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Dining Review: Tavolo in Smithfield, Rhode Island

tavolo 1Last week we stopped in at Tavolo Wine Bar & Tuscan Grill in Smithfield, RI.  We were armed with a groupon, hungry and thirsty, and completely unaware of what to expect.  Surprise can be good and bad.  Let’s see which way this one went.

The restaurant is in a rather interesting spot with multiple buildings housing restaurants and other businesses.  Tavolo itself shares a building with a Mexican Cantina.  Outside are some tables and umbrellas, but we were heading in for a comfy table.

When you walk in you immediately know that wine is a centerpiece of the story here.  The wall in front of you is completely covered in

The entry wall

The entry wall

wooden wine case tops, with some impressive names among them.  A sign to the right announces the Monday bottle special, when regularly priced wines are 50% off.  We liked the first impression.  Upon sitting down we were greeted warmly and handed a great wine list.  Inside was a huge craft beer selection, a very impressive wine by the glass list (including Silver Oak and Nickel & Nickel Cabernet!) and an extensive selection of wines from around the world, with a heavy emphasis on California Cabernet.  It’s no wonder this restaurant has received an Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator two years in a row.

Since we felt inclined to stay a while, we didn’t start with wine, but rather had cocktails.  Both were well

Excellent Calamari

Excellent Calamari

concocted, and satisfying.  We paired them with the Calamari, always a good barometer, and this was particularly well done.  The rings and tentacles were tender and flavorful, served with some hot peppers.

Just in case you were wondering, the food menu was equally impressive, with every Italian staple you could think of.  We opted for the cheese ravioli and the frutti di mare.  Classics to be sure, but like the calamari a good barometer of any Italian restaurant.  To go with the entrees we dove into the extensive wine by the glass list and ordered the  2012 L’ecole 41 Merlot and 2013 Chappellet Signature Cab.

These are not wines you would usually have an option to sample by the glass.  The L’ecole Merlot was a dark purple red, with nose of dark fruit, a little oaky underbrush and hint of tar.  Full bodied, this was a luscious wine with rich mixed fruit, structured tannins and a very long finish.  Outstanding Merlot to be sure.

The Chappellet Cab is a classic Napa Cab.  The color was a vibrant purple red.  On the nose and palate there was an abundance of fruit with currants prominent.  This is rich and long.

And yes, there was food.  The plate of ravioli (cheese) was in a flavorful sauce, nicely cooked and filling.  The  Frutti di Mari was over

Frutti di Mare

Frutti di Mare

cappellini with a spicy marinara.  It was light on sauce, which was good.  The seafood (mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp and scallops) had a chance to shine.  For dessert we opted for the classic vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee.

tavolo 7Our overall impression of Tavolo was excellent.   The staff here is well trained, friendly and very professional  We’re going back, and at some point we’re going on a Monday, because when you combine 50% off with a very deep and reasonably priced wine list, then good things can happen.

Out wallet is out for Tavolo.  We think yours should be as well.

The particulars:

Tavolo

970 Douglas Pike
Smithfield, RI 02917
(401) 349-4979
leonard@tavolowinebar.com
 
A votre santé!

Tavolo Wine Bar & Tuscan Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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