Friday, March 16, 2012

My Drunk Kitchen

It's much better to be blasted when cooking. Makes it seem much more fun and dramatic.

Much thanks to my friend for introducing me to this.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

QUICKVIEW: The Duck & Bunny- +++ / $$

Perfectly steamed milk.
I've been meaning to try Duck & Bunny for some time, for no other reason that it's called a "snuggery." I thought that it was a made-up word, but no, sure enough it is actually a word.

Unfortunately, the connotations of the word did in fact evince truthfully the Duck & Bunny. This place is nauseatingly twee. They have variations on famous paintings littering the dining areas -which are, as they say, snug- all of which have been altered to include images of ducks or rabbits. I think that I would have found it more appealing if the dining area had not been packed and loud. The place is snug, to be sure, but cozy, at least to me, implies soft.

A steak sandwich in a crepe. Delicious.
The D&B is anything but soft. The dining areas are old rooms with hard wood flooring. Each room is an echo chamber with its own unique acoustics. They really need some carpets. We arrived at 7:20pm on a Thursday to a packed house. Quite a few people behind us simply aborted their mission of dinner. We were lucky, apparently, and were seated quickly.

Service was friendly, but they were seeming to have a hard time dealing with the full house and cramped quarters. Service never failed, but they seemed to be making it up as they went along, arranging patrons on the fly in the "snug" rooms. Once seated, our waiter was attentive and quick and delivered the nightly list of cupcakes.

Oh, right, the cupcakes. If the name, classification, "irreverent" rules, and custom paintings didn't earn this place the hipster stamp of approval, the cupcake menu certainly would. It's amazing how quickly macarons were replaced with cupcakes as the hip baked good du jour, but that's beside the point.
The Angelina.

Speed of delivery was good. Considering that the wait for crepes at La Crêperie can be interminable, we waited for only about five minutes before drinks, cakes, and crepes were on the table. The atmosphere aside, we were all very happy with the food.

The T.S. Geller, essentially a roast beef sandwich in crêpe, was perfectly prepared with fresh mesculun and pungent, delicious, house-made horseradish sauce.

The Sweet Baby James.
Sweets included The Angelina, a blueberry blini with Des Nuages cheese, raspberry chocolate, lemon zest, but they were all out of the raspberry chocolate, so instead it was strawberries and chocolate sauce. The Sweet Baby James was a rocking strawberry & sweet vanilla mascarpone blintz. These were, as with other things on the menu, relatively standard things prepared perfectly.

My only criticism of the night is the cupcake being covered in a massive dollop of frosting. It was delicious, obviously house-made, chocolate cream frosting and a true delight to eat, but as with so many places, the cupcake bordered on frosting-delivery mechanism. I like my cupcakes lightly frosted. Yes, yes. I can scrape it off, which I did, but it shouldn't be up to me to "correct" my food. I recognize that I might be a minority in this, so if you like frosting, as I'm sure many of you do, ignore me. Oh, and the cupcake was fantastic.

So much damned frosting.
Prices are a bit on the high side, considering what you get. They are not insane, mind you, but this place is not cheap. Their standard crêpes sport $10 price tags, with their more complex, entree-like offerings going as high as $15. I loved their T.S. Geller, $12, but a roast beef sandwich of similar size and quality with horseradish sauce can be had at many neighborhood sandwich shops and delis for $7 or less. Again, not high enough to keep me away, but high enough to not quite line up with the twee/hip personality that they are trying to project.

The whole evening was made difficult by the acoustics and the cramped dining area. The photos on their website do not at all communicate the incredibly limited space in which they are operating. I think that the insufferably hip elements of the restaurant would not have grated on me, and some of them I would have found legitimately appealing, if not for the noise. I plan on going back during a time when the crowds will be less intense so I can enjoy the environment, because the food was certainly enough to lure me back.

The Duck & Bunny: +++
Price Range: $$

312 Wickenden Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 270-3300

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