Review: Hourglass Brasserie

Pamper your palate
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  July 11, 2012

Dining_Hourglass_main
ARTFUL Hourglass offers a multitude of culinary feats.

Providence Restaurant Weeks (which continue through July 21; view the list at goprovidence.com/RW) is a sweet deal for several reasons: it extends beyond Providence, down to East Greenwich and Bristol; it gives you a chance to visit favorite places at a bargain rate ($14.95 three-course lunches and $29.95 three-course dinners); and it opens opportunities to visit restaurants you might not otherwise feel you can afford.

After careful study of the possibilities (only a few have lunch as well as dinner), we chose Hourglass Brasserie, in Bristol, and we were happy we did. Envision French cuisine with local twists, under the expert hand of Chef Rizwan Ahmed, who is half-English/half-Pakistani and has cooked at Michelin-starred restaurants in London and Bermuda. Picture a yellow-striped awning with red geraniums below it, the perfect ambiance for a Parisian cafe. Top it off with luxurious ivory-colored suede dining chairs and very attentive service. The result is that you'll feel pampered, from beginning to end.

At Hourglass, there are not only three courses for the Restaurant Weeks dinner but small touches in between: a tiny cup of red pepper gazpacho with a swirl of basil oil, a dried basil leaf chip, and a thin bread stick with bits of anchovies embedded in it. And that was just the "amuse-bouche" — to wake up your mouth! There was a choice of two appetizers, and we ordered different ones. Bill had the turnip veloute, a puréed soup that surrounded a tiny crab croquette, bits of pickled Granny Smith apple, and various herbed greenery.

I had the heirloom tomato salad, with a lovely lemon vinaigrette complementing the baked feta cubes that had been dipped in powdered sumac, also slightly lemony. There were crispy shallot rings and basil chips, but the tomatoes were just grape and cherry tomatoes; it's not yet the season for true heirlooms. There was also an intense "tomato snow" with threads of chili draped over it. Next came another "treat" — a palate cleanser of chilled watermelon consommé topped with a thin layer of honeydew foam.

From the three entrée items, we chose salmon and duck (the veggie option was pea risotto, with edamame and fava beans). My salmon pavé (referring to the square shape) sat atop Israeli couscous in a red wine sauce, garnished with frisée. Zucchini and yellow squash chunks nestled in the couscous, nicely al dente.

Bill's duck plate had a multitude of culinary feats going on: a foie gras pate that had a sweet hazelnut taste to it, Bill reported; a duck confit wrapped in puff pastry; slices of duck meat, plus poached cherries, pea pods, baby carrots, all in a chocolate jus. Bill proclaimed it a "work of art" just to look at (I think his palate responded in kind).

Our two desserts were "berries & crumbles" and crème brûlée. The latter was Tahitian vanilla topped with prune compote and blueberries (it all worked quite wonderfully). The former was a repeat of the duck plate artistry: here a brick wall of strawberry slices, there a tiny meringue cap; here a vertical piece of shortbread, there a tiny dollop of almond butter cream. Carefully arranged throughout the scene were blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and poured over it all was a terrific strawberry consommé.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , food, restaurants
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   EMOTION IN MOTION  |  April 02, 2014
    When Festival Ballet Providence started their in-studio series, “Up Close On Hope,” more than 10 years ago, the vision was to give up-and-coming choreographers and dancers a stage less overwhelming and more intimate on which to find their footing.
  •   A SOUND APPROACH  |  March 05, 2014
    When the Brooklyn-based Mark Morris Dance Group takes the stage at the Vets this Saturday at 8 pm, the audience will get a lot more than just the expressive movement of dance.
  •   THE EVANGELIST OF TAP  |  January 29, 2014
    “Tap dance has been around since air,” Glover says, “and I want to bring more awareness and seriousness to the art form."
  •   LASTING IMPRESSIONS  |  November 06, 2013
    In the current “Up Close On Hope” series at Festival Ballet Providence, there are two stunning and emotion-drenched pieces that are an excellent example of what dance can do.
  •   AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY  |  October 30, 2013
    With renewed appreciation of circus performers in the ’70s (Big Apple Circus) and the elevation of circus skills to artistic performance (Cirque du Soleil), many incarnations of circuses and cirques have followed.

 See all articles by: JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ