I've thoroughly enjoyed the dining experiences I've had at Persimmon's former location in Bristol, RI. But it was clear that the place was too small. The opportunity to buy the former Rue de L'Espoire at 99 Hope Street on the east side of Providence came up, and chef Champ Speidel and his wife, Lisa, went for it. We are eternally grateful!
The space holds almost 3 times more people, and the vibe is upbeat and exciting. The experience rivals that of the best New York City restaurants. But there's no stuffiness here. This is fine dining they way it should be: small plates with incredible flavors, all while you enjoy the company of friends in a casual atmosphere. The suits are here...but there are far more people in jeans.
My wife and I sat at the chef's table (a front-row view of the workings of the kitchen) and enjoyed small plate after small plate of incredible bites: from deviled quail eggs with sturgeon caviar to crispy chicken skin to lamb. Oysters 3 ways: fried, raw, and chips were mind-blowing. Pasta carbonara with earthy black truffles was the carbonara I've always dreamed about. Tempura rock shrimp weren't heavily battered, but lightly crisp with a highly addictive sauce. Boneless stuffed chicken wings, deconstructed, re-constructed and filled with Asian flavors, was the unexpected hit out of the park. It went on and on...
Watching chef Champ at work was a real treat. It was great to talk to him, his wife, Lisa, and their enthusiastic staff. We learned a lot.
I had said years ago that Persimmon in Bristol was Rhode Island's best restaurant. Now, in its new Providence location on Hope Street, just a stone's throw from Brown University, it has truly arrived.