Steve Silverstein was tired. Tired of driving into the city just to get a good meal, and tired of paying too much for the food once he got there. So Steve decided to take matters into his own hands and create Not Your Average Joe’s, a chain of internationally inspired restaurants located in the suburbs of Boston, Washington DC, and other major metropolitan areas. Today, there are 18 Not Your Average Joe's locations serving up quality fare without pretension. There, appetizers of asian chicken dumplings and chouriço-stuffed quahogs give way to both casual grill fare and gourmet entrees. Hand-formed burgers come dressed in bacon and one of five cheeses, while stone-hearth pizzas don both classic and unusual toppings such as pistachios and rosemary. And, there are also entrees inspired by cuisines from all over the globe including a five-meat smokehouse jambalaya and a curry- and peanut-anointed vietnamese salmon. Joe's also offers a gluten-free menu, and because each dish is created from scratch the moment it’s ordered, diners can customize meals to accommodate their needs, whether they're following a low-carb, no-carb, or quadruple-carb diet.
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.
FroyoWorld fills its self-serve stations with a monthly rotating lineup of 12 yogurt and sorbet flavors, including varieties such as dairy free, no sugar added, and nonfat. A selection of up to 140 toppings include candies, fresh fruit, and drizzles of chocolate and caramel. Between spoonfuls, customers can make use of the free WiFi to check emails and look up holistic brain-freeze cures.
At 2 Pauls City Grille, a restaurant that takes its name from owners Paul Shire and Paul Roidoulis, cooks serve up homestyle American cuisine. Plates of meatloaf, Saugy hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese emerge from the kitchen, carrying with them their familiar, appetizing aromas. "We sure are talking comfort food," wrote one The Providence Phoenix reviewer.
While much of the menu features straightforward and familiar flavors, Shire also draws on an extensive culinary background to prepare more complex dishes. Those range from shrimp mozambique in a beer-and-saffron sauce to braised short ribs with porcini mushrooms in a loosely made ravioli. Liquid offerings are just as extensive?wine, draft beer, and specialty martinis round out the menu.
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.
Siam Square packs its eclectic menu with stir-fried and sautéed dishes drawn from various regions of Thailand. Super spicy tom-yum soup flavors a chicken or shrimp broth with thai herbs for a hot, welcome break from Campbell’s congressman-shaped chicken-noodle soup ($3.25). Crushed peanuts rub elbows with tofu, eggs, and meats at the pad thai's rice-noodle pad ($7.50/lunch, $8.95/dinner), and hot basil fried rice fills barren stomachs with ground chicken, peppers, and other fresh veggies ($7.50/lunch, $8.95/dinner). Vegetarian options abound at Siam Square, as sweet-and-sour veggies such as zucchini, carrots, and baby corn seamlessly synthesize with tofu ($9.50).