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.