The phrase “Oh Boy!” is one that is spoken out of nothing but excitement. The saying may be strung along and repeated, “Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!” and always concludes with an exclamation point. I can hear it shouted by a child finding out his parents are taking him on a trip to Disneyland. Well, when you’re a foodie, a delightful dinner is just as exciting as the magical theme park itself, and also provokes the joyful saying of “Oh Boy!” Brand new to Providence’s dining scene, with a very fitting name, O’Boy is serving Asian fusion cuisine in an artistic and tasteful form, with a variety of options for vegetarians, meat loves and seafood aficionados alike.
Fitting right into it’s foodie neighborhood on Westminster, the space is comfortable yet classic. A place for a casual lunch or an intimate cocktail following a long work day. Unwind and refuel in an urban meets rustic interior.
Of course, there are a million ways to cook a piece of meat. We can grill, fry, bake, broil, saute, steam.. I could keep going. All of these approaches have their positive attributes, as well as pitfalls. A new way of cooking allows the chef preparing the food to monitor the temperature and time so precisely, they are able to control the output to be exactly their desired result. The method is called Sous Vide, (pronounce is Sue Vee) and is put to action in the kitchen at O’Boy. Food is placed in small bags and then submerged into a boiling water bath, where the temperature is closely controlled. This creates the opportunity for the perfect temperature on meat, and the ideal consistency throughout a dish. If it is something that intrigues you, O’Boy is a place to try.
Our first dishes were vegetarian delights. Starting with the carrots, beautifully slow roasted to have snap but still be smoothly soft. Drizzled with a spicy/cool wasabi crema and dotted with sweet corn, this dish makes orange look good on you. Next we moved on to roasted brussel sprouts. These little tiny heads of cabbage (or so I call them) need to be cooked just right in order for their full taste potential to show, and they did not fail here. The outer edges and leaves with a slightly blackened crispy, just enough to make them curl, while the center remaining soft enough to cut through. Tosses with an aromatic goat cheese, leafy bitter kale and a splash of a sweet soy reduction to counter.
Not so vegetarian friendly, the beef tartar was superbly done and really had me questioning when the last time I had uncooked beef that well done. A rice puff patty serves as the portal which carries the tastefully picked ingredients; finely diced mango and pear make for a summery, lush, brightness to accompany the coarse grained mustard and the sesame oil. Served with a side of soy marinated egg yolk, this beef tartare is as attractive as it is tasty. Personally, I cut into it like a slice of pizza, broke the egg yolk and drizzled it on each slice. Truly the highlight of the evening, this dish took the top of the podium as my favorite bite of the night.
Continuing with the meat trend, we next sunk our knives into the pork belly. If you have ever tried pork belly, you know that the texture is what makes this cut of meat so desirable. A succulent layer of sweet, fatty meat seared to a crisp on the outer edge. My knife sunk into this tender pork and stole my heart. Prepared with nutty black eyed peas, spicy seared brussel sprouts, and beautiful curling pea tendrils.
Where I really witnessed the beauty of Sous Vide is with the O'Steak. A beautiful cut of beef, cooked to an absolute mid rare perfection. Happily exuding its natural juices when tenderly sinking your knife in, the steak is seasoned and flavorful. The plating of this dish was impressively creative; fingerling potato in confit, grapes infused with watermelon for a sweet and tart pop, shaved carrot and pickled pearl onions. The flavors came together harmoniously in a way that anyone eating a steak would hope for. Conflicting tastes like pickled onions and sweet watermelon grapes add layers of tastes and textures.
For lovers of the sea, we have a plate special for you. The braised octopus leg was good enough to call King Triton and thank him for this tasty ocean creature. Octopus has a very specific texture; slightly chewy with a snap, but crispy and tender when prepared properly. In this case, the eight legged water dweller was cooked on point. Served with roasted baby potatoes, tart pickled vegetables, and a savory miso glaze. Good enough to lick the plate.
After seeing how impressive and extensive the dinner menu was, we were not surprised to find an exquisite cocktail list. The mix of cordials gave liquor lovers a wide selection of hand crafted cocktails hosting their favorite booze of choice, creatively shaken up. Our favorite was the lychee mimosa! So lightly sweet and fizzy to make your nose tingle and your mouth savor. Smooth enough for brunch or dinner.
Every dish coming out of the kitchen here at O’Boy impressed us even more than the last. We really appreciated the artistic thought that went into plating and presentation, as well as the purposeful pairings of flavors. We are really excited to com back and try their brunch menu, because if it is anything like dinner, we may never leave.
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