Monday, November 16, 2009

QUICKVIEW: Providence Prime- +++ / $$$$

Having eaten at P-Prime on a few occasions, I was surprised to find it completely changed on my most recent visit. Granted, I hadn't been in nearly two years, but still, it was traumatizing.

The new layout is about six months old and does away with the space-consuming booths and replaces them with a large bench that runs the length of the dining area's eastern wall. The boooooOOOOOOOooooth closest to the window has been replaced with a cured meats counter that includes appetizers and bar foods that are fifty(!) percent off, 5-7pm daily. You have to sit at the bar for the bar foods, but still, great deal for those getting off of work, which is undoubtedly their intention.

The dining area is still very nice. Very well lit, with decent table dress. I love the wood tones and leather. It makes it very... metro/masculine, if that's possible. Service is friendly and knowledgeable about the meats. They still have a presentation of meats available for the discerning tongue.

The wine list is good and decently-priced. Not a drop of Opus One in sight, finally. They have a new Prix Fixe menu up for offer which, for $30, is a good deal. Not mind-blowing, but good. The salumi menu of cured meats is an interesting addition, and will likely dig into it on some later visit. The appetizer of warm artichoke and spinach fondue ($9.95) wasn't. By wasn't, I mean it wasn't a fondue. It was a dip. And a pricey one at that. It was good, and the spinach and artichokes went well, as they would be expected to, but the toasted flat bread was too soft. It was heated on a grill just long enough to get some sear marks on it. This added a nice, smokey grill flavor and smell, but they were too soft to add some contrast in texture. If they had just called it what it was, I think I would not have been as disappointed, but I expected fondue, not dip.

The entree of Steak and Crab ($33) was as I would expect from my previous visits; It's some of the best steak in Providence. Considering it was a filet, it was incredibly flavorful. The crab was perfectly-cooked, with just the right amount of salt. I got some bernaise sauce for the steak which was a relatively thin and very mild sauce. I generally like my bernaise to punch me in the face a bit with tarragon, but it was still well-prepared. If you like mild bernaise, you'll love it.

For a side, we were all about the sweet potato & pancetta hash ($5.50). The sweet potato was a bit crispy and still very firm. With oh-so-sweet caramelized sugars covering each delicious bit. The pancetta added a nice, salty undertone, and it went very well with the savory flavors of the steak, crab, and sauce.

After all that food, dessert wasn't much of an option, so we passed. I was as happy with Prime as I expected to be. The fondue was a letdown, but everything else more than measured up. I've been before, I went this time, and I will certainly be back. Providence Prime is my favorite steak house.

Providence Prime: +++
Price range: Appetizers- $4-$14 Entrees- $15-$41

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Monday through Thursday 5:00pm to 10:00pm Bar open to 1:00am
Friday & Saturday 5:00pm to 11:00pm Bar open to 2:00am

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