first flavor my wife and I tried was Pomegranate. We are massive fans of Red Mango's pomegranate flavor (officially supported by Juice maker Pom Wonderful). Pink Berry's disappointed, tasting like just sweet red yogurt rather than pomegranate.

Thankfully, the flavors improved. We next tried Original and Blood Orange. Both were amazing; the original tasted similar to the Pomegranate but lacked the overwhelming sweetness that dominated the prior. The Blood Orange was also amazing, though one down side was the blood orange toppings, which tasted more like segments of grapefruit. After tasting both seperately, we noticed that the pair could be truly twisted, and the result blew away any creamsicle found at a summer ice cream truck.

Next we tried Chocolate and Peppermint. The chocolate was rich and dark and complimented brownie bites well. The peppermint fit the Christmas Season motif perfectly and was just minty enough to leave a wonderful aftertaste without leaving a 'just-brushed-my-teeth' feeling.

Pink Berry is a great yogurt spot, though the volume and some issues with the flavors and toppings kept me from feeling that this is the superior color+fruit themed yogurt parlor. The greatest benefit of Pink Berry is the friendly staff that will let you try anything. I wholey suggest trying each flavor before ordering, even if the rest of the long line disagrees.

Rating: B+

Pinkberry (Cranston) on Urbanspoon

About Me

Rhode Island, United States
I am a lover of Food. I review restaurants, markets, snacks, wine, beer, and spirits. Life is too short to eat bad food.