Review by Don Fowler
When I discovered that chef/owner Paul Shire had recreated his famous meatloaf that drew me to his original DownCity Diner, I knew I had to visit his new venture, The Roi, at 150 Chestnut St. in the heart of Providence’s Knowledge District.
The Roi sits in the midst of renovated old manufacturing buildings in what was the Jewelry District, neatly tucked in the basement, which has been turned into a warm, cozy, casual bar and restaurant.
There are only three entree items on the luncheon menu, served Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I ordered the meatloaf dinner ($12.95), and it was as good as I remembered it. Shire makes his meatloaf with rolled oats, giving it a moist and soft texture, enhanced by a Jack Daniels gravy, served over fresh mashed potatoes and topped with thin onion rings. It doesn’t get any better than this. Joyce chose the Maryland crab cakes ($14.95), two cakes filled with crabmeat and cooked to perfection, served with fresh veggies and sweet potato fries. The fries are hand cut and large, giving you the full taste of the potato. The third item is a hummus plate, which also looked delicious.
There are sandwiches galore on the menu, including an open face meatloaf sandwich ($7.95), which is enough for the biggest appetite. The meatloaf is served for dinner, and I can’t imagine a larger portion ($15.95). The dinner menu is extensive, including rack of pork, steak, chicken and fish and ranging in price from $15.95 to $23.95.
The Roi is one of the few venues in town that serves up some cool jazz with its food and beverages. Whether it is lunch, dinner or a late evening snack, you can order soup, salad, burgers, pizza and other items. Try their polenta.
The Roi is one of a number of good restaurants located only a few minutes from Edgewood and Governor Francis, with on-street parking and easy access without going into the center of the city. A short drive down Allens Ave. to Point St., and then 150 Chestnut St. avoids Route 95. If you are on the highway, take the Point St. Exit 20, turn right on Point and left on Chestnut. Other restaurants in the immediate area include Olga’s Cup and Saucer, Blount’s New Clam Shack, Rick’s Roadhouse and CAV.
The Roi is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday until 2 a.m., Saturday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. For reservations or more information call 272-2161. And try the meatloaf.