I am coming down from an almost weeks worth of serious eating in Providence. Tonight, Andy and I had leftovers, but previous to this, we were eating like royalty. It is going to be quite the journey recounting it here! I'm currently sipping a glass of wine to aide in my reflection, because I'd like to do these last several days as much justice as possible.
My parents came to visit from Georgia, with my mom arriving first and taking Andy and I out to eat at my first dining choice of the visit- DownCity. I unfortunately never experienced the old DownCity, but have heard enough about its legend to have been thrilled when they decided to reopen. I was working downtown when they were redoing the Weybosset space, but since leaving my downtown job I forgot about DownCity until I was presented with the arrival of my parents in Providence and the duty to take them out to some great places.
At DownCity, we started by sharing the California Caesar Salad:
This is the ultimate caesar. DownCity mixes up the classic with the addition of tempura artichoke hearts, goat cheese, and pepitas. Those three additional ingredients made all the difference for me, and took this salad to new levels of taste. The dressing was rich, and there was just enough to flavor the salad and compliment the artichokes and the creamy goat cheese. I will be going back to DownCity just for this.
I had the Buttered Shrimp Risotto for my entree:
The risotto was exactly as risotto should be- creamy, soft, salty. But the way it came together was not entirely impressive. It lacked any sort of punch to differentiate it from any other risotto dish. It was very basic, with the flavors of stock and parmesan cheese being the basics. I would have liked to see a more interesting twist to bring the prawns into the dish and excited my palate. After the innovative caesar, I was looking for those innovations in my entree.
Andy had the Chargrilled New York Sirloin:
He thought it was extremely rich, with its roasted garlic and thyme butter, and the sweet potato fries were large chunks of the potato- instead of just layers of batter. He also appreciated the grilled vegetable medley as a compliment to the steak. All of the sides came together well with the meat, and the dish made him want to go back to DownCity for dinner again.
My mom ordered the Chargrilled Tuna Steak Nicoise:
My mom asked if the chef would be insulted if she ordered her tuna medium-rare instead of rare, and when the waitress said 'no' my mom was relieved. However, when the dish arrived, it was very, very rare. We were engrossed in conversation and enjoying company as we were munching on our dinner, so my mom just picked around the seared edges of the tuna and didn't say anything to the waitress. But when the waitress came pack to clear our plates, she noticed that my mom barely touched the tuna and realized it was probably because it wasn't done to her liking. My mom admitted that was the case, but didn't make a big deal out of it- but the waitress took it upon herself to take the dish off the bill anyway. She was a fantastic waitress, and I thought that was a huge credit to her, and the restaurant.
We had to end the meal with something sweet, so we ordered the banana split- which the waitress accurately describe as "as big as the state of Texas":
From left to right, this banana split had: vanilla ice cream with caramel syrup, coffee ice cream with chocolate sauce, and strawberry ice cream with strawberry sauce. For it being so large and decadent looking, it was actually a wonderfully light dessert. The ice cream was fluffy, and the sauces were a perfect balance of flavor and sugar.
The highlight of the night was certainly the caesar salad and the overall funky atmosphere and lively vibe of the restaurant itself. It is definitely a place to go for some great cocktails (the cocktail menu has a refreshing emphasis on the classics like gimlets and pink lady's)- and draws a large after work crowd.
That was the beginning of the eating extravaganza- up next: La Laiterie, Gracie's, and my own home-cooked meal!