Tucked away on Rhode Island St in Buffalo, NY is Providence Social, our second stop for Local Restaurant Week Spring 2015
On Tuesday of Local Restaurant Week, 5 Yelpers met at Providence Social under the reservation ‘Yelp Buffalo Book Club’. When we planned this event the previous month while wrapping up our first book at Toro, we completely forgot about LRW, but it actually worked out perfectly!
Providence Social is a nice restaurant in a converted historical home on Rhode Island St just inside Elmwood Village. Blessedly in this messy muck of a winter, Providence Social has their own parking lot directly across the street.
The hostess sat us at a wrap-around booth so we could all hear each other discuss our book of the month: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.* I would love to discuss the book in further detail, but let’s just stick to Providence Social, shall we? (If you click on the book image, the link will take you directly to the Kindle edition)
We fit comfortably in the booth with room to spare, and could hear each other and our server fine. Our server totally understood that we wanted to talk, so he gave us plenty of time to discuss our book, inserted himself into the conversation politely, and was all around enjoyable; we all really liked him. Along with the attention of the busser and watching the other servers, it just looks like Providence Social has a really good crew on board, and I love seeing that!
Our server mentioned Providence Social’s cocktail menu (Libations), and I had to take a look. Each cocktail is $10, for good reason. PS definitely serves up some quality cocktails. Their Elmwood caught my eye: Absolut Mandarin, Aperol, Hand Pressed Grapefruit Juice and House-Made Sour? Oh. Yeah. My husband’s eye was drawn to the Social Sting (How Do You Do) made of Cognac, Creme De Menthe, Egg White, and Ginger Beer.
The best news? Providence Social’s LRW Specials went as such:
Choice of 3 Featured Plates or House-Made Desserts 20.15
Add 22oz beer, or 2 beers, or 2 craft Cocktails 30.15
or add 1 bottle of house wine 40.15
We could get 2 cocktails at essentially half price? Uh, yeah, we snatched that deal up!
I was a little uncertain about splitting a dinner with the hubs. The LRW specials at Providence Social sounded like they were going to be small plates, but if I left still hungry, I could eat an apple when I got home, right? Spoiler alert: fears unfounded.
For our Three Featured Plates, my husband and I ordered the Asian Fish Tacos (to share), Fried Spinach Artichoke Ravioli (mine), and Beef on Weck Meatballs (his). Two of the members decided to split the LWR $20.15 special and ordered the Red Neck Egg Rolls, Asian Fish Tacos, and Fried Spinach Artichoke Ravioli. Our final member ordered from the regular menu. She was torn between Asian Fish Tacos or the Stuffed Poblanos, because she had them before and said they’re unlike any stuffed peppers anywhere else and just fantastic, but in the end she went for the Fish Tacos too.
Our server first dropped of a starter basket of french fries and breadsticks with a tomato-based dipping sauce. It was alright, didn’t really strike my fancy, but it looked really cool. Very soon he delivered the cocktails my husband and I ordered, which were amazing! That Elmwood is something special; it was sour but not too sour, came with a peel of grapefruit; just amazing. I didn’t even want to try my husband’s Social Sting I was so happy with it!
Our server told us he was going to serve us our dishes staggard so as not to take up too much space on the table, so we knew to expect our dishes served a few at a time. It was a good call.
First he delivered the Fried Spinach Artichoke Ravioli with a citrus béchamel sauce. I had assumed the Spinach Ravioli would be served as maybe 2 or 3 bite sized pieces, but I was vastly mistaken. They were huge! I had to break each one up into about 8 pieces just to eat it! They tasted great too, with lots of spinach and artichoke in the filling, and the béchamel sauce was really wonderful. It was even served with some diced raw tomato, which actually I would have happily taken a little more of, because even though I’m certain it’s meant as garnish, the acidity of the fresh tomato did help cut through the richness the rest of the dish offered. They were so good that after my husband’s obligatory taste, he continued to pick the cut up pieces off my plate. And he was welcomed to them; there was a lot.
Next were the Asian Fish Tacos. The fish fillets were excellent sizes, the tortillas were great, and then fillings were fantastic! Particularly the marinated red cabbage, which was basically a quick pickle so the cabbage kept it’s crunch and enough of it’s freshness, but took out the sharpness cabbage is known for. The color in the tacos was very appealing, they were beautiful to look at, and even though I was on the full-side with the overly large ravioli, I couldn’t wait to dive in. The Asian fish tacos were enjoyable and certainly tasty, but we all noticed there was something that didn’t make them the best fish tacos ever. We kind of leaned toward the theory that maybe the oil was in need of a switch. I’m certain our group visit happened to land on the last day before PS switched out frying oil. No real biggie, it was still tasty and smelled amazing, so there wasn’t a single fish taco left when our server came back to clear some more room for the next round.
My husband got the Beef on Weck Meatballs and the ladies splitting the LRW Special got their Red Neck Egg Rolls. Both dishes were served beautifully, however at this point the girls were completely stuffed and couldn’t finish the last bit of Egg Rolls, and the two Beef on Weck Meatballs where the perfect finish. He did say they were some of the most unique meatballs he’s had: Providence Social really captured the essence of roast beef, horseradish, and the right seasonings to make it taste like a roast beef sandwich rather than a meatball. He liked the individuality of it, and it definitely wasn’t something he would have thought to make at home, which is always a plus.
All in all, Providence Social was a win. We had a great time, we could hear ourselves talk, the food was good, the drinks rocked, and the service was fantastic! While I went pescetarian on this trip, there were definitely enough vegetarian options to keep alternate eaters happy. If you’ve been thinking about Providence Social, or especially if you’ve previously enjoy their cocktails, this is the week to go!
If you’re interested in joining the Yelp book club, you can sign up for a Yelp account and keep an eye on the Buffalo events page. So far we’ve done Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
(amazing), Orphan Train, and April’s Book of the Month is City of Thieves by David Benioff (the co-creator for HBO’s Game of Thrones, and again, if you click the book image, it’ll take you to the Kindle edition, because I’m telling you if you’re going to read one book this year, let City of Thieves be it).