Pictures by: Angela
In Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, there are still lots of potential restaurants that you can enjoy for all kinds of cuisines. From American, Italian to all Asian cuisines, each has its own specialty and unique flavor profiles. In this review, take Italian for example, if you want to experience one of the best unique Italian restaurants, that would be Siena for sure.
What is special about Siena Restaurant?
Siena Restaurant was voted “Best Restaurant in Rhode Island” for several years. Because of this, as a foodie, my friend and I were so attracted and looking forward to trying out the food at Siena. Siena has three locations across the Rhode Island area, they are in Providence, East Greenwich, and Smithfield. This review focuses on my experience at the Siena Restaurant in Southern Rhode Island town, East Greenwich. One thing to remember, this restaurant just like the movie “Big Night” has no meatballs, thus it is classic Italian not American Italian.
Siena restaurant in East Greenwich is known as Siena Cucina, Enoteca. This restaurant focuses on Tuscan cuisine, which is the cuisine of a region in central Italy, Tuscany. The layout of this restaurant is aesthetically pleasing and full of Italian-style decorations. There are paintings hanging all around the walls depicting Italian culture and landscapes, along with plates with an artistic representation of Tuscany or Italian crests.
The Dining Experience in the restaurant
The atmosphere of this restaurant is very welcoming and makes you feel like home right from your first step. The staff members are super friendly and they are willing to answer any questions that you may have. The dress code of this restaurant is smart casual. Most people in this restaurant dress casually but there are some who dress formally. For wine lovers, there is a wine bar that can satisfy your favorite wine order and alcoholic beverages. Below is my visit with a friend to Siena Restaurant recently.
The estimated wait time of this restaurant is around 5-10 minutes, which is reasonable in their busy hours. You can tell the servers are at full capacity and the stress can be felt throughout the dining room. They were busy walking around serving drinks, dishes, and clearing plates. It was like watching a real-life of Hell’s Kitchen in front of me and reminds me of the dining labs I had taken in school. Right from being seated, the host handed out the menu and there are lots of options to choose from. The downside would be the menu is too big as it is a big piece of paper right in front of me. It could almost be the size of the table itself, well maybe half. I feel like the menu can go across the table to my friend or can easily knock off things on a two tabletop. The table is a bit small for width but extra-long between the two. It’s as if I need to do the can phones to talk to my friend without being too loud.
Food We Ordered
As appetizers, we both ordered the special of the day. My friend had the special salad which of, Boston Lettuce garnished with green apple slices, nuts, red onion, radishes, and vinaigrette dressing. It looked fresh and tasted light, with just enough sourness and an overall great combination of flavors.
I had the scallop with a mushroom Bolognese sauce. The scallop was seared perfectly golden brown on both sides, but there was a big chunk of mushroom sauce in the center. Presentation-wise, it was not what I imagined. The mushroom sauce was made with a fine puree of mushroom, onion, carrot, and a hint of alcoholic taste. We both were pleased with the appetizers and were looking forward to the entrees.
For entrees, I ordered the special fillet of the day and my friend ordered the Maiale con Pere, which from the menu it was “Center cut pork chop marinated in garlic and amaretto, grilled and topped with a pear, almond, brown sugar and amaretto glaze.” Both entrees aesthetically looked very pleasing and the plating ratio made it look like a strong dish. The food taste had a good quality but the flavor of the dishes was a bit off than we expected.
The fillet special has an 8oz cut steak, served with seasonal vegetables (baby carrot, cipollini onions, and spinach) with a dark brown sauce. The steak was cooked perfectly medium with light pink in the middle of the steak. It was grilled at the right temperature that the outer layer of the steak did not taste burnt. However, the seasonal vegetables were way too salty because of the sauce, which was disappointing. It tasted like I was eating plain soy sauce, no offense. The other thing was the weird taste of cipollini onion with the sauce, as cipollini onion was a sweeter onion, the combination of so sweet and so salty was strange to me.
For my friend’s pork chop dish, the overall quality was okay but could be better according to my friend’s opinion. The pork chop had beautiful grill marks on it, the taste of the pork chop was so sweet, perhaps it was due to the brown sugar and amaretto glaze. Besides, the topped pear was sweet as well, so overall was a really sweet dish with little to none of the garlic taste of the pork chop. My friend’s perspective for the record was the dish could have been served as a dessert as it was sweeter than our combined dessert. At the same time, it was a bit tough in the center since I saw my friend trying to cut the pork chop with a knife back and forward several times that reminded me of the documentary I saw online of cutting down trees or branches. That was quite funny we laughed while having our meals.
Dessert time, while looking at the menu, I would say a strong chocolate lover would love this place. There are so many chocolate options on the menu. But for me, that was way too much chocolate to me after the meal. Since there were no great choices of gluten-free and dairy-free dessert options, my friend was left with the decision of no dessert, while I ordered Tiramisu.
The description from the menu “Amaretto-mascarpone cheese layered between espresso-soaked ladyfingers and cocoa,”. The first glaze of the Tiramisu would be for anyone that loves giant portions as they should come to Siena for dessert. I enjoy a nice small desert, but the portion size of the Tiramisu was huge, no joke about a mason jar, definitely oversized for me.
I looked at the tables around me, all the other desserts were huge too. In my mind was like Siena was such a generous restaurant for dessert lovers. My friend had a few bites, while I enjoyed the Tiramisu. The top layer and around was full of cocoa powder, which to me was surprising as I only knew Tiramisu as like the dessert that has a lasagna aesthetic. By this, I mean that most Tiramisus I’ve seen accentuate the layers, but this had cocoa and creamy siding. What was in front of me, looked like a giant cocoa ball. The first bite, it was creamy, with a hint of bitterness from the espresso soft ladyfinger. It tasted good, but I was curious why the ladyfinger was in the middle and soaked to the point it tasted like eating a coffee sponge in the middle. Overall, I enjoyed it and I took some leftovers for home.
Thoughts of this dining experience
From my dining experience in the Siena restaurant East Greenwich location, I would say Siena is still an option for good Italian food, but perhaps not the traditional typical Italian restaurant that I knew. For me and my friend who has visited Italy, it sadly did not meet our expectations of what reviews it had received. We both rate the food 6 out of 10, based on what we ordered and tasted. We are not sure whether we would visit Siena Restaurant again, but this was definitely an eye-opening experience for both of us. Although the dishes were not to our standard, the service we received from Siena was outstanding. The server that served our table was super friendly and considerate. She checked up with us several times during our dining, polite, funny, and respectful. We were satisfied with the service she served, if the food were improved, that would be a plus.
After reading the review, what do you think? Would you give Siena Restaurant a try? Do you like special Italian food? If you do and want a completely new level of experiencing Italian food, Siena Restaurant would definitely be a great fit for you.
Final Verdict – Rating:
5600 Post Road, East Greenwich, RI 02818
Reservation can be booked by phone or on OpenTable