1150 Oak Bar & Grill

Review by Jay Costigan –  Special contributor to Fork in the Rhode

1150 Oak Bar & GrillDue to limited time, planning and a desire for a beer, I luckily found myself at the 1150 Oak Bar & Grill Wednesday evening. Being familiar with the group that formerly owned and operated the Rock Junction in Coventry, I assumed the quality of the food would stand the test of relocation.

 

1150 OB&G  maintains a respectable beer selection of about 12 on tap, as well as some varied bottle choices. I ordered my “go-to” Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA to help me think better as I perused their pub menu.

When narrowing down my burger selection to two, I made the only rational decision a foodie could make – by ordering them both! It made complete sense because why deprivation is not in my DNA. The first selection was the Oak  Burger;  a perfectly prepared medium, well seasoned  ground beef burger with bacon, Cajun mayo, onion rings and jack cheese. The other was their 50/50 Burger which combined ground beef and chorizo with red peppers and jalapeño mayo. The Portuguese gods were smiling down on me with this one! Both burgers were full flavored, juicy and grilled to the correct temperature. It is surprising that the issue of internal temperature  presents such a challenge to many chefs/cooks, but I’m happy to report that 1150 OB&G got it right!

 

All burgers are accompanied with a choice of fries or onion rings. Notably, the fries were freshly cut Idaho potatoes and well seasoned. The onion rings were even better; fried crispy, not greasy and tasty.

 

1150 Oak Bar & Grill has become my “go-to” place for affordable, quick and well prepared dinner on those crazy  Wednesday nights that I play chauffer to my kids while shuffling them through the city of Cranston.

 

Oh, did  I also mention that they book some pretty solid music acts? Check this venue out and bring friends!

 

 

1150 Oak Bar & Grill |1150 Oak lawn Ave|Cranston, Rhode Island|(401) 654-4466

Fellini Pizzeria

Review by Sandi Cook –  Special contributor to Fork in the Rhode

Thanksgiving Pizza - Fellini Pizzeria

Thanksgiving Pizza – Fellini Pizzeria

Thanksgiving Pizza comes but once a year, and man is it worth the wait!  Every November my anticipation for this delicious slice of turkey day wonderment grows until the day before Thanksgiving arrives when I can get my special fix of this comfort food. This special pie has been on the menu for 10 years and is so popular that folks order their pies days in advance to be sure they can get their hands on one in time for Thanksgiving Eve dinner. Lines begin at lunch and get so long at times that the friendly staff provides a large thermos of hot chocolate and cups on a table outside to make the wait more comfortable. 

Fellini Specialty Pizzas

Fellini Specialty Pizzas

Although Fellini Pizzeria makes this special pie available only at Thanksgiving, they are also scoring it big with their over-sized thin crusted specialty pizzas such as the Kitchen Sink [ Penne pasta, garlic, parmesan, peppercorn, roasted red peppers, scallions, pepperoni & feta cheese], and the Turkey Club [ Smoked turkey breast w/ a creamy honey mustard sauce, topped w/ tomato, onion & bacon].  

So even with this year’s Nor’easter bearing down on Little Rhody, we made our way to Fellini’s to wait in line with all the other loyal Fellini Followers to get our slice of heaven. 

We arrived late in the afternoon and felt fortunate that the line was manageable. Surprisingly we were still able to order a pie, but shortly after we ordered, the line began to grow and they announced that only slices remained because whole pies were sold out for the rest of the day. Whew…. 

So what is Thanksgiving Pizza? It’s whole wheat, thin crusted pie layered with all the holiday fixings that Thanksgiving dinner is famous for. First they spread a generous layer of mozzarella cheese onto the hand thrown dough.  Next, they pipe just the right amount of mashed potato over the cheese. Then, chunks of oven-roasted turkey are spread onto the pie along with spoonfuls of stuffing, and topped with a generous drizzle of turkey gravy. Cranberry sauce is optional and provided once the pie is served.  

Our large pie arrived hot and hearty. The cranberry sauce slathered on the slices was a sweet compliment to the savory flavor of sage in the stuffing along with the salty smoothness of the turkey gravy and mashed potatoes.  The thin crust was perfectly crispy, with a great chew to it.  It held up quite well considering the weight of the toppings. Fellinis figured out the perfect proportion of toppings considering the slices reheated perfectly later that night.  

Fellini Pizzeria

Fellini Pizzeria

We asked if all the Thanksgiving Day toppings were scratch-made, but Fellinis graciously and humorously avoided answering our question by saying that it was a secret recipe.  Regardless, the unique pie is a total holiday winner and I recommend making Thanksgiving Pizza a yearly tradition in November and the rest of the menu a tradition during the rest of the year!

 

Fellini Pizzeria 166 Wickenden Street, Providence, RI 02903 401-751-6737

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