Wednesday, May 14, 2008

REVIEW: Three Sisters- *** / $

The little area on the northern end of Hope street is quite the gourmet mecca. Sitting between India and the plaza containing The Garden Grille, Rasoi, and LG's BBQ, and just down the street from such local luminaries as Chez Pascal and Seven Stars Bakery, Three Sisters has quite the prestigious company. Here, they're much more focused on take-out, with a heavy emphasis on sandwiches, salads, and ice cream. Rather standard in the world of the extended cafe business model. And you know what? That's just fine.

The inside is adequately appointed. The dining area isn't particularly notable. It feels a bit empty and glaring. Not the comfy, nestle-down-with-a-book sort of atmosphere you expect from a cafe. The large, paper prints outs for displays also don't scream professionalism. The chairs are pretty comfy, even if the couch is a bit beaten up. THe bench running along the wall isn't ergonomically amazing, but it gets the job done, as do the hard chairs abutting the small tables. All in all, an interior that gets the job done.

The espresso and coffee drinks are what originally attracted me. They use New Harvest, which does all its roasting about five minutes down the road, so one can only assume the beans are still warm when they get them. As expected, the espresso was rich and powerful. I've said it before, but New Harvest makes some of the best roasts in New England. They chose a dark, full-bodied blend for their espresso, so I obviously found them more than acceptable. I have always preferred the darker, richer roasts, as opposed to the light, acidic roasts. Although I prefer the latter for straight up coffee. It must be told, though, that the espresso to be had a bit down the street, at Seven Stars Bakery, is better. Their machine is much more impressive, and the baristi are more experienced. Still, Seven Stars closes at six, which leaves you SOL (Shit out of latte) if you want one at eight.

The food is... food. They invent nothing, but do the standards well. And with everything costing $5.95 or less, this is not a place where you can easily break the bank. In fact, unless you eat in amounts usually reserved for hippos, I think it's impossible. Smoothies are pretty good. They have a wide selection, with ten varieties filling the menu. The smoothies I got were a bit thin, but flavorful enough, and not very icy, all pluses. While leagues better than the smoothies I recently got at La Creperie, they aren't better than the smoothies at Fresh City... which is in Warwick. So if you want smoothies, this is a pretty decent place to get them. Ice cream was good, but the cookies and cream I got was a bit icy. Good chunks of cookie made up for that, though, and I enjoyed my cone a lot. They have a good selection of mix-ins, and a good selection of flavors. They're the only place in the area that serves ice cream, that I can think of, and since their prices are good, you should stop by.

Three sisters is a pretty good place. It's a blessing they stay open as late as they do, because sometimes you just don't feel like making a trek to downtown, or north to Lincoln Mall, to find a cafe that's open for nighttime visitors. Combined with good sandwiches and salads that compliment the coffee very well, and good smoothies and ice cream for dessert or hot summer nights, you would be well served to visit these three.

Three Sisters: ***
Price range for two: $10-$20

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1074 Hope St
Providence, RI 02906
Monday through Thursday 7:30am to 9:00pm
Friday 7:30am to 10:00pm
Saturday 9:00am to 10:00pm
Sunday 9:00am to 9:00pm

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