Two small silver handles join to form an elegant V across Vintage's front door, a nod to the restaurant's name as well as the understated elegance of its upscale, internationally inspired menu. Lunches of ricotta ravioli?stuffed with housemade ricotta cheese, grilled chicken, and tomato and served with roasted-garlic fondue?give way to dinners of paella peppered with Gulf shrimp, native clams, and mussels from Prince Edward Island. Vintage offsets its hearty Western dishes with a sushi bar that brims with sashimi and specialty rolls such as the Volcano, whose crabstick, avocado, and spicy baked scallops are harvested from separate tectonic plates. In addition to serving its usual brunches, lunches, and dinners, Vintage hosts occasional cooking classes, wine-tasting dinners, and other special events.
Since 1976, the sleek interior of Oki Japanese Steak House has hosted customers digging into plates freighted with sushi, hibachi-seared steak, and seafood. At teppanyaki tables, chefs build walls of fire around succulent meats while using gleaming knives to divide and recombine piles of fried rice and fresh vegetables. Nearby, sushi chefs focus on assembling immaculate rolls stuffed with tender slices of eel, salmon, and tuna.
The small College Hill takeout restaurant is an offshoot of Haruki East, a popular Japanese eatery in Providence. Haruki Express, a 2008 Best of Rhode Island Editors' Pick in Rhode Island Monthly, serves fresh made-to-order meals that are an alternative to the fast food of yesteryear. Scanning the extensive menu, maki lovers can choose the fresh spicy tekka ($5.50) or the cooked salmon skin ($3.95), and meat-eating tax attorneys can try out the beef gyu don ($5.95), thinly sliced beef and onion sautéed with soy sauce and served over rice. This deal is not good for delivery, but it can be used to taunt illusionist David Blaine with delicious sushi via remote-controlled helicopter as he dangles hungrily in a Plexiglas cube.
Ten Prime Steak & Sushi's executive chef, Lou Cruz, char grills a carnivorous array of hand-cut Prime and Certified Angus steaks. Each one has been aged for a minimum of 28 days and is accompanied by a complex sauce?always made in-house, sometimes via a two-day process. His juicy and flavorful steaks earned the restaurant The Providence Phoenix's best steakhouse award in 2011 and 2012.
Chef Cruz also whips up other specialties with equal care, including house-made meatloaf, swordfish, and velvety day boat scallops. On the lighter side, a full sushi bar serves up colorful nigiri and maki, including one made with Maine lobster, beef carpaccio, and truffle-chili oil. Diners can wash it all down with their choice of specialty cocktails and 14 wines by the glass.
Most chefs tend to specialize in a particular cuisine, such as Italian or sushi. Prezo Grille & Bar's executive chef, Tim Vaillette, however, prefers to specialize in a little bit of everything. His main menu runs the gamut from classic American burgers to Barcelona-style swordfish served with rice pilaf. He also draws inspiration from Italy, topping the house-made dough of his thin-crust pizzas with ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, meatballs, and caramelized onions. To complement Tim's far-reaching menu, Prezo's bartenders serve an extensive selection of cocktails and craft beer, as well as more than 20 wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle.
Feasts unfold in Prezo's upscale, romantically lit dining room or in its similarly lit bar, where four plasma televisions stay tuned to the latest sports game.
A piece of food soars through the air, landing squarely in the open mouth of a patron. The other 19 guests at the table cheer. Then an egg pops up high above their heads. During its descent, a man standing before the seated crowd pulls open his breast pocket, and the egg lands snugly inside. Without pause, the chef continues chopping, flipping, and grilling in swashbuckling style.
This show repeats at Yokohama Japanese Steakhouse’s five large hibachi tables—each crowned with an enormous grill—every day of the week. The restaurant also serves up less theatrical but no less authentic teriyaki, tempura, udon, and wok-stirred fare, as well as traditional and contemporary sushi rolls. In the dining room, the gurgling of water in an indoor pond mingles with the murmur of Sirius satellite radio and the purring of stomachs curled up for postprandial naps.