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.
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.
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.
Under the ownership of Federal Hill native Christopher Conti, Blush Winebar pours half and full glasses from hundreds of red, white, and sparkling libations. The upscale watering hole offers more than 100 wines by the glass, each with its own distinct flavor notes and secret cheese crush. A champagne bar highlights the bubbly beverage with glasses, full bottles, and three-flute samplers as well as a selection of champagne-based cocktails, such as the Blush Boom Boom, a mixture of Moët champagne, pomegranate liqueur, Grand Marnier, and orange juice. Executive chef Jacen Scungio blends fresh, local ingredients to create the flatbread pizzas, sliders, and handmade pastas that populate the wine bar’s tapas menu and keep hungry imbibers from trying to stomp their wines back into grapes.
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.
Providence Byblos is a family owned and operated hookah lounge and restaurant, offering two floors, two ceilings, three dimensions, and one patio's worth of smoke and satiation space. Prepare your palate for a Lebanese feast with the fruity flavors of a hookah, including apple, blueberry, raspberry, grape, melon, mango, and the daily special ($18 for one flavor, $21 for a mixture of two flavors), complemented by a refreshing jellab (traditional concoction of grape juice, molasses, and raisins, $2.99). Providence's "mama-style" menu serves up a wide variety of traditionally tasty appetizers, salads, paninis, and desserts. Start with a savory serving of fatayer (pita pies stuffed with organic spinach and onions, $7) or a plate of soujouk (dried beef and lamb sausages sautéed with tomatoes and onions, $8) before moving on to a crisp Greek salad ($8) or a chicken tawook panini (chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and a homemade garlic sauce, $8). Cap off the meal and quell a nagging sweet tooth with a flakey slice of homemade baklava ($3) or a sweet date-stuffed maamoul ($2).