Restaurant Review: Red Fin Crudo

After discovering that our first-choice restaurant was unsurprisingly full, my dad and I opted to grab dinner just down the street at Red Fin Crudo. Located in the heart of downtown Providence, this eatery serves Latin-inspired tapas and mains.

Given the owners’ professional backgrounds, one would expect phenomenal food. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that the meal I ate lived up to any hype. It was tasty, but certainly not memorable.

Tapas

Given the word “crudo” in the restaurant’s name, I was curious to try something from the raw bar. A huge tuna tartare fan, the choice was no-brainer. When it arrived, I was a little confused and disappointed.

There was an interesting combination of flavors happening on the plate – Asian-style ginger and sesame were used to flavor the tuna, which itself was paired with central-American plantains and guac. I thought each item tasted good when eaten individually, but I struggled to find any cohesiveness in the dish. I would’ve preferred a naked tartare with some equally flavorful accompaniments of the chef’s choice. Not to mention, the presentation was incredibly sloppy.

While the flavors in the appetizer are more a matter of personal preference, the quality of the ingredients is not. The tuna literally had chunks of ice on it. While edible, this was unpleasant and completely distracting from the beauty of the raw fish. This aspect of the preparation is simply unjustifiable.

The second tapas far surpassed the first and ended up being the best thing we ate all night. It was a pan-fried white cheese with pickled red onion, arugula, chayote, and a guava glaze.

The flavor combinations in this dish were explosive. The cool, creamy cheese paired fantastically with the brine-y onions and peppery arugula. The cheese itself was lightly seared to perfection; the glaze was the perfect sweet bite to round out the dish. This is something I’d happily order again.

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Main Course

A big paella fan, I was interested to see this restaurant’s interpretation. Upon first bite, it was certainly flavorful but a little on the salty side. While loaded with shellfish, I felt that the meat flavors far overpowered those of the fish. I would’ve preferred more balance as a opposed to a heavy meat focus. I think the rice could’ve benefitted from more saffron as well. While not necessarily bad, something about the seasonings was off.

 Dessert

With a limited dessert menu, I decided to try the house-made flan as a way to round out our Spanish-inspired meal. I appreciate how the pastry was perfectly gelled, but it was far too sweet. The cream-to-flan ratio was unbalanced and the sauce carelessly splattered on the plate. Every bite was pure sugar and did no justice to what flan should taste like.

Overall Impressions:

  • Flavor is definitely there but not always in a way that is cohesive or refined
  • Fair prices for portion size and relative quality
  • Varied menu options with something for every taste

The Verdict:

3-out-of-5-stars

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