Smoked bacon. Guacamole. Chili. A whole fried egg. With a simple tick mark, these and dozens of other toppings appear atop a beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie patty. Rare Burger Bar’s build-your-own-burger menu gives patrons the opportunity to make a fully custom burger. Those feeling less inventive can select from specialty burgers such as the Texas burger, which combines an all-Angus beef patty with bacon, barbecue sauce, and a homemade onion ring etched into a tiny spur. Non-burger menu items include hand-cut fries, chicken sandwiches, salads, and buffalo wings.
Liv Restaurant & Lounge's culinary magicians conjure up an awesomely aromatic collection of authentic Italian dishes artfully crafted out of house-made ingredients. Jump-start appetites with starters such as the crispy fried smelts with hot peppers and garlic-aioli sauce ($5–$9) before matching mandibles against bounteous portions of pasta plucked from a bowl of linguini and clams ($8–$14). A prosciutto-and-mozzarella pizza ($8–$10) can be shared between romantic twosomes or platonic partners, and entrees such as the chicken-and-veal marsala ($12–$18) silence noisy stomachs before they bellow like Pavarotti after stubbing his big toe. Bringing meals to a sweet conclusion, six deep-fried Oreos surround scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream and hot fudge to form a culinary curtain call.
Chef Nick Iannuccilli's family transplanted from Bologna, Italy, to Providence when the budding epicurean was young, sealing his dual status as a true Italian and a Rhode Islander. Though his cooking style incorporates some North American flair, his allegiance to the cuisine of his homeland undoubtedly led to the success of his first restaurant, Florentine Grille, where his culinary skills received the lick of approval from Frank Sinatra and the former president of Italy, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro.
Today, Iannuccilli turns his full attention to Italo American Grill, where he continues to create his signature Italian dishes, including the pescatore baked scrod he once served to Sinatra. Along with the tasty favorites, it's Iannuccilli's willingness to cater to guests' requests—be it for a gluten-free pizza or a prosciutto named after them—that keeps happiness flowing.
Reali's Fine Italian Cuisine's owner and chef, Jim Reali assembles meats, pastas, and sauces into hearty Italian creations using cooking skills first cultivated when he was 16 years old. Diners choose between upscale offerings such as veal and chicken parmigiana or call the waiter via foghorn to order seafood selections. Downpours of rich tomato sauce cascade over pastas, and, as meals unfold, eaters can repurpose pieces of penne as straws to sip white, red, and blush wines sourced from domestic and international vineyards.