Friday, April 23, 2010

Downtown: "Ten" may rate a 2nd try

TEN PRIME STEAK AND SUSHI (55 Pine St, Providence 401-453-2333) is no longer a flashy newcomer. I remember sitting at the bar in its early days and wondering "can this restaurant survive?" with its hotel-chain prices and on-the-edge address. Well, I still think the prices are on the high side, though modest by the Flemings* standard, and I wonder how it survives. Ten is a nice-looking place, with a kind of modern-but-comfy style. Service is excellent. It has a real bar and if you ask that a pomegranate cosmo be made less sweet it is delivered as asked. I know, just mentioning a pomegranate cosmo invites derision but I can deal with it. On a recent Sunday night it was quiet (the bar across the street was full and thumping however) so maybe that's why the music was cranked up - a kind of electronic continuous pulsing. The Ten website describes it as a Latin sound; I'd call it a semi-annoying techno bar sound. We skipped appetizers because we anticipated Ten's skinny onion rings, which come in a giant crispy mound and are as seductive as they are bad for you. Diner number one tried meat loaf again and rated it excellent (and continued to eat it for two days of leftover lunches). Diner number two thought the meat loaf was 500% better than what was served at DownCity but not inspired - good texture but something missing. Diners two and three stuck to the sushi side of the menu and settled on Roll 10 and Spicy Tuna. Roll 10 is a lobster, salmon, avocado extravaganza and this diner was psyched, in the mood for a flavor blast. That both rolls were only passable was a genuine surprise. How could a high-end steak and sushi place serve ordinary rolls? No exciting hit of freshness, no real taste of lobster or salmon for that matter, and too too cold. The tuna was okay. And while I don't want the rice to fall all over my shirt I don't want it congealed either.  As Otto says in A Fish Called Wanda: DIS A PPOINT ED.

* pricey national chain with, based on my one visit, really good steaks

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