Thursday, January 15, 2009

Loie Fuller's (33 of 50)

Restaurant: Loie Fuller's
Cuisine: French/American
Price: somewhat expensive
Score: 33
Would I eat there again: NO

Loie Fuller's is one of the best decorated restaurants in Providence. It is very nicely lit with tile mosaics on the floor, stylish paintings and beautifully detailed woodwork. They also have a good drinks list with some excellent beers on tap (La Chouffe) and a decent wine list. If the review could end right here- we would have an amazing restaurant!

Unfortunately the food (and to some extent the service) was lacking. Our server was kind and helpful, but the front of house team seemed either understaffed (unlikely given how slow the restaurant was) or rather indifferent. Not the deliberate abuse a al Julian's, but more of a general malaise- a restaurant on a long, slow slide downwards.

The food seemed to be affected by a similar apathy. There are clearly good ingredients used, and the menu reads well, but the overall architecture of the dishes falls short. Scallion and Pistachio Ravioli ($13 for 6 average size ravioli- and nothing else) had a delicious center, but the pasta was very sad. Either dried out or freezer-burned, it tasted as if the moisture had been driven from the dough, leaving a hard tacky shell. Braised wild boar($18) with roasted squash was tasty, but a tad plain. The best food we got was actually combining the two dishes- ravioli with braised boar on top was quite excellent! Everything was thoroughly doused in butter, which helped with the taste if not the impression of an artfully crafted meal.

Perhaps my expections were set to high- but when I see a gorgeous room with good drinks and good looking menu (and relatively small portions for the price) I somehow expect greatness. That was lacking.

Conclusion:
The decor is impressive and very well thought out. Unfortunately the night we visited the food was not of the same caliber. There was great potential in the dishes- but the balance was just not there. For a similar experience (but better food), I would have to recommend Julians or La Laiterie.
Loie Fuller's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bob and Timmy's Grilled Pizza's (36 of 50)

Restaurant: Bob and Timmy's Grilled Pizza's
Cuisine: Grilled pizzas
Price: Average
Score: 36
Will I eat there again: YES!
Grilled pizza's and Providence go hand in hand. Local legend has it that the grilled pizza was invented at Al Forno, and while it may certainly have been brought into the mainstream there- I imagine that cavemen have been grilling dough over their fires for quite some time...
Regardless, there are a bunch of eateries that serve a mean thin-crust grilled pizza here in RI. I had heard of Bob and Timmy's for quite some time, but never fully figured out where it was. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology (iphone + urbanspoon), we were able to brave the wilds of federal hill and made it safely to 32 Spruce Street.
Not only do they have beer and wine and cocktails to go with their grilled pizza's, but they also make some mean wings. Certainly not the hottest, but they had a great sauce on them, using the magical combination of vinegar and hot pepper (one of my favorite flavor combos) lightly tempered with sweetness to achieve a truly tasty wing (And for $10 they had better be good wings)!
Sam Adam's winter lager and our memorable wings were followed by a grilled pizza margarita. There are many interesting pizza options available, but as devotees of the pizza margarita we thought that it was important to start out with the classic tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella. The dough was great- super thin crust, almost like a naan, but still a pizza crust. The only part we found lacking was the fresh tomatoes- which given that it is January may well be understandable if not delicious. One of the best parts of the pizza was that it stayed hot for a remarkably long time, mostly due to a well heated serving pan I imagine.
Service was very friendly, and it was clear that many of the customers dining that night were long time regulars well acquainted with the waitstaff (always a good sign). Not the best grilled pizza (Al Forno and Bacaro top it fairly easily) in town, but at just over half the price for a larger pie, a much more affordable one!
Conclusion
Not the easiest place to find, but well worth the effort. Great wings and a great crust with good toppings make Bob and Timmy's Grilled Pizza's a restaurant well worth visiting.
Bob and Timmy's Grilled Pizza on Urbanspoon