Gracie’s is a medium sized place in downtown Providence with Matt Varga as chef. There is no valet or assigned lot, so allow some extra time if you need to hunt for street parking. In addition to the nice sized white cloth covered table they had a number of booth like seats around the perimeter. Large windows to the street make up one wall of the dining room and they are heavily tinted which darkens the room quite a bit. Patterned cut outs are on some of the windows and gauzy drapes hang between some of the perimeter tables. There are a few tables outside. The wood floor is opposite the high dark ceiling with hammered copper inserts in some of the wood columns and booth dividers. The view out the window is of the street that is mostly filled with a bank building and its sign. They offer an a la carte menu as well as 2 tasting menus of 5 or 7 courses. Optional wine pairings are available and they have a full bar. We had pre-ordered the 7 course tasting and ordered our own wine. They promised to email and menu but never did. It is a good place anyway.
Bread service was focaccia (light) and sourdough (dark) breads with both mascarpone butter and butter topped with ramp salt. The sourdough had a better crust but had been cut awhile ago, so was on the dry side. The focaccia was fine. The mascarpone butter was crumbly.
Yellow Fin Tuna tartar was with ramp shoyo, asparagus, golden beets and Fresno aioli. The fish was from Point Judith, RI. The dish had lots of flavor that really enhanced the fish. The upright asparagus was also visually interesting. Really good dish.
Russet Potato gnocchi were in Hopkins Farm lamb ragu with English peas, pecorino and persillade crumb. The wonderfully light gnocchi were browned on one side that added to the texture of the crumb. A couple pea shoots brought out more pea flavor from the fresh green nuggets. The lamb ragu was wonderful with very moist shredded meat. A lovely dish here.
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras was alongside rhubarb, preserved green strawberry, olive oil cake and cocoa nibs. The lovely rich piece of foie gras was great with the tart strawberry and moist cake, which was a fun option to brioche. All the flavors really melded in this one. Another winner.
Atlantic Cod Loin was served on warm spinach and creamed garlic and butter gold potato and dotted with onion oil alongside crispy artichoke. The cod loin was cooked perfectly – so moist with a crispy skin. This is a bland fish but when paired with the other ingredients it became heavenly. The artichoke added a crispy nuttiness to this excellent plate.
A palate refresher of blackberry sorbet was creamy not icy and filled with good flavor and lovely texture.
Crescent Farms Duck was plated with baby bok choy, sugar snap peas, freekeh (roasted cereal made from green wheat), pistou (a cold sauce made from garlic, basil and olive oil), radish and plum jus. I wasn’t sold on the freekeh but everything else on the plate was solid. The duck was tender with most of the fat rendered and cooked a nice medium rare. It did not have a livery flavor at all. The bok choy was hard to cut and I would have appreciated a bit more sauce. Otherwise, this one was fairly good.
Artisan Cheese (L to R) a “Black Bart” cow milk cheese that was soft and crumbly with a red pepper gel. The middle was “Tumbleweed”, also cow milk cheese with shallots. The last was “Black Ledge” that was a cow milk blue variety with some spiced nuts. All were good and worked well with their accompaniments. Some tasty bites here.
Haitian Pride Cake was served with pineapple mango salsa, plantains (2 ways), goat’s milk yogurt and crystallized ginger. The dense, firm cake was dusted with cinnamon and sugar and pretty tasty. I enjoyed the salsa with its great fruit flavor and liked mixing it with the cake or the bland plantains. Some fried plantains topped the cake. There were lots of combinations to make with this plate and most were quite good.
The meal was finished with a couple chocolate macarons that were chewy and sweet.