Restaurant: 3 Steeple Street
Location: 125 Canal Street, Providence, RI 02903
Cuisine: American Bistro
Would I eat there again? Yes
First of all, the restaurant 3 Street Street is actually located at 125 Canal Street (although to be fair, it is located on the corner of Steeple and Canal, the entrance just happens to be on the Canal St. side). The building happens to be the second oldest industrial building in the US still standing, and they have done a good job of highlighting the heritage. Old bricks and supports show through in many places, and entire space has a sense of age that you don't find often in Providence.
A brief census of reviews reveals that most diners have a love/hate relationship with 3 Steeple Street. Given the proximity to Waterfire and it's great location it is quite possible than some of the disgruntled reviews are due to evenings when it just became way overcrowded and the kitchen became overwhelmed. The dinner and service we had was excellent- not the best, but very enjoyable and well worth visiting.
We started off our evening with the IPA on tap (Long Hammer IPA), very citrusy with a nice floral touch, if a bit light on the hops for an IPA. Their house empanadas were excellent- crimini mushrooms, cheese, and a very impressive tomatillo salsa. Service was polite and professional, making themselves available when needed and not hovering.
For our entrees we shared the caesar salad and catfish. While I love restaurants that focus on local ingredients and give credit to the farm/source of their food, sometimes it goes a bit overboard (think "meadowlark farm spring baby spinach with fresh roasted georgia pecans, vermont marinated goat feta, and house oven cured heirloom tomatoes"). At 3 Steeple Street we were able to order "Catfish". And it was delicious. The caesar salad had hot croutons and was well dressed- not quite at Al Forno standards, but pretty darn good. The catfish had an amazing pecan and corn meal crust that was incredibly delicate and moist. The hot pepper aioli and sweet potato mash gave it an upscale fish and chips feel. Probably one of the best catfish dishes I have ever had, and it was just called Catfish.
3 Steeple Street offers a great selection of dishes at reasonable prices. Good service and food that was solidly prepared combined to make one of our best dinners yet. Well Done.