Boston Restaurant Blog -- May, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Over the past couple of months I have been spending a good amount of time checking out the impressive restaurant scene in Providence, and this past weekend was no exception as I joined several others for dinner and drinks at a restaurant and brewpub on the western edge of the downtown area. And there were indeed some real highlights to our trip to the Trinity Brewhouse on Fountain Street, but shaky service and inconsistent food ultimately made for an experience that didn't match up to those that I have had in the city over recent weeks.
The downtown area of Providence has a lot of character, with a number of 19th-century buildings mixing nicely with modern buildings, many of which are very attractive. The building in which the Trinity Brewhouse resides certainly seems to be in the former category, with loads of rustic charm found in its two dining areas and bar on the ground floor. The left dining section is particularly nice, with a beautifully-done wall mural of famous people who are no longer with us, and a massive chandelier giving off dim lighting that adds an almost romantic touch to the place. The very visible beermaking area in the back never lets you forget that this is a true brewpub, with beer indeed being made on the premises. Down in the basement of the Trinity Brewhouse is a bar/lounge area that seems like a private club, with a low ceiling, a pool table in the middle, and a small bar that is much quieter than the one upstairs. For those who like to dine (and drink) al fresco, a fairly decent amount of outdoor seating is available during the warmer months.
Our trip to the Trinity Brewhouse was timed so that we went just before the first WaterFire event of the year in Providence, so most of the restaurants near the canals downtown were jam packed, with Trinity being no exception. We had made a reservation, however, and therefore had no problem being seated right way in the left dining section near the mural. We started out with a round of drinks (the light and slightly bitter Kolsh and the citrus-flavored Belgian white ale were both tremendous), then put in an order for appetizers, followed a few minutes later by our dinner order. The apps soon came out, with the pulled pork nachos containing a good amount of moderately smoky pork along with a lot of cheese, while the fried calamari was mixed with banana peppers (a common way of preparing it in Rhode Island) and the calamari was tender, though the dish seemed to become quite soggy after a minute or two. Unfortunately, our meals came almost immediately after our appetizers, making for an incredibly crowded table since there were six of us in a booth that was probably better suited for four. The meals were a mixed bag overall, with the chili cheeseburger featuring deliciously juicy ground beef and the lobster macaroni and cheese having the focus more on lobster and pasta instead of cheese (which seems to happen so often in restaurants these days). But the steak tips were dry and tough, the turkey burger was bland, the reuben contained cold corned beef, and the fish and chips were awfully greasy (the breaded fish was shiny when the dish first came to the table). One of our party ordered a mixed drink about halfway through the meal, but our servers seemed to forget about it until one of them was reminded at the end of the meal of it. None of us had room for dessert, so we decided to pass on it, instead heading out to get a prime spot at WaterFire, which was getting ready to begin.
I liked the cozy atmosphere of the Trinity Brewhouse, and our servers were very friendly throughout. And the beer and some of the food was very good--especially the lobster macaroni and cheese. But based on our visit there this past weekend, I'm not sure I'll be back anytime soon, unless it's for a drink at the bar. It is possible that we hit the place on a bad night (as I said earlier, WaterFire really brought the crowds into this place), but I just don't know if I'm willing to have dinner again there at this point.
For those who want the address and phone number for the Trinity Brewhouse, here it is: Trinity Brewhouse, 186 Fountain Street, Providence, RI, 02903. The phone number is (401) 453-2337.
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