|Glen, watching over the Dorrance|
So, time has passed, Jesse has been working nonstop, and the Dorrance has received some great press from the Providence Journal. Being the good doobies that we are, the bigger half and I agreed to come down to Rhodie yesterday in order to help his mother put up her Christmas tree, and decided that this would be an opportune time to pay a visit to the Dorrance.
At first glance, this place is gorgeous. It's obviously been renovated to bring out specific details in the architecture, but it also has this sort of old school Providence thing that keeps things upscale, but makes it simultaneously familiar and well... less snooty, I guess. Jesse gave us a quick tour of the space, which was broken up nicely by that wonderful long stage of a bar, and the grand upstairs space. That particular night, in the somewhat cordoned off event space to the right of the bar, there was actually a dual Pogash book launch party going on, featuring Mr Boston Bartender's Guide 75th Anniversary Edition and Bloody Mary. Yet another sequestered private table that they reserve for private events and dinners could be found all the way to the left of the restaurant, slightly toward the back. All in all, the entire restaurant didn't seem as cavernous as I had originally thought it might be, mainly because someone took the time to break up the space in a way that still makes each area feels intimate.
|Jesse and the Perlini|
|Passion fruit Cocktail|
With our cocktails safely in hand, the food began to emerge from the kitchen, and as with the drinks, we simply told them to bring what they thought were their greatest hits. The constructed menu was delicious.
|Cured Bonito Special|
2. Cured bonito. An item not normally on the menu appeared. House-cured bonito, thinly sliced, and delicately placed over tender baby endive leaves, scattered with shaved radish, and spotted with what Jesse later told us was a reduction of lemon and olive oil to produce a kind of aioli. Another delicious dish. The cured bonito was briny and salty, with the texture of what you might imagine the world's most delicate air dried fish jerky to be. Each bite combined with the sharpness of the thin radishes, and the only slightly bitter flavor of those little raw endive leaves gave the dish a complex profile, all brought together with the creamy lemon sauce. This is a dish I have not had before, and worked perfectly together.
|Hen of the Woods|
|Baby Sweet Potato|
|Roasted Blue Fish|
Prior to the meat courses arriving, Jesse arrived with two wine glasses, and gave us each a little pour of a nice Pinot Noir to accompany the red meat that we were about to enjoy. Yet another sign of a great bartender who knows his chef, and the flavors that can only be enhanced by a nice glass of wine.
|Sirloin with Carrot, Marrow Jus|
God damn what a meal. At this point we knew that there was no way to walk away from the decadence just enjoyed in Providence without having a look at the dessert menu. Plus, Jesse had promised a very unique original beverage that he had been saving just for us. So we decided on the parsnip panna cotta entry, which sounded delicious, and waited for Jesse to make boozy magic.
|Parsnip Panna Cotta|
|Jesse's Smoky Negroni Smith|
The meal that we had at the Dorrance exceeded expectations. It was easily the best meal that I've had in Providence. If it were located in Cambridge, it would definitely be a major part of the food scene there, giving all other heavy hitters a little healthy competition. But because the restaurant is located in Providence, uniquely preserves the history of the neighborhood, and takes pride in being both old school in decor and playfully flavor forward in food and cocktail, I would be shocked if the Dorrance doesn't grow in popularity to become the most talked about restaurant in Providence, and later, New England. What an incredible meal.
60 Dorrance St
Providence, RI 02903