Locale Profiles: Red Stripe’s New East Greenwich Location — Cheese and Frites Hit Main Street

redRed Stripe in Providence has always been a reliable choice when I crave rich food and a cozy ambience.  Would their new East Greenwich location deliver on both fronts?

I’d heard this was the new hot spot in town, so I asked my husband to make a reservation. We easily got a 7pm time slot, which sounded suspicious to me. Did he call the Providence location by mistake? That’s definitely something I would do, especially these days when my brain is overloaded with holidays, kids and peri-menopause. My husband, on the other hand, has a mind like a steel trap.

Sure enough, when we arrived they had no record of our call. Our lovely window-side table awaited us in Providence. I smirked inside – finally he, too, did something stupid! As I scanned the crowded restaurant, my smirk turned to a frown as I sensed a long wait in our future. Just then the manager stepped in, informing us that the website had been directing patrons to the wrong location and he’d saved a few high tops by the bar in anticipation of this issue. My husband smiled with satisfaction that it wasn’t his error. I died a little inside.

They seated us at our high top that yes, was by the bar, but was also next to the kitchen door. As the clanging of the doors never ceased, and the smell of bleach comingled with food, I started to get slightly light-headed (or maybe it was that scrumptious rosemary/thyme martini?). Either way, when I saw two seats open up at the bar, I pounced on them.

Once nestled at the comfortable bar, I had a chance to peruse the menu, which looked identical to the Providence menu, delivering its share of frites:  steak frites, moules and frites (mussels in a variety of sauce options, in case you’ve never ordered them), and frites a la carte. Though I love a good frite, I wanted to try something different.

For starters I opted for the oven-roasted tomato soup with dill crème fraiche, even though my taste buds begged me to order the french onion soup. Been there, done that – time to branch out. My expectations were low; after all, how great can tomato soup be, especially without a grilled cheese? I ended up pleasantly surprised as this soup was crave-able. As a former “Top Chef” viewer and frequent Panera soup-orderer, I’m no stranger to the common soup snafu: lacking in depth of flavor. This soup definitely did not suffer from that problem. How did they get such depth of flavor from tomatoes? Is roasting the tomatoes first the secret? No matter – I’ll go back for that soup alone, but will be sure to pair with something cheesy. My husband started with duck confit roulades served with lemon and sage polenta.  He didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it. Next time he’d get my soup.

For our entrees so we went for the short rib extravaganza. I ordered the stroganoff:  house made parpadelle with braised short ribs in a rich mushroom, spinach and white wine cream sauce. My husband chose the short rib bourguignon, served in a burgundy demi-glace over mashed potatoes. Both were outrageously delicious. The short ribs fell apart they were so tender. The sauces, though rich, were full of flavor and zest. Neither of us finished our meal, and we had no room for dessert. We did, however, sit at the bar and finish our bottle of reasonably priced Zinfandel while chatting and people watching: a perfect Saturday night.

Since this restaurant is practically walking distance from my house, of course I’ll go back – time and time again. Rasa is still my favorite local haunt, but Red Stripe is now high on the list. If it weren’t so close to home, would I go back? Absolutely – what’s not to love about a cozy restaurant where cheese and frites rule the day?

Red Stripe’s East Greenwich restaurant is located at 455 Main St (formerly Caprice). They’re open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended on the weekends; be sure to make sure you’ve called the right location! 

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