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Dining Review – Gracie’s in Providence, RI

gracies 8We have enjoyed going to Gracie’s periodically for many years.  It has always delivered a qualityLogo dining experience, with excellent food and a good ambiance.  They also allow you to bring your own wine, albeit with a $25 corkage fee.  We had a couple of nice French reds in our wine bag this past weekend and met some friends at Gracie’s to open them.  Here’s what happened:

At first it was a little weird.  We waited in the entryway after the valet took the two cars.  The hostess seemed about to seat us two or three times and then stopped and changed directions, going to someone else or walking away.  If you’ve been to Gracie’s you know the entry is not large, so it was getting a bit crowded as other parties arrived.  Then she waived at us to follow her, which we did, but only about ten feet as she stopped again at her station and started attending to something else.  We stood there.  She seemed to be a bit scattered.   Eventually another person got some menus and took us to a table.  This particular table represents one issue I have with Gracie’s and they really should do something about it.  It is right near the only bathroom on the main floor, so there are generally a person or two waiting right next to you.  Also, depending on which seat you have you might be looking directly into a serving area outside the kitchen with a large sink, dishes and assorted other things.  None of this is consistent with a top notch restaurant.  They really should not use this table at all.

We sat down but were not happy.  Then I happened to get the seat looking at the sink and I became even less happy.  We requested another table.  There was some confusion and the woman began placing the menus on the table, and we had to say again that we were not going to accept it.  Then we followed her to the front.  There was another four top we could see that was unoccupied and we asked to sit there.  After a moment when nothing happened another group came in and was seated there.  When we asked about that we were informed they had reserved that particular table.  This just didn’t seem reasonable.  Now it was about half an hour past our reservation time, and I was prepared to turn the corner and walk to Rosalina, located next door, and beg for a table.  Just at that moment another table was offered, and it was fine.  Any table in the restaurant would have been, other than the original one we were offered.

From there almost everything was excellent.  We popped our wines on the table and the Wine Educator at Gracie’s, Alan Freudeman, saw to getting us the proper glassware and expertly opened the bottles.  We had brought two 2005 French wines, one the Chateau Duhart Milon Bordeaux from Pauillac, and the other the 2005 Seigneurie de Posanges Santenay la Comme, a Premier Cru Burgundian Pinot Noir from the Cote de Beaune.  The Burgundy went wonderfully with our appetizers, and really was a fabulous wine with beautiful fruit, a touch of oak and a bit of spice.  It was delicious and very long. The Duhart Milon was also excellent, but a touch below the Burgundy.  It was a good wine night.

gracies 7

The hen’s egg and oxtail

The food was also pretty special, except for one exception we will highlight in a minute.  Appetizers were the hen’s egg with celery root and oxtail, turnips and carrots with some exotic Egyptian spices, potato gnocchi with rabbit and the squash soup.  Cheri had the squash soup and it was hearty and warming, with some interesting ingredients including duck tortellini and pickled radish that worked well.  I had the hen’s egg, and the oxtail was tender and flavorful with the soft egg.  The other two were received equally well.  Here we went four for four.

The halibut

The halibut

Main courses were almost as good, except Cheri’s halibut was over cooked, to the point I could tell just looking at it.  She also thought it lacked for flavor.  I had the Crescent Farms duck breast, served with wild rice and roasted root vegetables.  This dish is special, with the crispy skin perfectly rendered, a very rich flavor profile and just a hint of

Incredibly good duck

Incredibly good duck

the sour cherries coming through.  Our friends enjoyed the ribeye steak and the rigatoni campanaro, a dish with sweet and sour sausage. plum tomato and ricotta.

Overall the meal was excellent outside of the overcooked halibut.  The process of getting seated was strange and somewhat aggravating.  Service was good, but there were several small mishaps along the way.  It was not the well oiled machine we have been used to, but it was still very good.

With all the choices available in our area it will be a little while before we go back to Gracie’s.  We had an excellent meal for the most part, and the whole seating thing could be an aberration.  If you go we suggest you specifically tell them you DO NOT want the table in the back near the bathroom and waiter’s station.  Our wallet is still definitely out for drinks and appetizers at the bar.  We’ll be back for another try at dinner sometime in the future.

On a rating scale of 1-5 we’d have to give the hostess and service a 3 out of 5, which is not in any way a reflection on Alan the Wine Educator – he was excellent.  We’d give the food a 4 out of 5, and that would have been a perfect score if the Halibut had been properly cooked.

A votre santé!

The particulars:

Gracie’s

194 Washington Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
(401) 272-7811

Website: http://graciesprov.com/
Gracie's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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