Thursday, August 16, 2007

REVIEW: Tricia's Tropigrille- **** / $$

To think, I lived on or around the tiny island of Jamestown for over a decade and never went to Tricia's Tropigrille even once. I was stunned by the quality of the food and the prices are just amazing. While the prices aren't down as low as, say, TGI Friday's or Olive Garden, they're as close as I've ever seen in a place with such delicious food.

The atmosphere is totally unique. Lots of little touches make you feel tropical, and on a hot summer night the illusion is convincing enough. Importantly, there's nothing there that screams "kitsch," as with the horridly decorated interiors of major chain restaurants that so desperately try to convince you of their genuineness.

The pillow-strewn upstairs lounge feels more like some hookah bar, though. It's an experience, I'll tell you that much, and a joy to eat in. Still, the outside tables are where it's at. As night falls, it can get problematic if the wind is moving too fast. It can also be problematic if it's not moving at all. It gives the mosquitoes a chance to eat you alive.

Service was fast and friendly. Not very professional, but a relaxed atmosphere is a nice break from the professionalism of Providence eateries. The drinks are enormous and deliciously like candy, being loaded with fruity flavors. The large outside bar area confirms that drinks are a big money-maker for this place, but their size, quality, and price reveals it to not consider itself some happenin' night spot able to charge retarded prices for small drinks.

Appetizers are so large as to constitute meals unto themselves. The conch stuffies are the biggest I've ever seen... and you get TWO of them. Oh, and by the way, they're also fantastic. Like everything, they come with fruit mixed in and it adds a pleasant new angle on the taste.

The mixed grille gives you a wide selection from the kitchen (for only $20), and fun entrees like Chicken and "Barnacles," and the Hawaii Five-O never fail to satisfy. A few gaffs include a bean dip served cold, pizza that seems totally out of place, and bland quesadillas. In general, the menu is incredible strong for such a small eatery, and especially one with such great prices.

Closing touches are sure to entertain. The dessert "message in a bottle" is literally a message in a bottle. The dessert menu comes out rolled into a sand-filled beer bottle. Desserts are simple, but cheap-cheap-cheap and sinfully good in their simplicity. The Chocolate Treasure and Chocolate Chip Wreck are ooie-gooie, warm, large, and just freakin' good. Coffee options are limited, but are all well done.

Tricia's Tropigrille offers flavors like nowhere else in Rhode Island for prices to make you smile. It's hours become limited during the winter, and the outside is, understandable, shut down. So make the trip during the summer while you can. You won't be disappointed.

Because of fluctuating crowds, hours aren't set in stone. The hours listed are the earliest they will close. To find if they're still open, make sure to call ahead if you are dining late or if it's late in the season. They usually close on Tuesday after Labor Day, and are not open for lunch on Wednesday after Columbus Day.

Tricia's Tropigrille: ****
Price range for two: $25-$50;

Tricia's Tropigrille
14 Narragansett Ave
Jamestown, RI 02835
401-423-1490 (Reservations not accepted, call-ahead accepted)

Tuesday through Thursday 11:30am to 9:00pm
Friday through Sunday 11:30am to 10:00pm
Winter (After Columbus day)-
Wednesday 4:00pm to 9:00pm
Thursday 11:30am to 9:00pm
Friday through Sunday 11:30am to 10:00pm

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