Though it’s not brand new, the fairly recent opening of a restaurant in Providence dedicated to providing locally grown, sustainable foods cooked and prepared in an intensely delicious fashion made me (and many local foodies I know) very happy.
Local 121 is located in the heart of downtown Providence and is housed in the former Dryfus Hotel which has been transformed into a beautiful live/work space for artists care of local art group AS220 (upstairs) and an equally stunning dining room and accompanying bar next door. For me, the biggest draw was the promise of everything on the menu being both locally harvested and incredibly savory.
Kim and I had dinner there Friday night and I have to say, all the expectations I had going into the dining experience were far surpassed. We started off with Point Judith fried calamari (to which I replied – squid live in Narragansett Bay?), carrot and turnip soup and red baby romaine casaer salad with a creamy lemon dressing. The calamari was great, the soup wasn’t necessarily the best dish of the night but still tasty and the salad? Amazing. The dressing with the pine nuts was just a phenomenal combination. For the main course, Kim ordered steamed Matunuck Littleneck Clams (living in a coastal state has incredible benefits…) with fingerling potatoes, bacon lardons, Pernod, chives and creme fraiche. I can safely say that the combination of the bacon, potatoes and tasty clams made for one of the best experiences I’ve had with littlenecks.
My favorite dish of the night was, luckily, my own. I ordered mustard crusted Gloucester grey sole with brown butter, carrots and parsnips. The combination of the slightly crunchy mustard glaze with the tenderness of the sole, paired with the carrots and parsnips was genius. I ate until I almost burst but made a point to save some for Kim to enjoy too. We also had some completely delicious organic chardonnay, some Pinot with dinner (locally harvested from Kim’s husband’s wine cellar) and with dessert, some Newport Vineyard ice wine (there is a special place in my heart for ice wine).
Speaking of dessert, we ordered bread pudding – which is always a must try when we go out and the roasted apple & cranberry oat crisp, though we opted to ask for vanilla ice cream instead of maple walnut because, well, we’re under 65. No offense.
The bonus part of dining there repeatedly is that the menu changes frequently due to the nature of where and when the food is harvested. You can be tasting completely new flavors every season. Overall, the experience was amazing (have I said that already?) and I’d go back there in a heartbeat.
Posted by: Ashley / ashleyatcaster on Twitter