Julian’s Providence

Scott and Dave’s Breakfast on Broadway!

On a weekend day that beckons you outdoors to enjoy the terrific spring weather, there is nothing like a great breakfast to start off the day. Recently the RhodeCrew has been venturing out of our quaint little towns and heading downtown for some eclectic breakfast fare.  On my way to a restaurant in Providence a few weeks ago I couldn’t help but notice what looked like a line for Springsteen tickets (back in the 80’s) forming around an unpretentious store front on Broadway. There weren’t any large signs that distinguished this place aside from two red neon lit “J”s on the left and right sides of the front windows – welcome to Julian’s.

Julian’s Providence is no stranger to the Providence culinary scene as evidenced by their wall of accolades in the back of the dining area.  At Fork in the Rhode we try very hard to find “off the beaten path” places, and at times it can be challenging in our small state. Sometimes we go against our mission statement and review a place that despite its popularity is too tempting to pass up!

Breakfast this morning was a memorable experience. We went right for the bar so we could see all the action in this open kitchen establishment. Having a super-friendly waitperson like Sam was an extra-special treat. We truly appreciated how very engaging, knowledgeable and passionate he was about Julian’s. Having a proud restaurant staff is one of the keys to the success of the business. When going to a new restaurant, we make every effort to request the “Signature” dish or at least one of the house specialties, and if we wind up just an “order taker,” it really takes away from our experience.  We know it’s only a meal, but we like to get pumped up and excited about the incoming, unique gastronomical encounter!  Sam was quite an ambassador for our first Julian’s experience – and we felt fortunate.

Breakfast for Scott today was from the daily Special’s Board – Chipotle Honey-Grilled Shrimp Benedict with baby spinach, smoked onions over warm cornbread with a scallion hollandaise.  Accompanying this dish was a side of Beer Bratwurst Hash which included white beans, Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. The unique spice profile of the shrimp was so unique that I had to reluctantly share them with another RhodeCrew member because flavors this good must be communal. The poached eggs were cooked perfectly, and it was such a nice change to have it served on a bed of fresh-baked cornbread instead of the usual English muffin. This hash was also another unique treat that we doubt you will find anywhere else.

“We smoke our own salmon,” Sam said, as David ordered the Nova Scotia Benedict faster than you could say “lox.” This beautifully smoked and sliced happiness was carefully laid out across freshly thick-cut Italian bread and topped with two perfectly poached eggs with a smooth and creamy hollandaise blanketing it all. Although a plain potato hash accompanies breakfast, he chose the Bleu Cheese-Spinach specialty hash from the menu. The chef starts with the traditional grilled hash and incorporates the specialty ingredients before browning it on all sides. What a winner of a breakfast this turned out to be!

As we watched unique flights of draft beer being ordered with breakfast, we felt a little left out – so we ordered one (yes it was 9:00 AM…don’t judge). On the recommendation of Sam, our flight included the following:

  1.  Saison Dupont (Belgium), a dry blond beer, with aromas of hops, marked bitterness and a bit flowery in taste. Alcohol content: 6.5% vol.
  2.  B.B.C. Imperial Stout (MA), a rich, smooth and creamy malt stout with hints of chocolate, licorice and coffee. Alcohol content: 8.5% vol.
  3.  Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse (Germany), a deep gold dry hopped Weissbock with a light and sweet aroma. The taste was very smooth with hints of citrus, wheat, and fruit.  Alcohol content: 8.2% vol.
  4.  Hofstetten Saphir Bock (Austria), a cloudy golden-yellow dry-hopped beer with a smooth malt flavor. Slight hints of lemon. Alcohol content: 7.4% vol. 

Julian’s offers 20+ globetrotting drafts (Belgium, U.S., Japan, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Austria and Norway) from which to sample. In addition their extensive bottled beer, wine and other spirits menu is worthy of your interest.   

It has been said that Julian’s Providence is a Hipster hang-out. The RhodeCrew assigned to this restaurant was curious what that meant exactly, so we looked it up:

Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. 

Our response – we wished we hadn’t wasted our time looking it up! If you are in a “subculture” of eaters seeking out a great food and drinks in a very cool looking restaurant with an attentive and educated staff, get over to Julian’s Providence as soon as entirely possible.

We’re not kidding get your shoes on…..we’ll start the car!

  Julian’s Providence 318 Broadway Providence, RI (401) 861- 1770

2011 Top 10 New York System Weiner Challenge!

What is it about Rhode Island’s love affair with New York System Hot Weiners that keeps them in the spotlight year after year? Locals affectionately refer to them as  Hot Weenies, Belly Busters, Gaggers, Gaggas, Systems and my newly created favorite – “Colon Blowers.”

Wien-O-Rama - Cranston

One of the most comprehensive explanations regarding the history of the N.Y. System was from Christopher Martins “Whence Came The First New York System?”

Cosmic Steak, Pizza & Weiners - Warwick

According to the article, the origins of the “New York System” can be traced back to Greek immigrants whose first experience in America was based largely in the Buroughs of NYC – namely Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

Sparkey's Coney Island System - East Providence

Although speculation surrounding the “Original”  N.Y. System/Coney Island location in Rhode Island will continue to be debated, the benefactors of this culinary pariah continue consuming them without a major concern.

Original New York System - Providence

Rod's Grill - Warren

The RhodeCrew (along with help from 30+ “N. Y. System loving”  judges with iron stomachs ) set out to find the best of the best “Hot Wiener in the Rhode” – ordered “all the way” (meat sauce, chopped onion, mustard and celery salt).

M & M New York System Restaurant - East Providence

The ForkintheRhode.com judges based their results on the following scoring categories: Appearance, Steamed Bun, Wiener Texture, Meat Sauce, Onions and Overall One-Bite Taste.

Lumber-Jacks-Pizza 'n Wieners - North Smithfield

Having sampled over 200 hot wieners from over 37 different locations statewide, we can honestly conclude that the  existing love affair may not merely be the System’s individual components, but the sum of its parts.

North Kingstown House of Pizza

The overall One-Bite Taste is where everything about the product works together for a very unique and addictive experience.

Olneyville New York System - Providence

We can tell you that many of these community based establishments have been around for years and their multi-generational customer base are fiercely loyal. The atmosphere in these restaurants is just as their customers have come to expect – familiar, uncomplicated and friendly. The menu prices affordable.

Ferrucci's Original New York System - West Warwick

The bar stool counters encourage talking to your neighbors, and are still as popular today as they were years ago.

Any good Rhode Islander knows how to order – “2 all-the-way with fries and a large coffee milk!” In that moment, life doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

In alphabetical order, here are the top 10 locations where the Hot Wieners were scored the highest:

  • Cosmic Steak, Pizza & Weiners
  • Ferrucci’s Original New York System
  • Lumber-Jacks-Pizza ‘n Wieners
  • M & M New York System Restaurant
  • North Kingstown House of Pizza
  • Olneyville New York System
  • Original New York System
  • Rod’s Grill
  • Sparky’s Coney Island System
  • Wein-O-Rama

Feel free to sample and judge N.Y. Systems Wieners in the following locations as we did. We “double-dog-dare” you!

  • A&W Restaurant                                                              Greenville
  • Barbara’s Place                                                                 Woonsocket
  • Bucci’s                                                                                  Lincoln
  • Connie and Nikki’s Restaurant and Creamery     Pawtucket
  • Cosmic Steak, Pizza & Weiners                                   Warwick
  • Dot’s Dairy Bar & Grille                                                 Pawtucket
  • Ferrucci’s Original New York System                     West Warwick
  • Fidas Restaurant                                                              Providence
  • George’s Grill New York System                                Cranston
  • George’s Pizza ‘N Pub                                                      Burrillville
  • Harry’s New York System                                            Warwick
  • Hoxie New York System                                               Warwick
  • Jesse’s New York System II                                         West Warwick
  • John’s New York Systems                                             Providence
  • Kip’s Restaurant                                                                Pawtucket
  • Lumber-Jacks-Pizza ‘n Wieners                                  North Smithfield
  • M & M New York System Restaurant                       East Providence
  • Moonlight House of Weiners                                       Woonsocket
  • New York Lunch                                                               Woonsocket
  • Nick’s New York System                                                West Warwick
  • North Kingstown House of Pizza                                North Kingstown
  • Oatley’s Family Restaurant                                          North Kingstown
  • Olneyville N.Y. System                                                 Providence
  • Original New York System                                           Providence
  • Peter’s Coney Island                                                       Warwick
  • Plouffe’s Cup n Saucer                                                    Pawtucket
  • Right Spot Diner                                                               Pawtucket
  • Riverside Kitchen New York System                       East Providence
  • Rod’s Grill                                                                            Warren
  • Sam’s New York System                                                North Providence
  • Santoro’s Pizza                                                                   Coventry
  • Snoopy’s Diner                                                                   North Kingstown
  • Sparky’s Coney Island System                                    East Providence
  • Stykee’s                                                                                Warwick
  • Taso’s N.Y. System                                                          Johnston
  • Weiner Genie                                                                     Lincoln
  • Wein-O-Rama                                                                    Cranston

Note: On behalf of  the RhodeCrew, we would like to offer our sincerest thanks to the volunteer judges who helped make this N.Y. System Weiner Challenge a success!

  • Andy, Beth, Bill W, Chris F, Don L, Ed M, Eddy M, Erik M, Gary B, Jeannie M, Jerry D, Jimmy B, John A, Jack A, Jordan F, Krysten R, Lisa C, Lou M Jr & Sr, Mike D, Natalie F, Nick V, Claire P, Rae C, Rich B, Rich E, Richard C, Rob T, Roberta N, Rosie W, Ryan D, Tammy L, Tom M, Vin O, Vinny L, and YQ.

O Dinis Restaurant

Scott and Dave’s Review

Did you know that the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (defeated ballot amendment!) holds the distinct honor of maintaining the highest percentage of Portuguese population in the country? From a culinary prospective, that’s a huge advantage.  Our little state is an ethnic restaurant powerhouse in the Portuguese arena.

The Rhode Crew was fortunate to be joined by our friends Rose and Judy for this meal. Both sisters are first generation Portuguese Americans and had recommended O Dinis for our review. Once Rose and Judy began ordering for us, we just sat back, tucked in a napkin and let the adventure unfold. For those of you who are without Portuguese friends to help navigate your culinary waters, it about time you started looking!

Here’s our recommendation, add O Dinis to your short list of places to eat! O what a find!  The sauces alone are worthy of a stand-alone entrée with a side of fresh Portuguese rolls for dipping. Let’s get right into some of our favorites:

Bacalhau na Brasa ($14.95) Grilled salted Cod with boiled potatoes topped with garlic and onions sautéed in olive oil. The fish texture was smooth, white, firm and perfectly executed.  This is an excellent menu choice that must not be overlooked.

Carne de Porco à Alentejana ($13.95) – Marinated Pork and fried potatoes with steamed Littlenecks. This was a great dish. You can’t go wrong with the ingredients: marinated pork, potatoes, littlenecks, whole olives and roasted peppers. There was no skimping on the marinated pork as the picture will attest. Everything worked well together. We’ll admit that our experience with this dish is limited and believe that the correct tenderness of the pork could have been a touch more tender. Still, this dish was very good and a great value for under $15.

Espetada de Camarão e Lulas ($13.95) – Grilled Shrimp, Squid and perfectly charred peppers on a Kabob. Ours came with sliced squid – instead of rings, the squid pieces were the ends of the squid tube –obviously much easier to skewer! This was all served over a bed of rice in the phenomenal shrimp sauce (a light red, garlic and lemon concoction). Everything was tender and not overcooked. Watch out for those shoestring fries, they’re very addicting!

Bife à Casa ($13.95) – Pan-Seared Sirloin steak in a beer and garlic sauce served with French fries, an egg and rice. Our only issue with this dish was that we had to share. There’s only so much egg you can savor with steak when you’re sharing with 5 people. Regardless, we were very impressed with the portion size and the thickness of the steak. It had to be greater than a half inch in thickness and the tenderness was perfect.  We have had quite a few ethnic steak dishes priced around the $10-$15 range and most were ¼ to 1/3” in thickness and usually on the well-done side. The brown sauce was a great compliment to the dish, only enhancing the elements and not overwhelming the main attraction.

We ordered a superb Portuguese red wine – Quinta de Cabriz – Dão ($16.00) which was well balanced, full fruit, and aromatic. A escolha perfeita para acompanhar o nosso almoço (The perfect choice to accompany our lunch)!

Our waitress Isabel (Queen Isabel – as she requested we address her) advised us that all the desserts on the menu were terrific, and judging by what we ordered, the “Queen” may have been right all along. The Bolo De Bolacha (Portuguese Cookie Cake) which included Maria Brand Biscuits, butter, sugar, coffee all baked into a very delicious dessert choice. Additionally we ordered Queijadas de Feijao (Portuguese Bean Tarts) which were absolutely a favorite.  This pie was sweet, dense, and rich with hints of caramel throughout.

This was a great dining experience right down to the very friendly and engaging team of waitresses. O Dinis has that down-home authenticity and atmosphere one would expect from our state’s diverse, ethnic culinary treasures. For those of you that are not Portuguese and are unfamiliar with the cuisine don’t hesitate to try this jewel. For those of you who are Portuguese; “bravo, muito bem!”

579 Warren Avenue
East Providence, RI 02914-2816
(401) 438-3769