[Sidebar] September 4 - 11, 1997
[Food Reviews]
| by cuisine | by location | by restaurant | hot links | previous reviews | reviews |


Portions and prices for students and families alike

by Johnette Rodriguez

2095 Kingstown Rd., Kingston
Open Tues.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Fri. & Sat. till 10:30 p.m.
Sun., 4-9:30 p.m.
Major credit cards
Handicapped accessible

On a recent Tuesday evening, when we arrived at Quattro's restaurant near the University of Rhode Island campus (where Iggy's used to be, in Rhode Island-speak), we were surprised to see dozens of cars in the parking lot. In a location that has usually brought apathy or infamy to its former occupants, Quattro seems to have found a niche somewhere between nouvelle (grilled pizza) and no-nonsense (potato skins and chicken wings).

Partners Steve Marra and William Pinelli opened their fourth venture (thus the name "Quattro") at the beginning of the summer, after the success of Pinelli's Deli in Warwick and the Post Office Cafe and the Grille on Main Street in East Greenwich.

The Post Office Cafe has the most upscale Italian menu, while there are sandwiches at the Deli and grilled items at the Grille. Taking a bit from each, Quattro offers eight sandwiches (five of them grilled), six pizzas, and a spread of meat, seafood, and pasta dishes.

Although it seats about 170 in two L-shaped rooms (one of which contains a full bar), Quattro has the feel of a family restaurant. Staff members are helpful and friendly. On the night we were there, they managed to remain unruffled by a table of 20 (the Roy Carpenter Beach lifeguards being treated by their boss) seated near us. We also kept our cool, as the potential noise level of such a group was miraculously absorbed by the acoustical layout of the restaurant.

The soft ivory walls and natural wood accents here are restful. So are the flowered drapes swagged over wooden rods. Butcher paper is spread over linen tablecloths trattoria-style.

As we glanced at the menu's moderate prices (pasta dishes, $8.95 to $11.95; 12-ounce grilled sirloin, $14.95) and then exclaimed over the huge portions we were served ("we like to give you enough to eat for two or three days from," Marra told us), we began to understand the crowded parking lot. Word had spread among the "summer people," and Quattro was off to a flying start -- even before the autumn influx of URI students.

To begin, we chose a cup of the chef's special soup (cream of zucchini, $1.75) and the grilled pizza with grilled vegetables ($8.95). Both were soothing and delicious. The veggies were brushed with balsamic and sprinkled with Mozzarella and Romano. The leftover pizza became the first of our three take-home boxes.

"Shrimp Roma" ($13.95) came to my side of the table; grilled chicken "Quattro" ($13.95) to my dining partner's. Mine was a mound of linguine in a butter, wine, and garlic sauce, tossed with fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and close to two-dozen shrimp. It was every bit as good as its components.

Murmurs of appreciation from my carnivorous companion were not initially over the chicken, but the eloquent side vegetables (zucchini and summer squash) and garlic mashed potatoes. Then, once he reached the star attraction, he found it embellished with fresh sausage, mushrooms, scallions, and artichoke hearts, all of it finished in a buttery cream sauce.

For dessert, our waitress talked us into the "chocolate lovin' cake" ($3.95), and it was just as rich and chocolate-satisfying as she'd promised.

Marra and Pinelli seem to have struck a good bargain with the university community: attract families as well as students, and the bar scene won't become a problem; offer portions and prices suited to both. It's the only place we've seen where a shopping bag is standard for taking home leftovers.

| home page | what's new | search | about the phoenix | feedback |
Copyright © 1997 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group. All rights reserved.