Rhode Island would be the smallest state, however its culinary scene is something however small. From Cambodia to Cape Verde, Providence, R.I., eating places span the globe in a giant means.
Big King is the most recent restaurant in that metropolis from James Mark, the chef-owner greatest recognized for North, a critically acclaimed Asian-fusion restaurant. Before that, Mr. Mark, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, labored for David Chang on the Momofuku restaurant group.
He opened the Japanese-inspired Big King in June within the West Side of Providence. The neighborhood is house to a mixture of residences, youth arts organizations and a number of the metropolis’s greatest brunch spots. North beforehand occupied the house that Big King now does, however moved to bigger lodging on the Dean Hotel, a hip institution situated in downtown Providence.
In distinction to North’s bustle and lengthy wait occasions, Mr. Marks makes a transfer towards simplicity with Big King (a tribute to his grandmother, Big King Lee). For the brand new idea, he launched reservations and orchestrated a bodily redesign, extending the bar, however lowering the numbers of seats to an intimate 21.
On a cold December night, seated on the bar for an early dinner with a buddy, we ordered nearly all of the à la carte menu.
Dishes tend to focus on individual ingredients, many sourced from Rhode Island. Diners can also choose between a four-course or six-course set menu ($40 and $55, respectively), with the option to add a sake pairing. The menu, which changes frequently, is written in journals everyday, and given to diners. The offerings that day were penned in bright blue ink.
An array of seafood, vegetable and rice-based dishes arrived one by one —-perfectly spaced. We started with a half dozen Salt Pond oysters, accompanied by a mildly spicy green chile sauce and a surprise seventh oyster.
To follow, a small plate of almost raw lobster lacquered in soy milk and poppy seeds stood out. As did a simple bowl of grilled broccoli with white sesame, cashews and a hint of lemon.
Per our server’s recommendation, we sipped Kiku-Masamune Junmai Kimoto, a lighter sake that complemented the first half of our meal. It’s worth noting that diners will not find wine on the drinks menu; just a pared down list of sake, assorted liquor and light beer.
To round out the meal, we split four pieces of black bass nigiri with ponzu, a tart-tangy sauce that complemented the sweetness of the fish, and two lobster hand rolls.
The service was attentive and kind; cooks seamlessly slipped in and out of the kitchen to deliver dishes.
And for dessert, we enjoyed concord grape sorbet with candied ginger, the texture reminiscent of Pop Rocks, as well as a scoop of quince and vanilla ice cream enrobed in a shell of dark chocolate — a grown up version of a child’s ice cream sundae.
Big King self-identifies as “(kinda) strange,” according to its Instagram bio. That may be true, but my companion and I left content, appreciative that even on a Saturday evening, we achieved a state of serenity over sake.
Big King, 3 Luongo Square (no phone; reservations, www.exploretock.com); a meal for two is about $100, not including drinks or tip.
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