Garbed in crisp white jackets, chefs in the Apna Punjab dart among pans of simmering curries and pots of bubbling biryani rice as nimbly as dancers, their faces aglow in the open flames. They fold fresh meats and seafood into a sweeping array of authentic North and South Indian dishes, from tender butter chicken to flavorful goat curry. In a fiery clay oven, the chefs bake lamb kebabs, tandoori shrimp, and naan breads stuffed with minced lamb and fresh green chilies. One of the most popular dishes—chicken tikka masala—was lauded by reporters from India New England as "distinct and rich."
To enjoy those dishes, customers perch on cushy green booths, clinking mugs of imported Indian beers. Others linger over last bites of sweet rice pudding, watching the sun set through lofty yellow-curtained windows. During lunch, 15 freshly made specialties pour forth steam at a lunch buffet, ideal for diners who need to rush back to work or hurry home to see if their long-lost childhood parakeet has at last returned.
The menu at Not Your Average Joe’s combines creative cuisine with consistent culinary favorites to ensure a dining experience that’s both surprising and familiar, like deja vu. Palate-pleasing items like the forno-baked chicken quesadilla drizzled with pineapple-jalapeno salsa ($8.99) or the crab cakes flanked with baby greens ($9.99) offer hearty and aesthetically intriguing sustenance. Sink famished canines into the cider-mustard pork tenderloin, flanked by asparagus and an unstoppable mash of sweet potatoes and roasted apples ($16.99), or activate your sharing gland with a cranberry-teriyaki butternut squash pizza, adorned with jewels of ricotta and spinach ($9.99 for 10-inch, $13.99 for large). Not Your Average Joe’s inventively comforting fare and refreshingly relaxed atmosphere encourage amiable chats and collaborative blueprints for a cheese-powered motorcycle.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt's network of self-serve dessert shops treat taste buds without expanding waistlines. Each cup of creamy frozen yogurt is priced by weight, and comes in an endless assortment of possible flavor and topping combinations. Guests can spoil their dinner without spoiling their diet thanks to Orange Leaf's sensible selection of low-fat treats, some of which clock in at as few as 25 calories per ounce. After diners top their fall-themed or chocolate-flavored desserts with crumbled graham crackers, peach slices, berries, or granola, they can dig in amid the shops’ bright green-and-orange-color scheme.
DiParma's sponge-painted walls are rife with staggered picture frames, floral bouquets, and wicker baskets. Earth-tone bricks recall warm Italian soil and the inventive cuisine that sprung from it. Beside a bar of tile and faux marble, tables clatter with plates of pastas, pesto pizzas, and veal or seafood sautéed in delicate wine sauces, all polished over the course of three decades in business. With the pizza oven pouring forth the aromas of basil, roasted peppers, and bacon, guests peruse a list of more than 50 wines or ask servers to pick out all the grapes for them.
You would be hard pressed to find a can opener anywhere in the kitchen of Cilantro Mexican Grill. That's because the restaurant's chefs don't need one; they only cook with fresh ingredients. A typical day in their kitchen sees the chefs mashing the nutty flesh of ripe avocados into guacamole, slicing fresh tortillas to be fried and sprinkled with lime juice, and grilling adobo-seasoned chicken, steak, and fresh line-caught Atlantic pollock purchased from local fisherman at the docks of Point Judith, Rhode Island. Local growers get in on the action too, supplying the kitchen with tomatoes and onions. All five locations serve mason jar margaritas and craft beers with the Cranston location finding patrons sipping one of 20+ brews.
Cattails City Grill impresses patrons with a menu of fine fare that's served without the nose-in-the-air pretension generally accompanying all things cattail. Begin your belly's beguine with one of Cattails' signature pizzas, such as the margherita ($10), the mushroom and salami ($10.50), or the arugula and prosciutto ($11); or opt for a seafood starter such as the garlic shrimp ($10) or Narragansett Bay littlenecks with chorizo, onions, and garlic in a pomodoro sauce ($10). Noodle-craving neurologists can strike a happy nerve with pasta dishes such as lobster ravioli in a pink vodka sauce ($22.50), and baked shrimp and shells ($21) punched up with tomato cream sauce, spinach, and roasted red peppers. Cattails' carnivore-catering entrees steal away potential attendees of chicken, pig, and cow family reunions with dishes such as sautéed gorgonzola chicken "under a brick" ($18), served over potatoes and spinach and topped with tomatoes and a creamy cheese sauce; pork chops and littleneck clams ($23) with olives and roasted potatoes in a spicy garlic and wine sauce; or the veal tenderloin ($19.50), also served over potatoes and spinach and topped with prosciutto and vinaigrette. Fish options include salmon ($21) and pan-seared tilapia ($16.50). Cap off your Cattails culinary caper with the restaurant's acclaimed Portuguese sweet bread pudding, recently found to be the solar system's true center, relegating the sun to nothing more than a minor answer on an obscure episode of Jeopardy.