I'm going to be in Providence at dinnertime on Thursday and possibly Friday nights, and I've got a hankering for old-school chowhound food. That's "chowhound" as distinct from "foodie" - I mean places that don't advertise fresh locally sourced ingredients, don't serve upscale twists on comfort-food classics, don't have a creative cocktail menu, aren't full of beautiful people. Nothing wrong with those things, but I get a lot of them these days where I live. I'm thinking more of the little hole in the wall where the lights might be fluorescent and the tablecloths might be plastic and the waiter might barely speak English but you get a really delicious meal, with none of the flavours watered down, that tastes spectacular and is really memorable in its deliciousness. A place that is just about the taste of the food, not about the "total experience". Could be something unusual and exotic and immigrant-run, or just a solid old local place that's been doing its greasy thing for decades.
I will be staying at the Biltmore downtown and am not quite sure what sort of time I'll have to venture further afield, so something walkable downtown is preferable; but depending on the situation I might be able to head a bit further out, so will take note if there's something away from downtown as well.
I did a preliminary searching and one place that seems like it might fit the bill is Flan y Ajo: http://flanyajo.com/ (Tapas made by someone with a Basque name, claiming "Flan y Ajo only has four stools. We do not take reservations. BYOB.") Other suggestions? I've been to Olneyville New York System and liked it, but looking to try something new.