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Diamond Dish: Red Stripe

Diamond Dish: Red Stripe

Diamond Designation: Three Diamond (Trendy food skillfully presented in a remarkable setting.) Learn more about AAA Diamonds.

Address: 465 Angell St., Providence, R.I.

Signature Dish: Moules & Frites

For locals, Red Stripe is a reliable choice for simple and satisfying bistro fare. Based in Providence’s bustling Wayland Square neighborhood near Brown University, it’s great for dining with a side of people-watching, and maybe a bit of shopping afterward in the upscale stores outside of its French doors.

Located a half-hour south, its second location in historic downtown East Greenwich provides a similar experience closer to the ocean. At both locations, the restaurant’s trademark high tin ceilings and black-and-white tile floors set the tone, making it well-suited for a date night or an evening out with friends.

It’s an American brasserie with French flair, but if the name reminds you of the Jamaican beer of the same title, you’re onto something. The original owner fell in love with the brew while vacationing in Jamaica and decided to name his restaurant after it. Continuing the tradition, the restaurant sells Red Stripe lager for only $3. It’s also a featured ingredient in the signature moules and frites.

Red Stripe offers 10 types of Cape Cod Bay mussels. Feeling exotic? The Mouclade satisfies with curry and coconut milk. For classic Rhode Island flavor, try the Portuguese version, made with chorizo, garlic and white wine. Or go for the Red Stripe: The best-seller is simmered with cherry tomatoes, pesto, garlic, shallots and the namesake lager. The mussels are piled high with a side of house fries. Sop up the leftover broth with a slice of sourdough bread and you’re all set.

If you’re not into bivalves, steak frites is also a popular option (and another perfectly good excuse to indulge in Red Stripe’s famous, can’t-eat-just-one fries). And while we’re on customer favorites, the tomato soup and grilled cheese, made with prosciutto, poached pear and pesto, is a must-try. All of the soups at Red Stripe are prepared from scratch; complete your meal with a cup or bowl.

French Onion Soup

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
5 pounds sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons port wine
1 quart chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock)
3 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon thyme, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Housemade croutons (a French baguette works nicely)
Sliced Gruyere cheese (if desired)

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Slowly heat up a saucepan and add butter. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and slowly sweat until translucent. Add the sugar and slowly caramelize the onions.
  2. Combine the vinegars and wine and set aside.
  3. Once brown bits begin to form on the bottom of the pot, deglaze with the vinegars/wine mixture and scrape the bits off of the bottom of the pan. Let reduce by 1/3 the volume.
  4. Once the wine/vinegar reduces, add the stocks and bring to a simmer for 30-45 minutes. Slowly simmer and add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Place ½-inch slices of baguette on an ungreased sheet pan in the oven. Turn over after 4 minutes, then remove after an additional 4 minutes (this will dry the bread).
  6. Ladle your French onion soup into an oven-safe soup crock, add 1 slice of the baguette and top with 2 slices of cheese. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely melted and has a bit of color.

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