Thursday, January 29, 2015


• Remember  Sunnyside, the Warren waterside breakfast and lunch place run by Joe Simone? Well Mr. Simone is back and his new home, Simone's Restaurant (275 Child Street, Warren), may not be on the water but it is picturesque. Simone paid attention to every detail and the result is a cleanly- designed airy space with a great-looking bar and a view to the kitchen. It's light-hearted, vibrant, modern without being self-conscious. I like the menu. You can mix it up with starters and small plates (maybe roasted marrow bones with shiitakes, oysters, and a small bowl of Linguine alle Vongola made with Narragansett clams). Over four visits, with different groups, we tried a lot, and liked a lot. The selection is broad without being overly inclusive. Below is a list of entrees, or large plates, as listed on the website today. Note, though, that the menu changes. We've eaten excellent roast chicken, a beautiful cod roast, grilled salmon and lobster and an excellent pork chop (a daring menu option in my view since it goes wrong so easily).

Lemon-Fennel Roast Nantucket Bay Scallops, Spinach-Mushroom Gratin, Tomato Vinaigrete 29
Grilled Salmon Fillet with Braised Artichokes and Caramelized Lemons 25
Jumbo Shrimp a la Plancha wrapped in Pancetta, melting Onions, Polenta Bianca 27 
Wood Grilled Lobster, “Spiked Olive Oil,” Mushrooms, roasted Peppers, wilted Escarole, Quinoa 27
Native Cod Roast White Beans, Kale and Chorizo 26
Quinoa with Tomato Coulis, and organic Vegetables (vegan) 25 
Long Island Duck Breast Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, Tamarind Leeks, Grilled Focaccia 28
Wood Grilled Flank Steak, Roasted Potatoes, Mushroom, Charred Onion and Arugula Salad 27
Roast Baffoni Farms ½ Chicken, Lemon, Rosemary, roast Farm Vegetables and Potatoes 25
Hand Cut Blackbird Farm Berkshire Pork Chop, Chorizo-Potato Cake, Braised Cabbage 26 

We had to share desserts. I can endorse the butterscotch pudding, lovely. And a spongecake with strawberries too. 

275 Child Street (use your maps app), Warren   401-247-1200

•  Hourglass Brasserie (382 Thames Street, Bristol) closed in September. It was maybe a little too cute in its presentations for me but, that said, I certainly ate there often enough and enjoyed most of it. It's a tough business. In its exact place is the recently opened Christian's Wood Fired Grille (401-396-9811)( Here's hoping.

•  Another replacement restaurant is The Salted Slate (186 Wayland Avenue, Providence  401-270-3737) which moved into the space vacated by Farmstead when the Jennings moved back to Boston. The cheese shop now holds the main bar (long, deep, good size) and elevated tables; the old dining room is all tables. After one brunch/lunch and two dinners I'm not smitten but I'm hoping for refinements so I can be smitten, because I like the location and want Wayland Square to thrive as a foodie neighborhood. Anyway, brunch/lunch was good, both food (especially the home-made doughnuts) and service. Dinner was the fall-off. Too much dubious sauce (think the brown stuff a country club will try to put on a New York sirloin or the too-much-soy coating on salmon). And, alas, service was very very slow so we all had time to think about food flaws. Desserts did not atone.

•  What's with the Chow Fun Food Group? Rick's Road House (370 Richmond Street, Providence  401-272-7675), serves possibly the worst barbecue. And XO (125 North Main, Providence  401-273-9090) is limping along giving almost nobody a reason to return.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Email by tomorrow, January 29, to reserve your place at the February 7th (Saturday) celebration of Scotland's beloved 18th century poet, Robert Burns, at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet (60 Rhodes Place, Cranston). There is a traditional haggis ceremony, dinner (your choice, prime ribs or vegetarian), and music by the Rhode Island Highlanders Pipe Band and Sean Connors and the Irish Express (which Ireland are we talking about here?).

A Burns supper (usually near or on the poet's birthday, January 25) is not a random event. The ceremony includes The Selkirk Grace, a piping-in of the haggis (savory pudding which people tend to love or loathe), recitation of Burns' Address to a Haggis, scotch, dinner, a talk about the poet, salutations to the "lassies",  and replies to the "laddies". Read more at

The tickets are $55 for adults and $25 for children under 12. Email the above address to see what's included. Reserve by tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Bill Collins, author of How to Make Chocolate Candies, gives a hands-on lesson at the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Saturday, February 7, 9:00 a.m. to noon. $95 price includes his book. Call 401-584-7000 to reserve.


Sign up for class and tour Simone's new kitchen, hear about the design and the equipment, sip wine and sample the cooking while you learn to prepare carmelized cauliflower dip, roasted squash and onion salad, and chicken thighs with rosemary.  Monday, January 26 at Simone's (275 Child Street, Warren). $50 per person. Call

Saturday, January 17, 2015


First off, Providence Winter Restaurant Week(s) begins Sunday, January 18 and runs through Saturday, January 24. And, as usual, many restaurants in East Greenwich, Bristol, Barrington and other non-Prov locations are participating. Matunuck Oyster Bar offers a delicious deal (bring a serious appetite) and what better on a cold, sunny day in winter than a cozy lunch in Matunuck? Most downtown and East Side Providence restaurants (Cook & Brown, Gracie's, Hemenway's, Bacaro, New Rivers, Parkside, Mill's Tavern, etc. etc.) offer specials and again, per usual, Al Forno does not. Nor do the popular West Side (as in hip  west side, not Federal Hill) locations like Nick's, Broadway Bistro, etc. Eat out, it's January. Double the a.m. workout.