By Mary Smith
When I think of exotic foods, I associate them withÂ faraway places. However, my experience at the Garden GrilleÂ showed me that exotic foods can be grown and prepared fresh every day on the East Side of Providence. Preparing the finest vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free entrees in Rhode Island, Garden Grille is an ambrosial introduction to vegetable-rich, protein-dense cuisine. Their muse, Grandma Reggie, whose story is printed on the back of the menu, serves as a testament to the benefits of meat- and dairy-free eating. Meat replacements such as tempe and tofu are prepared full of flavor, and dairy substitutes, like soy, prove that even without whole milk, aÂ shake is still a (soymilk) shake.
For dinner I started with a Grandma Reggie Raw Heaven salad. It was a lovely looking and tasting spread of arugula, mango, avocado, grapefruit, beat-jicama, and cashew gomasio. If you are unfamiliary with the last two ingredients, all I will say is that they were pivotal to the preparation and presentation of the dish, not to mention the fresh flavor. I followed my salad with the cashew and herb encrusted tofu accompanied by coconut mashed yams. The flavor of the yams is something I will never forget; this sweet pairing is far from my mom’s candied Thanksgiving yams!
Garden Grille’s menu is full of creative flavors, assembled in all forms, from fresh squeezed juices, to smoothies, entrees, and even vegan desserts! For the health conscious, the restaurant offers fresh squeezed juices, and my favorite is called the Kermit: it’s a blend of cucumber, celery, parsley, and spinach. Being adventurous at Garden Grille is a must. The service is friendly and go with the staff’s recommendations as much as possible. Our waitress, Merydith, recommended the dessert special of the day, a vegan orange cake with vanilla icing topped with blackberries. It was especially amazing to find out that this dessert was entirely vegan because the cake was soft, not dense like some vegan cakes I have tried, and the flavor of orange was subtle and delicate. Garden Grille serves a dynamic variety of beers and wines; I was especially pleased to see a Malbec, my favorite Argentinean red wine, featured on the list.
If you have never tried vegan cuisine, I would suggest starting offÂ at Garden Grille. The friendly service, colorful interior and exciting menu provides not only an adventure for seasoned diners, but also for kids. Merydith told us that most kids love to try their smoothies, tofu chicken strips, and the gluten-free macaroni and cheese. Not only is Garden Grille a great place to have a healthy, adventurous dining experience, it is also a great place to cater an event. The Garden Grille offers a daily lunch special, which consists of homemade soup, salad and bread for just $6.00!Â Despite their efforts to cater toward vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets, Garden Grille’s preparation and presentation is some of the finest in Providence and I would recommend it to any and all!
Garden Grille – 727 East Ave., Pawtucket, RI 02860
Open: Monday-Thursday 11:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.; Sunday 10:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.Â www.gardengrillecafe.com
Mary Smith is a freelance writer who lives on the West Side of Providence. When she is not writing, she spends her time roller-skating for the Providence Roller Derby and having nice chats with the lovely people of Providence.