One of my favorite dining experiences is Providence Restaurant. Not only because they have fantastic food and excellent service, but because the whole dining experience supports such a wonderful cause! It doesn’t take much to convince me that eating out is a great idea, but add a non-profit restaurant to the mix – one that supports the Second Harvest Food Bank’s culinary program and helps create jobs and makes dreams come true? Yes, please. I’ll drive. So with all that said, I was super happy to see Providence came up on my list of restaurants to review. While this isn’t my first review, with their ever-changing menu, there’s always something new to experience!
Located at the DoubleTree Hotel on University Parkway, Providence Restaurant is open to the public and easily accessible from anywhere in Winston-Salem. The décor is lovely – sophisticated and charming. And while you may be temporarily distracted by comfy pillows and trendy lighting, once they hand out the menus, everyone quickly gets down to business.
After years of reviewing, our group knows that when appetizer Bread comes to the table, we can’t indulge ourselves too much. After all, the most dangerous thing to do at Rosey’s Review is to fill up too early in the evening! But when a basket of warm and buttery garlic bread came to the table, served with a plate of herbed oil – none of us could resist the temptation. And none of us wanted to. Sometimes, a restaurant reviewer has to live on the edge and friends, I was living dangerously.
Next to arrive were bowls of She Crab Soup. After making my standard dumb joke of “How do they know which ones are she’s?” we got busy tasting. The She Crab Soup had great flavor. It was creamy, full of chunky crabmeat, and had a beautiful flavor of herbs. It was a unique twist on traditional She Crab Soup! Seafood enthusiasts will approve!
We sampled a few appetizers, and the Wild Mushroom Crostini is a hearty appetizer that packs a flavorful punch. The mushrooms are rich and delicious. And with a topping of onion jam – there was a hint of sweet that set the whole thing off perfectly.
We also tried the Kickin’ Wings and let me just say – kickin’ is no joke. WOWZA, those were hot, but they were crazy-good! The wings are meaty and smoked. But then, they are fried and topped with a honey garlic sauce that has a serious dose of heat! Amazing!
But hands down, my favorite appetizer – and the one I bogarted without shame – was the Flash Fried Brussels Sprouts. Y’all, I think it’s time to just say it: Brussels Sprouts have usurped broccoli as my favorite vegetable. And I love me some broccoli. I can eat it morning, noon, and night. But give me a dish of exceptionally made Brussels Sprouts, and I am a happy, happy girl. These were so beautifully prepared and topped with lemon garlic aioli and garnished with Parmesan. My applause to the chef for this one. I hope they never take it off the menu. And if they do, I hope they will send me the recipe. Nom nom nom…
The wait staff tried to clear our appetizer dishes, but I stubbornly held on to my Brussels Sprouts even as our first entrée arrived. Duck Hash Skillet is an unusual dish. The duck is slowly cooked in its own fat (duck confit) and served on crispy potatoes (also cooked in duck fat). A vegetable hash is topped with bacon vinaigrette, pickled shishito (chili) peppers, and topped with a soft egg. It’s a beautiful meal and full of rich flavor that has some unexpected twists! It’s a dish that could be summed up as “elegantly rustic.”
Few comfort foods have had as profound an influence on my life as the humble meatloaf. But in the hands of Providence? Well, this ain’t your grandma’s meatloaf. This is a sophisticated version of a comfort food classic. And while I love the traditional, I have a soft spot in my heart for Providence’s House Meatloaf! There are all kinds of great things about this dish – hello, Tomato Bacon Jam—I’m talking to you. But honestly, it was the ketchup that really got my attention. I’m just going to admit that I don’t like ketchup. I don’t even like the smell of ketchup. I don’t know why. I like tomatoes. I like vinegar. But I steer clear of ketchup. I don’t even use it on my fries. But y’all – Providence brought out Green Tomato Ketchup. And it was IN. CRED. IBLE. I was a ketchup convert that night. But not for the other ketchup. Just the green kind.
So speaking of comfort food. I have two words for you – Chicken. And Dumplings. And be still my beating heart – they made it with house-made ricotta gnocchi. This dish is one of the reasons Providence is as amazing as it is. They take something that most of us would never imagine being improved upon – and then they improve upon it! Seriously! First ketchup, and then Chicken & Dumplings? My Southern food o’ meter was in overdrive. Especially when I realized they added the secret ingredient. The secret ingredient that all Southern chefs instinctively know will make any meal ten times better… They added bacon.
After all that, the bar was set incredibly high, and for dessert – they served DJ’s Butter Pecan Cheesecake. DJ is an alumnus of the program. After he graduated, he started his own cheesecake business and Providence is proud to feature his decadent desserts. As far as THIS cheesecake goes — it was a mic drop moment. This magnificent dessert was creamy. Rich. And as one of my dinner mates so perfectly put it – it tastes like fall. It was the perfect way to wrap up a delicious meal!
Go. Go now. (Double check their hours first and make sure they are open. Otherwise, you’ll be sad.) But you have to try this new menu at Providence. It’s incredible. Please be sure to tell them that Rosey sent ya!