The small College Hill takeout restaurant is an offshoot of Haruki East, a popular Japanese eatery in Providence. Haruki Express, a 2008 Best of Rhode Island Editors' Pick in Rhode Island Monthly, serves fresh made-to-order meals that are an alternative to the fast food of yesteryear. Scanning the extensive menu, maki lovers can choose the fresh spicy tekka ($5.50) or the cooked salmon skin ($3.95), and meat-eating tax attorneys can try out the beef gyu don ($5.95), thinly sliced beef and onion sautéed with soy sauce and served over rice. This deal is not good for delivery, but it can be used to taunt illusionist David Blaine with delicious sushi via remote-controlled helicopter as he dangles hungrily in a Plexiglas cube.
Ten Prime Steak & Sushi's executive chef, Lou Cruz, char grills a carnivorous array of hand-cut Prime and Certified Angus steaks. Each one has been aged for a minimum of 28 days and is accompanied by a complex sauce?always made in-house, sometimes via a two-day process. His juicy and flavorful steaks earned the restaurant The Providence Phoenix's best steakhouse award in 2011 and 2012.
Chef Cruz also whips up other specialties with equal care, including house-made meatloaf, swordfish, and velvety day boat scallops. On the lighter side, a full sushi bar serves up colorful nigiri and maki, including one made with Maine lobster, beef carpaccio, and truffle-chili oil. Diners can wash it all down with their choice of specialty cocktails and 14 wines by the glass.
Two small silver handles join to form an elegant V across Vintage's front door, a nod to the restaurant's name as well as the understated elegance of its upscale, internationally inspired menu. Lunches of ricotta ravioli?stuffed with housemade ricotta cheese, grilled chicken, and tomato and served with roasted-garlic fondue?give way to dinners of paella peppered with Gulf shrimp, native clams, and mussels from Prince Edward Island. Vintage offsets its hearty Western dishes with a sushi bar that brims with sashimi and specialty rolls such as the Volcano, whose crabstick, avocado, and spicy baked scallops are harvested from separate tectonic plates. In addition to serving its usual brunches, lunches, and dinners, Vintage hosts occasional cooking classes, wine-tasting dinners, and other special events.
There’s nothing old-fashioned about Asia Grill & Sushi’s dining room, with its curved bar area bathed in neon light and its ceiling speckled with orbicular chandeliers. Flat-screen TVs dominate patches of wall, allowing diners to catch up on the latest news or watch local sports. Fittingly, the restaurant’s specialty rolls are also quite modern and sports-themed. One of many team-named options on the roster, the Patriots roll is filled with lobster, cucumber, and avocado before being covered with two types of tuna, tobiko, sweet sauce, and spicy mayo. Meals also emerge from steamy woks, including sirloin steak that’s glazed with a flaming black-pepper wine sauce. Other entrees include crispy tender peking duck and lobster cooked with black-bean or tamarind sauce.
Most chefs tend to specialize in a particular cuisine, such as Italian or sushi. Prezo Grille & Bar's executive chef, Tim Vaillette, however, prefers to specialize in a little bit of everything. His main menu runs the gamut from classic American burgers to Barcelona-style swordfish served with rice pilaf. He also draws inspiration from Italy, topping the house-made dough of his thin-crust pizzas with ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, meatballs, and caramelized onions. To complement Tim's far-reaching menu, Prezo's bartenders serve an extensive selection of cocktails and craft beer, as well as more than 20 wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle.
Feasts unfold in Prezo's upscale, romantically lit dining room or in its similarly lit bar, where four plasma televisions stay tuned to the latest sports game.
The concept behind Samba Steak & Sushi House started to take shape in the early 20th century, when Japanese immigrants in Brazil and Peru began mixing local culinary influences with food from home. Simple, health-conscious Japanese cooking techniques mixed with spicier South American flavors, producing dishes seen in Samba's menu of wild-caught seafood, locally sourced produce, and organic sushi rice.
Hibachi chefs roast lobster tails, calamari, and sirloin steak on tabletop grills while diners watch this time-honored practice. In contrast, the sushi chefs incorporate more fusion elements by packing nontraditional ingredients into the specialty maki, such as coconut flakes, marinated red onions, and melted mozzarella cheese.
The hibachi grills' occasional bursts of flame complement the high-ceilinged dining room's predominantly orange- and red-hued walls and the glowing eyes of the head chef. To keep this space full beyond mealtimes, the restaurant also hosts regular events, including DJ performances, karaoke nights, and sushi-making classes.