Eat It, Damn It!

Reviews, raves, slams, and damns.

Category Archives: Rhode Island

East Side Pockets

MFG (My Former Girlfriend) wanted to see WaterFire. Basically, it’s a bunch of urns with wood set aflame inside along the water in the middle of Providence, Rhode Island. After traipsing up and down, we needed a bite to eat.

Nearby the downtown area is Brown University. Near Brown University are a bunch of bars (as is usually the norm in any college town). Nearby the bars are places to eat, in particular, cheap food that can be served up quickly to inebriated college students. One of these places is East Side Pockets.

East Side Pockets Door
They bill themselves as “The Home of Middle Eastern & Vegetarian Food”. Perfect for a college audience. There isn’t a huge waiting area, but the folks at East Side have staffed themselves very well for quick turnaround. A couple people are available to take your order. They also do some assembly. There are one or two guys working the grill and then one or two more preparing the bags to go and working the register. Even though there was a decent line when MFG and I arrived, it moved very quickly.

Falafel Appetizer
We started off with their Falafel appetizer ($4.17). Though listed in the appetizer section, these Falafel are huge! Six enormous Falafel with “yogurt cucumber sauce” and hummus. I would call the stuff under the Falafel “pita”, but the menu says “Syrian bread”. They can call it whatever they like, it was fresh, hot, and delicious. This appetizer is a meal unto itself. Order to share, or just have it with a soup. It is plenty.

The Falafel is tasty, but not exemplary. The flavor is not bad, but it is just a little dull. They are very well prepared with a crunchy exterior and a meaty but tender inside. As I said before, the portion is more than generous. The cucumber sauce helps. The hummus was the standout of this dish. It was very creamy and bright. There was a little zing from some lemon. It was not a bad dish, but don’t order it if you are looking for a flavor explosion.

Middle Eastern Salad
MFG got a Middle Eastern Salad. Take a salad, add some Grape Leaves, Falafel, Hummus on the side, and you’ve got the Middle Eastern Salad. The Grape Leaves were very tasty, a little vinegar bite and a tasty interior. MFG gave the salad a thumbs up.

Chicken Soup
Since it was an especially cold out, Chicken Soup ($3.93) was in order. This is a fair dish. Nothing special, but it was hot and fresh.

Gyro Pocket
Not knowing that the Falafel appetizer would be so huge, I also got a Gyro Pocket ($6.71). Once again, a good offering, but the gyro meat was not the flavor bomb I was hoping to experience.

My review of East Side Pockets may seem underwhelming, but it is not a thumbs-down. The food is fresh, quickly prepared, and very reasonably priced. On the other hand, it is not someplace that is going to haunt my dreams. I have come to expect more bold tastes from Middle Eastern food. While this restaurant was tasty, it was not exciting.

East Side Pockets
278 Thayer Street
Providence, RI 02906
(Google Map)


Harry’s Bar and Burger

MG and I were off for a little break with a long weekend on Cape Cod. We decided to stop in at Harry’s Bar and Burger along the way. It met all my requirements for a quick stop on a car trip:
1. Near the highway
2. Good reviews
3. Respectable prices

It turns out that Harry’s is very popular with the college students of the area. There were a number inside, some with portfolios under their arms, some complaining about classes, and some people that were just clearly of that age. However, it was not a complete college bar as the front area was filled with people old enough to have college kids of their own.

Harry’s boasts an impressive beer list, but since I was on a road trip and only stopping in for a quick bite, I was not ingesting any beer. A shame, because there were a few microbrews that I would have been glad to try out.

Bacon Cheeseburger
MG got the Bacon Cheeseburger ($5.29). (But there are two burgers in the photo above.) That’s right, each order equals two burgers.

Here is a point of contention amongst purists. Harry’s calls their burgers “sliders”. As I understand it, a slider, by definition, must not only be small, but must be finished atop a bed of onions when cooked on a griddle. These burgers were smaller than average (more on that later), but they did not look or taste to be finished atop a bed of onions. They are served on a potato roll with shredded lettuce, pickle, and special sauce (Russian dressing/Thousand Island/some pink looking thingamagig). The burgers are thin, but not much thinner that the average fast food patty, and while a little smaller than full size, they are clearly bigger than burgers from the famous sliders chain.

…and these were good.

We were not asked how we would like our burgers cooked, and they came out a very nice medium. These was just a sliver of pink in the middle. Unless you need your burger well done, just let it ride. The bacon was standard supermarket fare, but was properly cooked without becoming too crispy or chewy.

Double Double
I got the Double Wide ($6.69), a cheeseburger order with additional patty and slice of cheese. It was simply super. Though they are smaller than average, a standard order at Harry’s will definitely satisfy the most hearty of eaters, especially if paired with a side order.

Sweet Potato Fries
The Sweet Potato Fries ($2.59) are super. There is some form of sauce called a Kryptonite Aoili that is paired with the order. They went together well enough, but the fries are so good, they don’t need any help.

Onion Strings
The Haystack Onion Strings ($3.59) are super thin and crunchy. I got the queasy, filled-with-oil feeling after a little bit, but what did I expect? They’re onion strings. Served with a chipotle Ketchup, the side order is a monster-sized dish that I dare say is too much for one. Nevertheless, it’s great. If you need some onion, order this without hesitation.

To top it all off, we were there during Harry’s Happy Hour, so our burgers were half-priced. That’s a pretty hard deal to top. Even at full price, for the quality and portions, Harry’s would have been a steal. Since our waitress was exceptionally nice and attentive, I made sure to make up the regular price on top of her tip.

Should you find yourself driving through Rhode Island on Interstate 95 and need a burger, stop in at Harry’s.

Harry's Bar and Burger
121 North Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
(Google Map)