Though recently featured in a USA Today Travel article that praised its “astonishing” chow mein sandwich, Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining is known by locals for more than just its kitchen’s specialties. The restaurant also won a prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive award in 2011, and its world-famous jazz and blues performances have helped cement its self-proclaimed reputation as New England’s "home of eggroll, jazz, and blues."
Long before the sounds of horns and saxophones filled its halls, the New Shanghai Restaurant opened its doors in 1905. It was not until the mid-1960s, however, that the Chan family refurbished the Woonsocket landmark and began serving an innovative combination of Cantonese, Szechwan, Hunan, and Mandarin cuisines. Around this time, the Chans also brought in the live jazz and blues music that continues to fill the main dining area—known as the Horseshoe Bar Lounge—and the famous Four Seasons Jazz and Blues Club.
With its red paper lanterns, traditional Chinese artwork, and colorful paintings of musicians, the Four Seasons has played host to such legendary blues, jazz, and folk artists as Dizzy Gillespie and Rebecca Parris. A buffet spread accompanies musical performances, during which enthralled audiences watch as musicians pound eggrolls against snare drums or slide their hands along guitars strung up with slippery chow mein noodles.
Sky Restaurant's chefs prepare an eclectic menu of classic American entrees such as steaks, seafood, and pastas within a spacious, mahogany-framed dining room. A raw bar serves up fresh, local oysters ($3) and jumbo shrimp cocktail ($3) accompanied by a lemon-dijon dipping sauce, much like Atlantis' swankest velvet-rope clubs. Fire-grilled pizzas can arrive in the form of a classic cheese pie with fresh basil ($11) or decked out in specialty toppings, such as the ground beef and cheddar jack cheese found on the bacon-cheeseburger pie ($12). Guests can tear apart mesquite-rubbed baby back ribs ($22) or cut into a 14-ounce black angus new york sirloin ($29) served with house-made sauces such as béarnaise, horseradish cream, or mushroom merlot. Otherwise, a lobster club ($19) layers Maine-lobster salad, avocado, and bacon within sourdough bread, whereas grilled Atlantic swordfish ($28) drapes itself in lemon-caper butter alongside lobster risotto and grilled asparagus.
The seasoned squad of musicians and stomach-swivelers at World Dance and Music Center can fortify the fitness and liberate the shackled hips of all body types and age levels. The multi-talented and multi-lingual Lola is an accomplished dancer who infuses her classes with emotion and an authentic Middle Eastern sensibility. Classes for all skill levels take place Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings. Beginners Bellydance slows down the pace to cater to the never-danced, while Bellydance for Performance is geared toward the experienced motionista, covering proper costuming and stage presence. Bedecked with hardwood floors, a wall full of mirrors, and an elevated stage, the 3,600-square-foot studio gives ample space to promote tummies' uninhibited fluttering.
Tierra Restaurant & Lounge grounds high-flying appetites with a savory menu of Spanish, Italian, and Latin cuisine. Celebrate the recent discovery of seafood by digging into shellfish options such as shrimp swimming laps in extra-virgin olive oil zested with garlic and spices ($7) or a generous pile of pan-fried calamari rings cozily marinating on a mild-and-hot pepper bed ($7). The baked paella bursts from kitchen confines to bedazzle diners with a gentle army of scallops, clams, mussels, and half a lobster, as well as chorizo and chicken, all baked together with Tierra’s moist saffron rice ($19). Tierra's lunch menu addresses midday cravings with afternoon delights including pizza margherita ($10) and caesar salad ($7).
Star of India hampers hunger with an authentic menu stocked with the rich flavors and exotic spices of the Subcontinent. Start the foodie festivities with an appetizer of onion bhaji, which features tearfully tempting slices of onion fried in chickpea batter ($8), or begin by shepherding your taste buds toward a pair of lamb samosas ($6) or a bevy of bread breeds that includes seven different types of naan. Tandoori chicken ($13) and tandoori shrimp ($22) are both marinated in yogurt, herbs, and spices before being cooked in a tandoor—a specialized clay oven kept at 800 degrees to match the temperature of the human mouth. Herbivores can veg out on channa masala, a mouth-watering mélange of garbanzo beans, tomatoes, and onions ($13), and fishivores can aim their scrimshaw dentures at fish vindaloo, which combines mahi-mahi with potatoes in a tongue-tazing sauce ($19). Each location possesses the flavor-customization technology to adjust its crave-worthy curries to individual specifications, ensuring that the menus are suited for everyone from unfazable fire eaters to mild-tongued spice sissies.