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|Out to Lunch
by Brian J. Lowney
One of my favorite dining spots in downtown Providence is the renowned Trinity Brewhouse. I must admit that I’m not a beer drinker. The last time I sipped a pint of ale was in Ireland fifteen years ago and although Trinity does remind me of an English or Irish pub, it’s the great food that draws me time and time again to this popular pub. Believe me: If you like hearty fare, not to mention good drink (even if it’s soda or decaf coffee), plan to make a pilgrimage to Trinity Brewhouse.
When recently faced with the decision of where to take a retiring co-worker for lunch, the third member of our party chimed in, "Why not Trinity Brewhouse? You can’t go wrong. There is something on the menu for everyone." He was right. Trinity is the pub for all reasons (lunch, dinner or a late night post-game or theater snack). Our trio of hungry revelers was warmly greeted at the door by an effervescent hostess, who quickly seated us. Once we had settled in and were comfortably seated at a high table, our very pleasant and efficient wait server took over and provided excellent yet unobtrusive service throughout our "little retirement party."
Bob, our honored guest, reminisced about his long career in sales as he glossed over the menu, before eventually selecting the grilled sirloin burger ($5.95), that arrived garnished with lettuce, tomato and red onion. A generous serving of hand cut French fries, made from locally-produced potatoes grown especially for Trinity Brewhouse at the picturesque Ferolbink Farm, in South Tiverton – accompanied the thick, juicy burger. (Note that some Trinity guests just order a heaping bowl of French fries for lunch ($2.75). Sprinkle some malt vinegar and catsup on a few of these homemade shoestring fries and you’ll see why they are so popular.)
"It’s very good," Bob said, smiling, as he noted his future plans to do home repairs and visit Ireland. If he’s lucky, he’ll stumble across a pub just as good as Trinity when he sets foot on the "Auld Sod."
Jon, a connoisseur of domestic and imported beers and ales, began his lunch with a pint of Rhode Island I.P.A ($3.50), which the pub’s menu describes as "the most bitter of the pale ale family, India’s pale ale’s malty flavor is accented by fruity aromas, a dry bitter finish and bright copper color." "It’s very bitter and ‘hoppy’, he observed, puckering his lips. "It leaves a bitter aftertaste, which I really like."
Jon perused the menu at length, thought he might want a burger, but finally settled on the grilled portabella sandwich ($6.95), a large, earthy portabella mushroom, served sizzling hot, along with a grilled mélange featuring artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes – all dressed with a zesty sundried tomato pesto on grilled rosemary and chive focaccia bread.
"I’m getting a bit overwhelmed by all these vegetables, "Jon mused, as he enjoyed his sandwich. "But I really like it!" he added. "I’m certainly not complaining."
While many menu selections caught my eye, I chose the smoked turkey sandwich ($6.45) – an inviting combination created by taking thick slices of succulent smoked turkey and dressing them with tangy cranberry relish, chive cream cheese, bright green spinach leaves and sliced tomatoes. This delightful sandwich tasted just as good as it looked and was served on the aforementioned rosemary and chive focaccia – which could prove to be addictive when a bread lover like me is left to his own devices.
The subtle, smoky flavor of the turkey blended nicely with the savory, smooth herbed cream cheese and tangy cranberry sauce, creating a pleasant yet powerful sensation that quickly woke my tired taste buds. I also enjoyed the fresh "veggies" that tasted just like they were picked from someone’s summer garden – truly a nice addition in the dead of winter.
Working in the downtown area offers me ample opportunities to visit Trinity Brewhouse. Perhaps on my next visit I’ll try the pulled pork barbeque sandwich ($6.35), which features pulled pork in a flavorful smoky barbeque-beer sauce, topped with horseradish mayonnaise and grilled onions. Talk about packing a powerful punch!
Once spring rolls around and I finally become determined to shed those winter pounds, I might opt for the grilled eggplant sandwich ($6.30) – a tantalizing combination of grilled honey-citrus marinated eggplant with grilled onions, fresh mozzarella, baby greens and roasted red peppers – all served on that great herbed focaccia bread.
Trinity Brewhouse offers an extensive list of ales, beers and stouts, as well as a variety of appetizers (try the Forbidden City Wings ($6.40) – a platter of meaty chicken wings swimming in a pool of spicy Chinese soy-sesame sauce. For the health conscious, there are salads: I recommend the house Caesar topped with buffalo chicken ($9.75).
Trinity Brewhouse is a fun, family-oriented pub (yes, there’s even a children’s menu and several pizza offerings), that’s definitely worth visiting the next time you find yourself downtown in the "Renaissance City." Enjoy!
Trinity Brewhouse is located at 186 Fountain Street, Providence. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.; weekends at noon. For more information, call (401) 453-2337 or visit their website.
Brian J. Lowney is a reporter for the Providence Visitor and the pet columnist for the Herald News (Fall River). He enjoys the wonderful Rhode Island restaurant scene and writing about the cornucopia of outstanding dining and retail food establishments we have been blessed with throughout the region.