Gracie’s (Providence, RI)

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I invite you to ask yourself which restaurant, if there is one, do you love so much that you’d drive a long distance just to have dinner.  For me, that restaurant is Gracie’s.  Last night we made a three hour round trip drive to Gracie’s for Providence Restaurant Week from Connecticut.  Gracie’s, once again, provided an experience that was well worth every second of that trip.

I am no stranger to the Providence dining scene after having lived in Rhode Island for nearly a decade and in Providence for almost half of that time.  I’ve been to many  the great restaurants in Providence – Al Forno, New Rivers, CAV, to name a few.  While they all shine in their own ways, they don’t compare to Gracie’s.   Nothing compares to Gracie’s.  Not in Rhode Island, not anywhere.  Gracie’s is the star that shines the brightest.

In early January I’d learned of Providence Restaurant Week and immediately placed a reservation.  I booked an early reservation for 5pm.  Just so you know, because we didn’t, the restaurant does not open it’s doors and a valet is not available a second before 5pm.  We learned the hard way on this intensely cold evening.  All of this was forgotten though, when the clock struck five and we entered the magical space that is Gracie’s.

We were seated in a cozy intimate corner and immediately one of our waiters came over to introduce himself and take our drink orders.  He told us about the drink special of the night, the Black Apricot, a cocktail containing whiskey and St. Germain.  Sounded good to me!  As we admired the elegant, charming, and whimsical decor that I adore about Gracie’s, we watched as the dining room began to fill up.  Our early arrival was met with a quiet restaurant with just several other tables of people, but shortly after the restaurant began to fill up quickly.

Soon after we placed our orders the first of a couple amuse-bouches arrived:  a pickled Italian salad consisting of pickled cauliflower and carrots.  It was sweet and tangy, the vegetables had a nice crunch.  Before we knew it the bread basket got around to us and we had a choice between a red onion and rosemary focaccia, cranberry sourdough, classic french bread, and my favorite, the honey glazed beer bread.  The rich and creamy butter speckled with sea salt was delightful on each of the bread choices.  We had a chance to sample all four by sharing.

My boyfriend and I both had the turnip soup as an appetizer.  Large bowls were presented before us containing duck fat turnips, pickled apples, and crispy confit while waitstaff came to our sides and poured the liquid portion of the soup in thick, steaming, steady streams into our bowls.  The soup was divine and our favorite part of the meal.  After we finished the soup, the second amuse-bouche arrived:  a grapefruit and ginger sorbet.  Nice and refreshing – the perfect palate cleanser.  Next came our entrees.  He opted for the rigatoni campagnaro while I got the duck.  Both were excellent.  The pasta came in a large portion and was the ultimate bowl of comfort.  The duck was a smaller portion and a touch more refined.  Lastly, for dessert he ordered the chocolate cheesecake and I chose a honey and banana bread pudding.

If you like coffee, the coffee here is not to be missed.  It truly was the best cup of coffee I have had in a very long time.  Rich, full bodied, and almost velvety, with cocoa notes.  One sip and my boyfriend said, “Wow, this is really good coffee.  It tastes like the coffee I had in Paris.”  Each serving of coffee comes in it’s own french press containing about two or so cups worth of coffee, creamer and demerara sugar on the side.  The coffee is from New Harvest Coffee Roasters, which is located in Pawtucket, RI. They use sustainable practices and source directly from small coffee farms in South and Central America. The coffee beens used are sourced from Costa Rica.

This coffee is sold at Ellie’s, Gracie’s new bakery down the street that recently had a soft opening.  I will be sure to pay a visit next time I am in town.  If by now my review doesn’t  sufficiently describe how much I love this place, maybe this will:  at one point in the night I said to my boyfriend, “Honey, I hope that in the future we will have two daughters so we can name them Gracie and Ellie.”  He just rolled his eyes a little, but I was completely serious.

By the time we finished dessert we were stuffed.  We couldn’t even dream of having another bite of food.  Just  then two maple cranberry macarons appeared at our table.  Our last little treat…or so we thought.  We savored the airy little French cookies, paid the bill, and headed out to the valet.  After the valet pulled up the car he officially concluded our evening by handing us a small, simply but elegantly wrapped package containing two chocolate chip cookies for the road.  Like everything else, they were delicious.

And that, my friends, is why Gracie’s is my favorite.

Thank you Nadiv, Eric, and the rest of the staff for another exquisite evening!

194 Washington St
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 272-7811

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