My grandfather declared every dinner my grandmother made “the best damn meal he’d ever had,” often adding, “You can’t get a meal like this in a restaurant.” My grandmother liked to eat out on occasion, and take a break from cooking, so of course they went. But as far as my grandfather was concerned, restaurant meals never held a candle to my grandmother’s.
The last time Cherisse and I had been to dinner together in a restaurant was April 2011 in Freeport, Maine, on our annual trip to Fedco to pick up our tree order. In part we’re reluctant to leave our home in the evening (it is cozy, and we like being with the animals), and we prefer to eat our own food…knowing where all the ingredients have come from.
However, there are now some wonderful restaurants in Providence which prepare food from local sources, with great care and skill. Nick’s on Broadway is one, a comfortable, casual restaurant with exceptional food and service. We went there last night, and sat at the counter (we didn’t have reservations) watching the chef and sous chefs prepare wonderful meals in the open kitchen. We chatted with the wait staff about the food and their local vendors.
I had the lamb special with a white bean cassoulet (the lamb came from just down the road from us, Hopkins Farm in Scituate) and Cherisse had fresh caught cod over wilted greens (our waitress told us that the fisherman brings each day’s haul in straight off the boat…nothing is frozen). I also ordered a winter vegetable side dish that I watched being tossed in a skillet…every meal at Nick’s is made to order.
Nick’s has a tasting menu, and if we’d had more time we would have been tempted—you provide basic parameters of what you like, and then leave it to the chef to prepare a three- or five-course meal for you. I can’t imagine you would go wrong.
A meal that good, in such a warm ambiance, lifts your spirits, so perhaps we should dine out a bit more frequently. However tonight we’re having “Vegetable-Lentil Soup with Fragrant Broth,” from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook. With a salad, bread—and our animals sleeping near by—it doesn’t get much better.