In my quest for trying new restaurants in the Providence area, my friend and I decided to try a new Providence restaurant; "Everyman Bistro" in the "American Locomotice Works Complex" on Valley Street (off Rte 10). For those not familair, this is an old factory complex which has gotten plenty of press in the past few years as they have been slowly renovating the enormous complex into 'upscale apartments, condos, office, retail and restaurants'. So far, this one building has been renovated (it's my understanding this part of the complex will house a variety of "eateries") and "Everyman Bistro" is the first tenant there. They opened about a month ago, so we decided to have lunch.
The inside of the restaurant is welcoming enough - very casual, with no pretensions. The bartender/hostess/waitress sat us in a booth, which actually gave us a quaint and cozy feeling in such a cavernous space. There were a few other tables taken up, but not busy by any means. We were told this was their third full week of operations, since they opened the beginning of July. She gave us the lunch menu (which was minimal) as well as the dinner menu - which had more to choose from. She did tell us that everything used to prepare our foods are from local suppliers, locally grown, etc. Sounded tempting and impressive. We had high hopes that this would be a great lunch, and quickly become a favorite. Alas, our hopes vanished.
We started off with an appetizer of clam cakes ($3.50 for 4) which were very good, Not too big, not too greasy, not too salty, not too 'cakey' was deep fried to that 'golden' color (which means the oil is still 'new'). Our "hopes" were coming true.
For lunch, I opted for the 'Tuna Melt' while my companion ordered the 'Shrimp Skewer'. The Tuna Melt came with a side of fries (white potato and sweet potato mixed) while her Shrimp Skewer came with nothing - so she ordered "Kevin's Cole Slaw" on the recommendation of the waitress.
The Tuna Melt @ $8.50 offered nothing special - tuna (swimming in mayo), a slice of tomato, a slice of American cheese served open-face broiled on rye bread - packaged bread. They could have made it interesting with some other kind of bread choices baked locally...after all, they boast about their 'local commitment'. A sprinklle of sprouts or carrots - perhaps grwon locally? Soemthing mixed in with the tuna aside from the heavy hand in the mayo? Their specialty bistro sandwich was more on par with a cafeteria 'tuna melt' rather than a 'bistro' offering. The fries were OK - again, nothing memorable and not too generous a portion.
The "Shrimp Skewer" was a major, major disappointment @ $9.99. "Layered with vegetables" and "brushed with savory oils and spices" is how it was described. That's hardly what was presented. A few chunks of tomato, a few chunks of summer squash - and that was it for the layers of vegetables. Savory spices? We couldn't taste them. The shrimp - two baby shrimp on each end of the skewer - did not have the"real fresh" taste we were both expecting; it came across as frozen not fresh.
The Cole Slaw ($3.50) was a small portion and simply horrible. It had the taste and appearance of being old; probably from having been sitting around the refrigerator since the day they opened. It should not have been served at all, since it had the taste of 'on it's way out'. We did mention this to the waitress (when she realized it was not eaten - just a fork-taste from each of us) that it was inedible and tasted old and she answered "Oh yeah?" with a laugh, but didn't bother removing it from the bill.
We decided to try something for dessert - their only offering was frshly baked 'Jazzwell apple pie' since they sold out of eevrything already (and it was only 1 pm - they opened at 11:30 am). She suggested 'a la mode' . The pie was (literally) a sliver - not enough for two to share - and tasted on par with Table Talk (I doubt it was freshly baked) @ $6.00. The 'ala mode' ice cream was a melon-ball scoop of vanilla ice cream @ $2.00 more.
Total came to $46 (no alcoholic drinks - just coffee and iced tea) - $54 with tip...for cafeteria food, no less.
Over all - an experience not worth repeating, and certainly not worth recommending. If you feel you must try it (they offer folk music at night in the courtyard), stick with an order of clamcakes...and nothing else.