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Feast | On The Menu

by John Taraborelli

Your Must-Eat List The city is buzzing with new openings

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The Salon

Photography: Mike Braca

There are several

new places in the works Downtown, the first of which is already open. The Salon (57 Eddy Street) is the brainchild of Brown grad and New York City transplant Ethan Feirstein. This casual nightspot, occupying the space that formerly housed Salon Marc Harris, is his attempt to “create a fun meeting place that could be a lot of things to a lot of people.” While Feirstein’s concept does incorporate some elements of the former tenant, he wanted to create an aesthetic that felt temporary and transient, “as if a bar sprung up overnight in a former hair salon.” To that end, the space is furnished with unfinished pine bars that are meant to look hastily thrown together (despite the significant work that went into them) and raw wood picnic tables that can be rearranged, flipped over, or used for an impromptu ping-pong game (for real). The food and drink match that playful, unexpected feel. Feirstein stresses, “there are four, and only four, things on the opening food menu”: a PB&J sandwich, a PB Deluxe sandwich (with Nutella and honey), a Fluffernutter and S’mores. “I wanted to do juvenile comfort food,” he explains, “the kind that people might think is a little weird to serve at a bar, but are going to love when 10pm rolls around and they’re three beers in.” The cocktail menu will be equally sure to inspire curiosity, with whimsical choices like the Kali (a cabernet and Coke mix that Feirstein

says is popular in South America) and his personal favorite, the Pickle Back: a shot of Jameson followed by a shot of pickle juice. “I’m into odd combinations,” Feirstein summarizes, “and hope everyone else will be too.” Two other eagerly awaited restaurants are in the works. The Korean barbecue Sura, which is a hidden gem on George Waterman Road in Johnston, is opening a second, more high profile location at 232 Westminster Street, where they will also be offering sushi. Around the corner, the stately Federal Reserve (60 Dorrance Street) will be reborn as The Dorrance, offering lunch and tapas Monday through Friday, as well as made-from-scratch cocktails. INSTANT CLASSIC ON IVES >> Sometimes a new restaurant opens and just instantly feels like it’s been there for years. Such is the case with McCurdy’s Junction House (79 Ives Street), the latest addition to an increasingly revitalized Ives Street. Even the name evokes the sense of a neighborhood institution: it’s named for the Irish pub that the great grandfather of proprietor Michael Devolve owned on Plainfield Street at the turn of the 20th century. (The original McCurdy’s survived Prohibition, but not the fire that later destroyed it.) “We wanted to have a down-home, eclectic approach,” Michael says of the his newly renovated storefront, which the retired history teacher runs as an

equal partner with his two sons, Michael Jr. and Ryan, and Michael’s longtime girlfriend Morgan Nahrwold. That approach is evident both in the interior – a cozy, inviting space punctuated by antiques and family photos – and the food, which is seasonally inspired, shockingly inexpensive and, as Michael says, “sticks to your ribs.” Take, for example, what is soon to be their signature dish: the Black and Tan Beef Stew. Both Guinness and Bass go into a hearty, rich stew served over creamy mashed potatoes, a thoughtful twist on a traditional comfort food. There are also the Sea Salt Brined Pork Chops, smothered in mushroom gravy and far more moist and tender than the tough, dry pork chops you remember as a kid. McCurdy’s is also vegan and vegetarian friendly, offering more than just the cursory mixed greens or grilled vegetables; think more like Baked Pears with wine, gorgonzola, raisins and candied walnuts. LEARN FROM THE BEST >> Local cupcake artiste Kristin Walcott-Brennan of The Cupcakerie (1860 Broad Street, Cranston) will be teaching a cupcake workshop at RISD Continuing Ed on March 9. Sign-ups begin January 10, and you can register online at www. risd.edu. Anyone interested in learning the art of the gourmet cupcake couldn’t ask for a better teacher. For more details, call The Cupcakerie at 467-2601.

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January 2011 | Providence Monthly

45

Providence Monthly January 2010  

10 to Watch for 2011: Our annual list of the city's Rising Stars Dining in Style at the Westin The B-Hives head to the love shack Drink Fash...

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