Restaurants & Bars

[Downtown Providence] AS220: So good!

Harmy | Oct 29, 201103:54 PM

I went to AS220 for dinner after seeing a play next door at Perishable Theater and ordered the 'big plate' of pulled pork something. It looked good, I didn't want a sandwich, and a tapa / salad was probably not going to have enough heat content for me to walk home warmly.

Went up, paid $12 ($9 + tax / tip), got my playing card and waited for Queen of Spades to be called. Bar chatter was warm. Occasional flame poofs from the kitchen were entertaining.

Heavily appealing to outdated stereotypes, the plate is is not of the size that a petite woman, hoping to spend the evening flirtatiously, would want to be seen with. It contained a piping hot mound of pasta with sauteed broccoli rabe with generous amounts of pulled pork, and slices of some sort of strong local cheese melting on top.

And sterotypes be damned: the dish was delicious, and the only inference drawn should be that the diner is not afraid to experience great pleasure. One component of the success was that the dish was seasoned extremely well -- the warmth of the food combined very well with the pepperiness, and the garlic was wonderfully toasted. The greens were cooked perfectly, and you could tell that the pulled pork was at one time a well-browned piece of meat: the caramelization added so much to the dish's flavor and texture.

I would not associate this with bar food (wings, peanuts) at all. It is unpretentious and high-quality cuisine, and reminded me of my gnochetti with peas and exciting mushrooms at a well-coiffed place in Charleston (FIG?). If you asked me whether I would like to spend $9 Providence dollars on an average-ish burger at Paragon or this sublime fare, I'd raise an eyebrow but secretly want to punch you in the face.

So, yeah, great experience last night. I'd been there previously and sampled the smaller plates -- you can get a bowl (not saucer) of crispy chickpeas for $2, really interesting salads; the only thing that I wasn't thorougly impressed with has been the curried bisque, but even that was pretty good.

AS220's food probably isn't a secret, but in case you haven't gotten the gumption to try, I urge you to go for it: there are meals to warm you on these wintry nights, as well as bites for all your barhopping needs.

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