My culinary wish for the New Year: I'd love to see a few more daring restaurants open their doors in Providence in 2014. I think the popularity of places like North, Flan y Ajo, and Birch have proven that you don't have to take a predictable approach to be successful. And at this point, I would lump "hyper-local comfort food" into the category of "predictable"--that concept is certainly on-trend, but doesn't feel ahead of the curve.
I lived in another east-coast city (not NYC) for several years, and some of my favorite restaurants there were places that put a fresh, modern twist on traditional cuisine--specifically Italian, Mexican, and Indian. I really feel like this is a niche that's been woefully underexploited in Providence. When I want Indian, I go to Rasoi or Not Just Snacks (and maybe soon Rasa in EG), but I'd love a place that's a little more edgy, using the flavors and techniques of this venerable cuisine in a weird new way. Likewise, it's been a while since I've enjoyed dining on Federal Hill. I've aged out of the clubby vibe you get in many places, and I also have no interest in eating food that I could, more or less, make for myself.
All of this is a roundabout way of saying that my New Year's wish is for the amazing chefs and bartenders of RI to keep taking risks and pushing the envelope. If they dare to cook it, I will dare to eat.