Downtown Providence is a hot bed for great places to eat. On this particular evening, we decided to go to The Dorrance on the corner of Westminster and Dorrance St. Once you step through the revolving doors of The Dorrance, it looks as if you have taken a step back in time. You are immediately confronted by a rather long bar, but before you think this is just a bar, take a look around and immediately the level of class sky rockets. The high vaulted ceilings are splashed with maroon and cream with gold ascents that look like they are from the Gilded Age. This may all seem very picturesque, and believe me it is, but once we made our way to our seats, the night just kept getting better.
Given this was more of a special occasion for us, we decided to have a drink to get the night started. The cocktail list is worth the read as the house specials are cleverly crafted and if you aren’t interested in those, you can always get a glass of wine or have the bar whip up something to your preference, as they have everything. Up to this point, you now know that The Dorrance is nice to look at and offers a wide selection of cocktails and wine. That statement sounds rather bland and does no justice to this wonderful establishment. If you are not convinced yet let’s talk about food, shall we?
The dinner menu features about 9 entrees, 6 appetizers (including salads), and one soup of the day currently and each dish is wonderfully executed as would be expected of a restaurant that was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundations 50 best new restaurants. We started off with some curried cauliflower (crack on a plate) and calamari (because it’s always good in Rhode Island). The next phase of our meal was the entrée course. I ordered the Pappardelle and Lobster and my wife ordered the Scallops (what she had and what they have now has changed given they cook seasonally with what is available locally – the Scallops are probably still fantastic). We also ordered the Rack of Lamb, which was tender and over-the-top in flavor. All of our dishes were perfectly cooked and down-right delicious, meaning no leftovers to take home (sad face).
The night was not over when our entrée plates were whisked away as it was on to the dessert menu. They have changed the menu since we were there, but what we had was wonderful. I ordered the deconstructed S’mores and my wife had the strawberry shortcake. These are not the type of dishes you would usually make at home as there was no simplicity in the way these dishes were prepared (we are going under the assumption that generally people cook at home for flavor and comfort if this is wrong we are sincerely sorry and are waiting for our invite to your house). These desserts lasted all of about 5.23 seconds.
All and all, The Dorrance is a phenomenal building with loads of charisma, history and charm. The drink list is fantastic with anything you could want. Finally, the food is delicious in all the right ways. We highly recommend this place if you are looking for somewhere classy and fun to take your special someone. Don’t want to end the date night early? Head over to Westminster St. to walk off the decadent food, check out the cool local shops and grab some coffee. With Italian lights strung between buildings and beautiful brick walkways, it’s a perfect close to a perfect night.