As someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy fish or raw dishes, I wasn’t exactly craving a meal at Red Fin Crudo & Kitchen in downtown Providence. After all, “crudo” is literally in their name, and crudo is pretty much my worst cuisine nightmare. However, on the recommendation of a friend, I decided to give Red Fin a try, figuring that if nothing else, I’d be able to get a good drink.
I did get that drink –- and it was delicious -– but I was also pleasantly surprised by a menu that included a range of options combining Latin cuisine with other international flavors, from raw fish, to cheese and meat plates, tasty tapas and full-fledged entrees. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – there’s still that drink to discuss.
While my dining companion was brave and trusting of the bartenders, requesting that they simply make him a “whiskey drink,” I stuck to the menu, picking a cocktail called the Julius Caesar. Fortunately, the drink did not include anchovies or a stab in the back, rather mixing Blackberry Caipirinha, fresh blackberries, lime, and cachaça. It was smoky, but also had a sangria-like quality (calling back to the restaurant’s Latin flair) that made it taste fresh and light. As for my friend, his whiskey drink was delicious, combining Bullit rye with sours and herbs to create a complex but easy-to-drink cocktail.
Red Fin was just one stop on our evening’s tour of downtown Providence eateries, so we decided to just order one dish to split. We were about to place our order when the bartender suggested that we go with a special on the menu that night: yucca fries with prosciutto, cheese, gravy, and an egg on top. Resembling a poutine, but replacing potatoes with yucca, the dish was remarkably light — yucca, it turns out, doesn’t absorb oil as readily as potatoes. The prosciutto was crispy but not too crisp, salty but not too salty, and the gravy was enough to coat the yucca fries without making them soggy.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, a waiter delivered two pieces of birthday cake to our table, announcing that we had just happened to stumble into Red Fin on the night of its one-year anniversary. It was the perfect way to end such a delicious meal at a place where I never thought I would have found so many things to love on the menu. Red Fin Crudo & Kitchen is far more than a raw foods place – it offers great cocktails, educated and friendly service, and food that is unique and satisfying — plus, birthday cake!
– Shannon Curley
71 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903