Open for just about 7 weeks or so, Providence Social on Rhode Island has added another brunch option on the west side of Buffalo. It is exciting to see the ongoing revival of a landmark location for dining. Providence Social is located in the old Romanello’s Roseland restaurant building at 490 Rhode Island Street. Most recently it was the Prime 490 restaurant and now current owner Josh Hanzlian has set out to make a name for the restaurant using the historic bones with an updated blueprint.
The bright deco inspired interior is well laid out to accommodate a full bar scene or even some game watching, as well as plenty of room in the back for dining. The space’s interior is casual but refined. It can hold its own with the better restaurants in town while still feeling as if you can pop in as you are. There is a unique stained glass window above the bar that depicts Buffalo’s landscape. The original hostess stand from the Roseland restaurant was found at an auction and placed perfectly back in the new restaurant.
Separating the bar from the dining room is a large, temperature controlled, walk in wine cellar. They are carrying a wide variety of wines and promoting them on Wednesdays with half price wine night. The large outdoor lounge will be a wonderful patio to hunker down for some warm weather gathering. I say, put in a fire pit or two for some winter fun. The name Providence Social truly states what they’re doing here… creating a place to socialize (while the word “Providence” was added to the name because it’s located on Rhode Island street… get it? Providence, Rhode Island.)
We opted to go for Sunday brunch to give it a try. I personally love brunch and Buffalo sure does have some good places. The biggest problem is that so many people also share this sentiment and it can be hard to get a table at the usual brunch favorites. We happily got a lovely booth and pondered the menu.
The restaurant does not have a website yet, so I was unsure of the menu before I sat down and was happy to find that Providence Social is not just another Italian restaurant. They are serving up some creative dishes designed to share or keep all to yourself. Don’t be mistaken; this is not a tapas restaurant but more like a cocktail party. The evening menu offers interesting fare such as duck confit nachos with won ton chips, bone marrow with tomato-bacon jam, lamb sliders, smoked salmon bread pudding, fried catfish with grits and greens and roasted chicken with ratatouille and cous cous.
Providence Social Sunday brunch offers a $4.00 mimosa, so our server brought us some drinks and a basket of breakfast breads to start. Their brunch menu offers entrees with unique combinations from an array of different influences. The southern style eggs benedict put a nice twist on the classic with applewood-smoked bacon, braised greens and poached eggs on English muffins. The tangy course grain mustard hollandaise topped it off nicely. The sausage & eggs dish had flakey buttermilk biscuits, topped with poached eggs and poblano pepper-sausage gravy. The dish was really good with perfect poached eggs but lacked a little fruit or something on the side to complete it. The stuffed poblano pepper and fried egg dish was my favorite. The spice from the sauce with the creamy cheese & chorizo filling in the pepper with fried eggs, and crostini toasts to dip into it all, was just plain delicious. I think this is not a permanent menu item but a special that day but I do hope they keep it coming so more folks can get a try. Another really nice thing worth mentioning is that they accommodated my 6 year old’s request for plain poached eggs, fruit and toast. As a parent, it is nice to know Providence Social will make the effort to prepare something to satisfy the simpler palate of a kid, especially if there isn’t a children’s menu in place.
The portions on our entrees were just the right amount of rich, decadent food for midday on a Sunday. I would not say they were small but the plates were not overflowing with food either. It is hard to take and re-heat leftover brunch items, so it was refreshing to feel I was not wasting food because the portions were too big to finish. However, the pricing is appropriate to the amounts and ingredients. The average price on the brunch menu is about $9.00-$10.00 per entrée.
Providence Social gave us a really nice brunch experience. The bar seems like a great place to gather for cocktails with friends, watch a game or crack a bottle. House wines are $16.00 a bottle and house pours for $4.00. Make note they have their own large parking lot, so it is easy to gather there. I certainly look forward to returning for a half price wine night on a Wednesday and checking out the evening fare. I think that this Buffalo newcomer has the potential to make a mark on the food scene, all the while, reviving this historic location.
The Providence Social
490 Rhode Island St.
Buffalo, NY 14123