Modern Bistro

Modern Bistro - Cumberland RI

Modern Bistro – Cumberland RI

During the 1980’s, American speculation suggested that fine French dining would displace its haughty attitudes with a more customer centric preference for lighter, more flexible and less provincial cuisine.  The birth of the American bistro was beginning to rise in popularity as restaurateurs began to weave the elegance of traditional French cuisine into the welcoming informalities of neighborhood restaurants.

Paris Picture - Modern Bistro

Paris Picture – Modern Bistro

The American Bistro therefore operates as our beloved caméléon café because casual, simple, elegant, romantic, affordable, fresh, creative and fun are all adjectives that can be used to describe the same restaurant.

The Modern Bistro in Cumberland, RI is a perfect fit within the community. The free-standing converted dining room is a welcoming space that mixes a bit of Parisian campiness with simplicity.  The menu offers a respectable selection of breakfast and lunch choices, and primarily focuses on locally/seasonally sourced ingredients.  In keeping with tradition, Modern Bistro  offers several creative crêpe varieties like Lemon & NY Style Ricotta for the sweet, and a fresh garden Ratatouille filled for the savory!

Modern's BLT

Modern’s BLT

Modern's BBQ Pulled Chicken

Modern’s BBQ Pulled Chicken

The strength from within the menu appears to be their artistic grilled sandwich selections. Modern Bistro  understands that the foundation that separates good sandwiches from great ones is the bread.  The freshest and most inventive ingredient combinations will always be overshadowed by the inadequacies of the fillings holder.  Modern Bistro uses freshly baked and crunchy sourdoughs, ciabattas, ryes, brioches, and a standout California bread (apricots, walnuts and figs).

On the recommendation of the owner Sabriea, we ordered Sabriea’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese (caramelized pears, baby spinach, Fontina, cheddar, with a fig spread) on the wickedly delicious California bread.  My thought was that if  a sandwich is named after its owner and it stinks, it could be a downward slide from that point! As expected and delivered, it was delicious and worthy of its namesake.

DaisyAdditionally, we ordered Modern’s BLT (applewood smoked bacon, vine ripened tomatoes, brushed with fresh herbed olive oil, baby spinach and fresh mozzarella with a smoked tomato mayo – on sourdough).  Applewood smoked bacon speaks to me, and is often difficult to pass up when creatively paired with complementary ingredients. The sandwiches are all accompanied by crunchy house-made chips and pickled cucumbers!

It is vital that we support our local restaurants through our patronage. There is a secure sense of community we feel when we congregate with friends and neighbors through meals, and often times, the restaurant owners are as “local” as you and me. The Modern Bistro is geographically poised to culinarily impact both the local and business communities, and my hope is that they continue to find ways to keep it fresh, affordable and creative.

Modern Bistro| 4077 Mendon Road | Cumberland, RI | (401) 658-0449

GPub

Gastronomy literally means “the art or law of regulating the stomach.”

Gpub SIgnageThe term “gastropub” is a mash-up of the terms gastronomy and pub, coined by David Eyre and Mike Belben when they took over The Eagle pub in Clerkenwell, London. At that time British pubs were primarily drinking establishments and little emphasis placed on the serving of food. The idea of elevating the quality of the beer and food menus in order to secure existing customers, as well as attract new ones, reinvigorated the dining culture.

The gastropub phenomenon took off in the United States in the early 1990s as an artful alternative to the gut filling, alcohol absorbing cold Ploughman’s lunch (cheese, chutney, bread and pickled onions). The appeal of the gastropub is its ability to provide a comfortable, casual and welcoming atmosphere where socializing, laughing, eating great food, drinking micro-brews, shooting pool, throwing darts, and game day cheering is standard!

GPub  Smokerd BBQ Wings

GPub Smokerd BBQ Wings

Providence’s exciting down-city dining scene has been further enhanced by its newest ultra-fun, ultra-cool gastropub – GPub. The restaurant occupies the basement of the former Providence Gas Company and designed around the buildings original 1920′s framework. The speak-easy type atmosphere adds an exclusiveness you’ll feel while walking into the mysterious underground abyss. Take heed however, because that solemnness is quickly eliminated by the wicked party going on below street level!

GPub maintains an impressive beer selection broken down by taps, bottles and tins! I appreciated the fact that each beer had a corresponding brewing location and an ABV% (alcohol by volume). It makes sense to know which state is determined to wreck me by round three!

The menu pays homage to traditional pub food through its inclusion of snacks, starters, burgers and hot dogs, but in a completely artistic way.  The Chips & Spread are house made, with smoked paprika and cheddar ale spread.  The Slider Trio include a pulled- pork, lobster roll and a burger.  The Pigs in a Blanket is wild boar sausage, Kansas City mustard, pickled shallots, camembert cheese, and black pepper on a biscuit. Take that Cheers!

GPub Smoked Turkey Sandwich

GPub Smoked Turkey Sandwich

The Eiffel Tower Burger would make Parisians weep with pride. A double patty burger with mushrooms, caramelized onions, truffle mayo, gruyere cheese, and topped with a fried egg that delivers a win for the French! By contrast, the generally ordinary Smoked Turkey Sandwich turned out to be a shining example of what an excellent chef can create with simple ingredients. The fresh roasted turkey with smoked bacon mayo and camembert cheese was an excellent combination within a perfectly buttered -grilled sandwich.

From the location, to the celebratory atmosphere, to the outstanding food and beverage menu, GPub is the reason why people get excited about going out for the evening! I’m not sure if the “G” in GPub stands for Gastro Pub or for the Gas Company building in which it operates, but to me, the “G” stands for “GO!”

61 Orange St. | Providence, Rhode Island 02903 | Tel. 401-632-4782 | Speak Easy + Eat Well

Providence Coal Fired Pizza

I’m not entirely convinced that just because you can put any topping on pizza, you necessarily should! Additionally, I remain contemplative on whether certain ingredient combinations balance more harmoniously when subject to the wrath of a coal-fired inferno. And finally, is the quality of pizza crust really so damn important?

Providence Coal Fired Pizza Signage

Providence Coal Fired Pizza Signage

Well, the owners at Providence Coal Fired Pizza clearly take these questions to heart. Utilizing an eco-friendly, custom-built oven that fires up at a face-scorching 900°F, their chefs can lock-in flavor complexities, while producing an envious crispy crust that maintains a terrific chew. Most of the cooks working the ovens have no eyebrows, but facial hair is overrated anyway.

Pumpkinhead

Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead Draft

Providence Coal Fired Pizza is a welcome addition to the downcity restaurant landscape because it maintains several very appealing qualities. The atmosphere is energetic and fun. The knowledgeable staff is welcoming, attentive and extremely proud of their entire operation. The menu price points are exceedingly reasonable for its location, and most importantly, the food is absolutely worth writing about!

Coal-Fired Wings

Coal-Fired Wings

Our party of four started the evening off with some drinks and the Coal-Fired Wings (sea salt, rosemary, and roasted onions). I spotted another table getting this starter and was immediately drawn to the fire roasted caramelized onions blanketing the wings as if it were sheltering them from the light. The wings were perfectly spiced and a bit smoky. The onions were mild, sweet and had just enough char to remind you where you were eating.

Rocket Pizza - Pancetta and Peppers

Rocket Pizza – Pancetta and Peppers

 

Our entrees included the sharing of two pizzas that seemed to speak to us. You could say that the pizzas chose us, but that’s neither here nor there.  The first was a Nightly Special which included rocket (arugula), pancetta and banana peppers. The second was the Broccoli Rabe (EVOO, sausage, ricotta and provolone cheeses).  The rocket was fresh and peppery, the rabe was not bitter, the ricotta cheese was creamy, and the sausage was scratch made.  Ring the bell, we have winners.

Broccoli Rabe - Sausage and Ricotta

Broccoli Rabe – Sausage and Ricotta

The desert menu was limited, but we were quick to order the oven-fired Fresh Berry Cobbler special, topped with crunchy sweet oats and a side of whip cream. Simple fresh ingredients that imparted a beautiful sauce under intense heat – made the desert a standout.

So, in response to my own initial questions; just because you can put any topping on pizza doesn’t mean you should, holds true.   Providence Coal Fired Pizza will harmoniously balance the combinations for you, and trusting them to do so might be the best decision you’ll make the entire evening.  And finally is the quality of pizza crust really so damn important? Perhaps you should stop by Providence Coal Fired Pizza and make the damn decision yourself!

 

Providence Coal Fired Pizza  385 Westminster Street Providence, RI 02903 401.454.7499