I usually post on the Boston board, but a friend and I drove to Providence last night to meet up with another friend who lives there (and one more came up from Long Island to join us). We went to Turtle Soup on Broadway at the suggestion of the local person, as she hadn't been there yet. I had read a good review on this board (although I can't find it right now), and the online menu link she sent looked great. Plus, it was easy for us from the Boston area to get to - right off of Route 95 South.
We had reservations for 5:30 and were seated promptly. Restaurant was only 1/4 full, but filled up to capacity later on in the evening.
We started with a couple of bottles of white wine - Nobilo Sauv.Blanc and Kendall Jackson Reserve Chardonnay. They started us off with some great herbed bread and EVOO and a sweet balsamic drizzled in the oil. The apps we all got (and shared) were great - Asparagus & Grilled Portabello Risotto with Fresh Herbs for me and the others got the Pan-Seared Crab Cakes with Smoked Jalapeno Remoulade (these were absolutely WONDERFUL!), Seared Scallops with Roasted Red Peppers with a Lime-Cilantro Coulis served on a bed of greens (VERY good as well). However, there didn't seem to be any of the lime-cilantro coulis on the plate, so she got a small dish to dip the scallops in. And finally, the last in our party got the Grilled Tuscan Bread served with braised escarole in white wine and roasted garlic broth with some fresh herbs - also very good.
But the entrees was where things began to go awry. I chose the Pork au Poivre (medium) with caramelized leeks and Granny Smith apple coulis with roasted red potatoes, and others chose the baby Australian Lamb Chops with portabellos and bourbon demi glace over garlic smashed potatoes; Blackened Tuna with Avocado Butter and garlic smashed (also requested medium so it wasn't completely raw inside), and the Lobster Ravioli in a "fluffy" Skyy vodka cream sauce. ("Fluffy cream sauce"?)
About 20 minutes after our apps plates were taken away, the waiter (a really nice personable young man who was definitely aiming to please) came back and said they had run out of the lobster ravioli. Huh??? At 6:30 you've already run out? The local person among us asked if they got their ravioli from a very popular pasta market down the street - yes, they did. She asked could they run down and get some more. No, for some reason, they couldn't, even tho the store was still open. :-/ (The local person's husband runs a restaurant in Providence and gets his ravioli from this place, so she knew it was still open). So one of the items that was highly recommended by the waiter was no longer available at 6:30 on a busy Saturday night. Hmmm... So the person who had ordered the lobster ravs switched to the Pork au Poivre, but told the waiter to bring our three plates so our food wouldn't get cold. (We were told they were already done - we couldn't quite figure out why our three entrees were done before the kitchen realized there wasn't anymore lobster ravioli).
Well, that wasn't done. We ended up being served two out of four entrees that weren't even for our table - they were for the table behind us who had come in a half hour after us (but I don't think they ordered apps). The waiter and other server realized their mistake, and removed them to the proper table. Finally, about 5 minutes later, all of entrees were served, but several of ours were now lukewarm, and my pork was now well done, as it had probably continued to cook on the plate. And unfortunately, the tuna was much rarer (raw) than the person wanted it, so she left about half on the plate.
As to the Pork au Poivre - mine less so, but the pork chops were covered - and I mean every inch of the chops were covered - in peppercorns. Not coarsely ground pepper, as I had expected, but whole peppercorns pressed into the meat before cooking. At least 2 Tbsp. of peppercorns on my friend's plate. So much that she scraped off all of them and still got more than enough flavor from the pepper. The lamb chops (chosen by the local person) were perfect - she gave me one, and that was the meal I should have ordered. :-)
The side veggies were sauteed snow pea, carrots, and one other veggie - and we all found this to be overly salted. So much so that none of us ate them.
Dessert for me was a Sandeman's 10-yr. Tawny Port (which isn't listed on the drinks menu - none of the liqueurs are), some decaf for two of them, a Mexican coffee, and two of us ordered the Apple Pie baked in a large cup with vanilla ice cream, one got the decadent chocolate cake, and the other the bread pudding. When he came back with the coffee, we were informed they had run out of cream. They had milk - but no cream. Another ??? It's 8pm, with several cream sauces on the menu, and you have no cream (and couldn't run out for it?) Not sure what was up with that. Three out of 4 desserts were served - my friend's Apple Pie was "forgotten" and finally brought over.
So....while the 4 of us had a great time getting together, and the restaurant was a nice place to meet, the service and seasoning of the food left a bit to be desired. Some definite kinks to work out. Average cost with the two bottles of wine, pre-tip, was about $45 per person. I'd definitely like to go back upon a return visit to Providence, as I know but I also know there are so many other great places to scope out, and my local friend there says she'll find lots of other good places for us to meet up.
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