Located on Hope Street in Providence, R.I., Cook & Brown is a small neighborhood gastro pub sporting a modern, yet inviting feel. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, the menu is updated daily, reflecting their commitment to fresh, seasonal foods. The same level of attention carries through to the bar, where they specialize in unique cocktails inspired by the classics. In the interest of full disclosure, KD has photographed for Cook & Brown in the past and many of her photos are featured on their website.
Chef Nemo Bolin started his culinary training on Martha’s Vineyard, working at the French inspired fine dining restaurant l’etoile. From there, he moved on to work at notable Boston eateries No.9 Park and Locke-Ober, as well as the well-known San Francisco restaurant Rubicon.
We started out with a pair of well-crafted cocktails suggested by our waiter, including the Superstition, made with Jura scotch, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and Chartreuse. It had a great mixture of smoky and sweet, with a slight herbal quality. The Parsnip Soup had a mellow earthy flavor and a creamy texture offset by the addition of crunchy breadcrumbs. The toasted pistachios provided a hint of nutty sweetness and the tartness of the green apples kept everything balanced.
Served on crostini with sliced radish and a horseradish cream, the Beef Tongue was reminiscent of roast beef with a bit more fat content. It was salty, with a big beefy flavor and a surprisingly tender texture.
We ordered the Glazed Pig Tails more out of curiosity than anything, but they proved to be our favorite dish at Cooke & Brown. Succulent and fatty, with a sweet and slightly sticky sherry-orange reduction, they were like pork candy. If you appreciate ribs, pork belly or any fatty cut of the pig transformed through proper cooking techniques, you owe it to yourself to try them.
The Fried Quail special had a golden brown exterior that was supremely crispy and not a bit greasy. The richly flavored meat was complimented by the well-seasoned batter and still retained its flavorful juices. Think of it as a more “advanced” fried chicken, with a more complex range of flavors, but all the same textures that make good fried chicken so satisfying.
One of Cooke & Brown’s best attributes is it’s ability to offer upscale and adventurous food and drink in a thoroughly un-pretentious setting. On the evening of our visit, the clientele ranged from middle-aged blue blazer country club types to early twenty-somethings in jeans, and everything in-between, all seeming quite comfortable.
Editor’s note ~ At Hungry Native, our restaurant reviews are by no means comprehensive, we may have visited a particular place many times, or perhaps only once. For the most part, we focus on specific dishes. We try to judge restaurants for what they are, rather than compare them directly. No review should be taken as a blanket endorsement of an establishment but rather a guide to what we found especially good or interesting.
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