Le Central's classic bistro atmosphere charms visitors from the onset with black-and-white-checked floors framed by red and yellow walls. The eatery's farm-to-table approach to French fare keeps admiration flowing, and even helped garner a head-nod and Best Neighborhood Restaurant distinction from Rhode Island Monthly. Below modern hanging lights, tables populate with starters of butter and herb-roasted mussels, house-made charcuterie, and salads rife with roquefort and gruyere cheese. Entrees of locally sourced fish and traditional coq au vin steam with olive tapenade, house-cured bacon, and chili-glazed duck confit.
While sipping on a cocktail or wine at the weathered wooden bar, guests can question the bartender about the bistro's Sunday brunch crepes or the architectural possibilities of crafting a beer hat out of a classic French beret.
The crêpe, or French pancake, was invented in 1923 to make its American counterpart look fat, oafish, and uncouth in comparison. Help the disced dessert maintain its well-deserved sense of superiority with today's Groupon: for $5, you get $10 worth of crêpes, wraps, and more at La Crêperie, located just off Thayer Street on the East Side.
La Crêperie serves up a satisfying menu of sweet and savory crêpes, wraps, Belgian waffles, and smoothies daily, in its Thayer Street–adjacent location. Lunchable folded favorites include the Racquel crêpe ($5.50), an alluring femme fatale whose elegant world-weariness conceals old wounds of spinach, brie, and cranberries, and the Mediterranean wrap ($5.95) loaded with basil-marinated chicken, fresh veggies, dijon mustard, and mozzarella that will circle-dance for hours at the sound of a bazouki. Dessert-seeking diners, meanwhile, will delight in the decadence of La Crêperie's sweet crêpes and waffles, such as the strawberry-and-chocolate-filled Michelle ($4.95) crêpe or the simple buttered and sugared pleasure of the Betty crêpe ($2.95), both of which pair harmoniously with any of La Crêperie's refreshing smoothies ($3.95) or fresh-squeezed lemonade ($2.50–$2.95). All of La Crêperie's crêpery is made with fresh, local dairy products and seasonal farm produce, significantly decreasing the risk of synthetic ingredients causing your crêpe to grow a mouth that begs you not to eat it.
The intimate eatery has been serving up its tasty treats since 1996 from a hole-in-the-wall storefront with a small seating area and casual counter service reminiscent of the quaint crêperies of Paris. Adding to that Parisian sensibility is the fact that La Crêperie is open until 2 a.m. on weekends so that insomniac sweet teeth and nighthawk romantics can drop in for a quick crêpe after a long night of dancing or perfecting their Louisiana accents.
Yelpers give La Crêperie 3.5 stars, with TripAdvisors giving it four owl eyes. Urbanspooners give it an 81% approval rating:
- We have never been disappointed by the food here. The crepes are wonderful and always come out just right. – teamwonderful, TripAdvisor
- As close to the real authentic crepe from Paris that I have come across. – Mike S., Urbanspoon
- The Creperie is perfect for people looking for an inexpensive, light but tasty breakfast (or lunch) to go. – Seth R., Yelp
Rue De L’Espoir dazzles patrons with an eclectic assortment of American bistro-style dinner comestibles influenced by French, Italian, and Asian cuisine. Snag small plates weighed down by chicken-liver pâté, which is served with a cranberry, black olive, and dried-cherry chutney ($12), or Thai crab cakes with cilantro crème fraiche ($12). Indulge in a more substantial meal of organic roasted chicken, whose surface is delicately bathed in blood-orange glaze, figs, and apricots ($24), or the bouillabaisse, which features shrimp, sea scallops, calamari, and white fish swimming in fresh herbs, plum tomato, white-wine bouillon, and focaccia rouille ($28). While seated at one of the linen-covered terra- cotta tables, cheese lovers can nibble on the cheese board, which pairs Humboldt Fog cheese, Great Hill bleu cheese, and other flavors of coagulated animal juice with fresh bread and a chutney of apple, pear, and fig ($15).
The seasoned chefs at Mosaic Latin American Bistro craft dinner and lunch menus brimming with a diverse array of Latin American–inspired dishes with contemporary twists. Commence chew-infused chats over a savory pollo con mole ($19), a grilled swordfish swimming through sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives ($22), or a tangy seafood stew the Puerto Ricans call asopao ($25). The Chile-born empanada boasts a braised slab of beef serenading olives and raisins within homemade flaky dough ($6), and the pupusa enswathes house-smoked pulled pork, mango slaw, and black beans within white corn cakes ($11). Or eschew meat altogether for a plantain-encrusted tortas de frijoles ($19) or lechuga mixta salads ($7). A slew of sandwiches stuffed with flank steak, wild boar, pork shoulder, and more ($8–$12) satiates noontime crowds.
The Duck & Bunny offers a menu of savories, delicacies, and comforting treats inside an ornately decorated snuggery, with chandeliers, fine drapes and curtains, and a fireplace whose mantle makes a home for the self-portrait of a handsome bunny. Maxi-sized gourmet cupcakes are freshly crafted daily in different flavors. Cupcake mouth-fragrances include the chewy, fudgy, and sweetly shocking brownie mint surprise, the carrot cupcake, which tops a moist, rabbit bait-flavored mini cake with cream-cheese frosting, and the peanut-butter chocolate truffle, a sweet mountain of chocolate ganache, peanut butter, and chocolate-swirl frosting.
French-style bistro cuisine is The Grande’s specialty. The restaurant gets its ingredients from local farms and fisheries, who deliver organic meats and veggies whenever possible. The bistro’s wine list similarly emphasizes organic and sustainable wines from all over the world.