Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Gentle Lunch At Garden Grille

On a rainy Friday, my dad and I headed down to Pawtucket, Rhode Island to grab some lunch at Garden Grille before seeing Contagion at the Providence Place (a huge shopping center in Providence). We overestimated the time it would take to get there from the suburbs of Boston, allowing for a full hour, when it was a mere 35 minute drive. Thus, we arrived at 11 am, just as they were opening, and the restaurant was empty. We were seated promptly and given ample time to look over the menu.

We first ordered some nachos ($10) made vegan with daiya cheese.

These nachos were delicious. The daiya cheese melted perfectly and had a lovely seasoning to disguise its usual odd aftertaste. The guacamole was my favorite part of the dish, as it was so smooth and had a rich avocado flavor. The combination of salsa and jalapenos added a nice heat and spiciness. The beans added a wonderful softness and gave the nachos a more savory taste. I was not a huge fan of the glob of sour cream, as it matched the real thing too well, having a bitter, off-putting flavor.

Next, our entrees came out. My dad ordered the Tofu BLT ($7), while I ordered a wrap ($7).

I first tried my wrap.

The wrap was amazing and tasted like thanksgiving stuffed in a tortilla. This dish was just oozing with flavor from the slightly bitter cranberry sauce to the succulent apple chutney to the savory tempeh sausage chunks. There was also a creamy, slightly salty cashew cream sauce, which greatly enhanced the wrap, giving it a subtle cheesy taste. There were also some wonderful textures, with the soft and slightly chewy tempeh and the crunchy lettuce pieces. There was an accompanying salad that was enjoyable but did not go very well with wrap. The dressing was too tangy and bitter and seemed more fitting for an Asian dish.

Next, I tried some of my dad's BLT.

I found this sandwich to be equally delicious. I was surprised that Garden Grille was using tofu instead of tempeh as a bacon substitute, but it actually worked very well. The strips of tofu bacon were greasy and crispy, mimicking its meaty counterpart almost to an exact. The juicy tomatoes and lettuce pieces added an additional crunchiness. The chipotle aoili took the sandwich over the top, as it was so creamy and moderately spicy with a hint of garlic.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. Everything was so flavorful and it really hit the spot. I love that the menu consists of comfort food, yet is very creative and innovative. I also really like that the faux meats are handmade and they aren't using generic alternatives like gardein and tofurkey (although I do love those too). The prices are also very reasonable, considering the high quality food. We used a coupon from the Entertainment Booklet, which took $5 off. The meal came out to about $22 after the discount. I wish I had known about this place before, as it is truly a gem. I cannot wait to return on my next visit.

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