Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rasoi on the east side and and the new West Side Diner

After living more than six years in Providence, we finally got to Rasoi, arguably one of Rhode Island's better restaurants and perhaps THE best Indian restaurant in greater Providence. It was last Friday evening, we had no reservations and the place was packed when we walked in the door. The hostess said there was a short wait or we could sit at the bar -- we chose the bar and it couldn't have been more perfect.

Although swamped with drinks and food the bartender was not only attentive but helpful in the extreme: He suggested cocktail specials for the evening and we give both two very big thumbs up -- I loath martinis as a rule but the special had (among other things) caramel vodka and apple cider. . . delicious!

When we asked about the nan bread for an app -- they have a variety of flavors - the bartender asked us what we were going to have with dinner (chicken). He suggested pairing the bread just like wine and he was right, of course: we ended up going with rosemary nan for our chicken dishes. Perfect!

We also tasted a couple of whites -- again at the bartender's suggestion -- to see which we would prefer with the meal and opted for a crisp, slightly tart sauvignon blank.


Cauliflower 65


chicken kebabs with mashed potatoes and lentils


Westside Diner

Located just a block from our house on Westminster the Westside Diner is only open for breakfast and lunch and that hasn't really fit in with our schedules. But when a pair of friends blew through Providence on their way from Vermont to Louisiana we took the opportunity to check the place out.

OK, the basics first: the diner itself is very 1950ish and, we thought, so was the food. But more of that in a moment.

Seating is a bit awkward for the newcomer: no sign to wait or seat yourselves and the staff didn't make things any clearer, at first. Anyway, after a few minutes a booth opened up and the four of us grabbed it.

The booths, tables and seats all moved, allowing flexibility I suppose. The seats we thought quite uncomfortable -- and I know I was sitting directly on springs. I noticed that while the diner was completely refurbished, from a total mess last year, there wee hints of scrimping: the top of the long counter appeared to have an old piece of linoleum (?) instead of new. The edges were curling and there were areas where the top was nearly gone, exposing the brown under layer.

The service was friendly and attentive.

The lunch menu was fairly limited: a few sandwiches, soup of the day and a few hot plate specials. It's the breakfast menu that take sup nearly two pages but they had stopped serving breakfast at 11:30 (they're only open until 2pm).

The four of us opted for sandwiches: I had the classic patty melt on toasted rye bread with 1000 Island dressing. Ed had the burger club (interesting), Chris had a wrap and Susie had a turkey sandwich. I was the only one who opted for the fries, the other 3 went for the homemade cole slaw.

house made cole slaw

turkey club

classic patty melt

house made apple pie -- not good

chocolate pudding -- also house made and also not good
Quality of the food was good; both burgers were prepared as requested and tasty. The slaw, I was informed was quite good and surpassed expectations. The portions were just right as well. Prices ran about $8 per sandwich with sides, which we thought not too bad, particularly in Providence.

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