Week 48: Slow Rhode

Oh hello there,


In Knoxville, Tennessee lately, and well the whole season, it has been an unbearably long lasting game of fall and spring playing tag and leaving the winter weather out. Just rain and sixty degree days to look forward to. Luckily, where we lack in winter wonderland majesty, Rhode Island makes up for tenfold.

There has to be some science to wanting cold and super fresh food in the summer and warm and comforting food when in the winter. Though everything seems to have its own quiet beauty when it is blanketed in snow and decorated with ice, unless you are blanketed in blankets quiet misery can be close to follow. That’s why when the temperature drops in Rhode Island, it’s a real treat. It’s a lot easier to enjoy warm gumbo, hot chicken, and toasty biscuits when it can be put under the guise of needing more winter layers. Park your meal by a window and you can even stare at the snow without having to touch it.

So, if you are in Providence, Rhode Island, you step out your front door and you feel the chill in the air and the promise of cold weather then get excited. Just around the corner, on the cobblestone pathway of West Fountain Street, in a very unassuming renovated multi-level garage lays a something special in waiting.

Here is your warm welcoming to the low-maintenance bar and restaurant, Slow Rhode.

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And now, before we get to the main course,

Some Background.


Just under a decade ago, chef Patrick Lowney, opened another restaurant and Providence staple, Broadway Bistro. Success was close to follow and the beginning to a new partnership. With James Dean (instructor at RI school of Design) and Patsy Wilson (manager of the Bistro), Slow Rhode was conceived. Each with a specific part of the project on their hands, Dean with the building and supplying of understated abstract art, Wilson with the front of house operations, and Lowney heading up the back and kitchen, the trio was onto something big.

Joining the new and popular trend of tapas-style restaurants, the bar and restaurant (or restaurant and bar) wows crowds with seriously flavorful food and flavorfully serious cocktails.

These small dishes, and some large, are best for parties of three (or one if you are up to the challenge) and offer such richness you will want to order everything on the menu. Everything has a powerful Louisiana kick and southern slant, not something found everywhere in this New England state.


The Space

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This place has an energy all its own, lent to by thumping music, concrete floors, high ceilings, and beautiful wood adorning nearly every surface. The words SLOW RHODE hung proudly on the wall to remind you to take it easy and enjoy yourself. Portions from tapas places are small but meant to be enjoyed with purpose. Plus, they have a big glass wall so you can stare at that white landscape we gushed about.


The Drinks

Just like the plates, the menu is small, like four inches tall and packed with as much flavor as the items. Double sided with cocktails, craft beers, and enticing food options. And be aware, some drinks may have unusual or unexpected ingredients, but this is no gimick. Question not the perfectly balanced flavors of these libation-creations because they each of a purpose. That purpose--- to contend as the night’s favorite consumption.


Small plates with big flavor

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The Slow Rhode’s Duck drumettes with white barbecue might make it onto your feed-me-for-my-last-meal list. Fried oysters over black-eyed pea stew with bacon and remoulade threaten everything you thought you knew about oysters. Duck Confit gumbo with generous helpings of meat that promises to warm and fill that hole winter left in your heart. Need we go on?


Yes, because here is


The Biscuit.

Of course it’s not just a cheese biscuit. Of course it’s not just butter. In a place with this sophisticated of a flavor profile, the only choice is the cheddar chive biscuit with jalapeno butter. It will melt in your mouth and melt that ice chip on your shoulder from the season.