Dining Out During a Snowstorm

Going out to eat during a snowstorm is like vacationing off-season: you’ll have the place to yourself, and get phenomenal service since they’ll be psyched to see you.

Guest blogger Stephen Donovan is excited to be living in Providence. As the new co-host of "The Heather and Steve Show" on LiteRock 105.1  with Heather Gersten, he is exploring the local dining scene and will blog about his adventures for Rhode Island Monthly each month. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenDonovan1.

 

Hercules was here, a winter storm battering 100 million people nationwide. Naturally, that means my girlfriend (the lovely Alissa) and I have to go out to eat. We grab our long underpants, hats and coats, and before you know it, we’re walking the streets.

Being Providence residents for only a scant month, we don’t know where we’re going. All we know is that we have the city to ourselves. From everything we’ve read, this city has some fantastic architecture. We can’t see any of it, but it certainly seems like we’re passing some ornate buildings.

We arrive at XO Cafe, grab a couple of seats at the bar, and proceed to have a fabulous time. (You know you’re dealing with a high-quality establishment when they don’t mind that you hang up seven or eight layers of clothing before you sit down.) Going out to eat in a snowstorm is like vacationing off-season: you’ll have the place to yourself, and get phenomenal service since they’ll be psyched to see you.

Dario is behind the bar, and he provides the perfect combination of suggestions, recommendations and patience (I’m assuming that not every patron disrobes when they belly up to the bar.) He’s a man of his word, as the crispy seared salmon is delicious as promised, with pistachio, baby red potatoes, wilted greens and curried squash broth. Naturally, you have to leave room for dessert just so you can obliterate whatever healthy-ness you’ve enjoyed with your entree. So, an absolutely fabulous apple cranberry walnut crisp with vanilla custard ice cream is ordered and promptly devoured. Tip o’ the cap to Marty, the chef, Jennifer the general manager, for coming in to work, and every other resident of Rhode Island for staying home.

The staff assures me that the place is usually packed, and judging from the food and service, we’re not surprised. If you’d rather not wait for the next nor’easter, I’d call ahead for a table.

125 North Main St., Providence, 401-273-9090, xocafe.com

The crispy seared salmon at XO cafe.

The fruit crisp at XO Cafe.