I had the good fortune of visiting Persimmon in their old Bristol, RI location where my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful meal. We were sad to hear that they closed that charming location, but happy to know they opened a new one in Providence, RI.
Some of our close friends went immediately when Persimmon re-opened and found that like any new opening, it seems they had a rough start getting used to the new location. Nonetheless, all reports about the food revealed the same great quality and ingenuity as before. Our visit confirmed that not only have all the kinks been ironed out, but the food and service are some of the best around.
99 Hope St.
Providence, RI 02906
Service and Atmosphere
Persimmon’s restaurant is divided into two main dining rooms with one containing a bar. The new location is larger than the old, but still has that warm earth tone quality that makes it feel welcoming. The dining room tables are a bit more modern without the white table cloths and with the semi open kitchen in back. The service is stellar and attentive as expected from one of the area’s best fine dining restaurants.
Looking at the menu at a place like Persimmon, it’s very hard to pick something to eat when all of the descriptions sound so good. Our solution was to splurge on the very moderately priced Chef’s Tasting. That allowed us to try a variety of dishes while leaving the decision-making in the hands of the chef.
Black Truffle Beignet – Our meal began with a small bite of black truffle beignet that was crispy on the outside while rich and creamy on the inside. A small bite with big truffle flavors let us know we were in for a great meal.
Olive Financier – Kalamata olives flavored this savory, light, and fluffy cake for a second finely crafted bite.
Salmon Tartare on Crispy Salmon Skin – Possibly the most delicious thing I ate all night was this salmon tartare served on a crispy salmon skin. Fresh, cool seafood flavor with a mix of tender and crispy textures. Fantastic!
Grapefruit and Mint Salad – I’ll admit that I wasn’t especially impressed by the presentation of this salad, but the flavors were spot on. The citrus married perfectly with the mint, which in turn went nicely with the sheep’s milk cheese. A refreshing first main course in the tasting.
Pompano and Potatoes – I’d never tasted pompano (a fish often eaten in the Southern U.S.) before and while I’m glad I did, I’m sad it took me this long to try it. It smelled a bit fishy at first, but the flavor was delicate and mild. Even with the tasty fish, the star of the dish turned out to be the fantastically crispy potatoes underneath the fish that absorbed all the flavors on the plate, but still held their own.
Foie Gras (Add-On Item) – The Chef’s Tasting is great on its own, but our server asked us if we wanted to add a foie gras course. I jumped at the opportunity to try it. The duck liver came out scored and charred, but the inside was rare. I enjoyed the dish, but it was perhaps a bit more undercooked than I am used to.
Two-Week Aged Duck Breast – I love duck and while I thought this was a nice dish and the interior of the duck was cooked perfectly, it wasn’t my favorite of the night. The bitter endive and citrus glaze didn’t quite work with the duck for me, but perhaps that’s just a personal preference. The creativity and skill in the preparation was quite evident regardless.
Beef Bavette – I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. I think the meat was a simple braised sirloin rather than flank steak (also called bavette), but it was very tender. The charred leeks went wonderfully with it.
Kefir Lime and Coconut Sorbet – Our last small palette cleanser consisted of two different sorbets – kefir lime and coconut – topped with a crunchy semolina. Both were fantastic and rich enough to make one think they had cream in them.
Valrhona Chocolate Crepe – The chef’s tasting ended with a small rolled crepe filled with hazelnut Valrhona chocolate (think fancy Nutella). The sauce had a distinct coffee flavor to it, which went very nicely with the crepe and chocolate.
I’ve long considered Persimmon one of Rhode Island’s best restaurants and I’m glad that nothing has changed in that regard after their relocation to Providence. The menu is creative and you’ll want to try everything. While not an every day option, the Chef’s Tasting is a great bargain compared to other Chef’s Tastings of similar or even lesser quality and will allow you try out the creativity coming from the kitchen. I would highly recommend Persimmon to anyone seeking fine dining quality and creative cuisine in a comfortable, inviting atmosphere.
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