Farm-fresh devotees find big flavors In Providence

 

New Rivers restaurant is in an 18th century river warehouse near Brown University. It is one of the city's favorite foodie hangouts -- and specializes in cured meats.
New Rivers restaurant is in an 18th century river warehouse near Brown University. It is one of the city’s favorite foodie hangouts — and specializes in cured meats.

Take a weekend trip to experience the small city with big taste. Here’s a rundown of  the area’s hottest culinary spots.

As home to culinary school Johnson & Wales, Rhode Island’s capital city tends to snag its share of new graduates. For dining patrons, that means there is always a steady supply of talent in the city’s restaurant kitchens. Add to that, a rich cultural heritage from generations of Portuguese and Italian immigrants —and proximity to rich agriculture New England and the ocean — and the small city of Providence has become a big destination for foodies, especially those who appreciate the farm-to-table approach.

One of Providence’s most essential reservations is New Rivers (7 Steeple Street, 401-751-0350), located near Brown University in an 18th century river warehouse. Last year, the long-time chef Beau Vestal took over the restaurant as owner. His speciality? Cured meats including sweet and salty pork belly that melts like candy on the tongue, strips of succulent pastrami beef tongue and smoked fish. The menu leans into seasonal ingredients and showcases Rhode Island’s natural bounty of seafood with dishes like the maltagliati — a pasta dish served with local clams and tuscan kale.

Gracie’s (194 Washington Street, 401-272-7811) in downtown Providence is another stop for farm-fresh junkies: The best way to eat here is to leave it to the chef. After a few questions from the server — who are among the friendliest and most helpful in the city — the chef will send out a surprise five-course tasting menu ($75) — perhaps with things like a slow-poached farm egg or sea scallops served with a maple-glazed pork belly, all flavored with herbs grown in the restaurant’s rooftop garden.

Pork belly and brussel sprout hash at XO Cafe.
Pork belly and brussel sprout hash at XO Cafe.

Sunday brunch is a sleepy affair in Providence but well worth rising for to down two things: Pork belly and brussel sprout hash and a Dirty Red Snapper, a house special bloody Mary mix with gin and olive juice at XO Café (125 N. Main Street, 401-273-9090). The restaurant defies the farm-to-table stereotype and instead rocks more of let’s-do-one-more-shot-of-whiskey atmosphere. Fittingly, the menu is has all kinds of hangover busters, like the XO Benedict, a local short rib served with chive potato pancake and chipotle Hollandaise.

Antonelli's Poultry is one of the last live-chicken shops in Providence where shoppers can pick the chicken they want to eat for dinner. This is one of several stops on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.
Antonelli’s Poultry is one of the last live-chicken shops in Providence where shoppers can pick the chicken they want to eat for dinner. This is one of several stops on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.

For the serious foodie — as in you like to pick out the chicken you kill for dinner — a visit to Antonelli Poultry Company in the city historic Italian Federal Hill district is another must do. The best way to navigate the area is to sign up for the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour (401-934-2149, $50) with chef Cindy Salvato. Salvato, a former professor at J&W, escorts folks through local purveyors — like the live chicken shop and bakeries —to view and taste some of the most authentic just-like-your-noni-made-it Italian goodies. One word of advice: Reserve early, the popular tour has a months long waiting list.

Just like your noni used to make: Grandmas still hand-make raviolis at Costantino's Venda Ravioli, a stop on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.
Just like your noni used to make: Grandmas still hand-make raviolis at Costantino’s Venda Ravioli, a stop on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.
Just like your noni used to make: Grandmas still hand-make raviolis at Costantino's Venda Ravioli, a stop on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.
Homemade torrone – a kind of Italian nougat – is a specialty at Scialo Brothers Bakery, another stop on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…