Amici’s Bar & Grille is a newcomer to Federal Hill but with the pedigree of a Providence mainstay. In just one short year, this buzzworthy restaurant has already gained enough recognition to be named “King of the Hill”, a highly sought-after title. But Amici’s is not your typical Italian eatery. This trendsetting restaurant offers a diverse menu that pushes the envelope in International fare, including everything from classic Italian dishes to authentic Japanese sushi.
I have to admit…when I first heard there was a restaurant in town offering both Italian and Japanese cuisine on the same menu, I thought it sounded gimmicky. I thought it was just another restaurant forcing sushi onto their menu, capitalizing on its popularity. I thought the Italian food would be sub-par since it was not their entire focus. Well, now it’s also time to admit that Amici’s proved me wrong again, again, and again!
This Sicilian specialty consists of Saffron infused Arborio Rice Balls stuffed with fresh mozzarella, peas, and a Bolognese sauce, then deep-fried to create a crunchy, golden exterior. Cutting through the crispy shell, you can literally hear it crackle as you make your way into the warm, gooey center. The rice inside was perfectly cooked and it soaked up all of the creamy Bolognese sauce which was ladled over the plate.
As you can see, these oversized orbs were big enough to share…although they were so damn delicious I was tempted to eat them both myself! This tasty appetizer is a must-try if you visit Amici’s!
In my experience, you usually can’t go wrong with a dish named after the restaurant itself. As I always say, they wouldn’t name a bad dish after their restaurant, right?
Amici’s signature roll was packed with tempura shrimp, crabstick, avocado, cucumber & spicy aioli, then finished with red & black tobiko, sesame seeds & eel sauce. Each bite led to a symphony of flavors. All the ingredients tasted very clean and fresh. I especially enjoyed the spicy aioli which provided some heat that was tolerable, not overpowering at all.
My only complaint was the execution and presentation of the roll itself. It was not packed tightly and it fell apart each time I tried to pick it up with my chopsticks. Nonetheless, I would definitely be interested in trying more of their sushi in the future.
“Arugula with Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops”
This is my kind of salad! These Diver Sea Scallops were wrapped in Prosciutto and served with wild baby arugula. I especially liked the dressing which was a Port Wine-Black Pepper reduction. The only thing missing was the Figs…which happen to be one of my favorite ingredients. I couldn’t seem to taste them in the dish. Perhaps they were overpowered by the Port Wine-Black Pepper reduction. Either way, I still enjoyed this salad!
“Gnocchi Ripieni Alla Sorrentina”
These Ricotta filled potato dumplings were prepared in a plum tomato sauce with fresh Mozzarella & Pecorino-Romano cheese, then baked in a wood-burning oven. Unlike some gnocchi which can be heavy and dense, these were soft and pillowy. I found each and every dumpling to be more and more addicting. Plus, I’m never opposed to having a trio of cheeses in any dish. More cheese please!
“Filet of Atlantic Salmon”
Our next dish absolutely blew us away! The Salmon was Cajun spiced and pan-seared, served over a saffron-Lobster Rissoto cake. It was then doused in a roasted pepper coulis. All I can say is…WOW! This is hands-down the best Salmon dish I have ever tried – and that is saying a lot coming from me!
The salmon was cooked to perfection and had a nice char on the top. The Cajun seasoning provided some subtle spice without overpowering the fish. The roasted pepper coulis was so simple, yet so delicious, and complemented all of the other elements in the dish.
Last but not least, the saffron-Lobster Risotto cake…What?! You know that has to be good. Saffron, Lobster, Risotto, C’mon!!!
In the end, Amici’s exceeded my expectations and put my presumptions to rest. Not only do they serve both Italian and Japanese cuisine on the same menu, they prepare each extremely well. During my dinner, I looked around and noticed many couples ordered opposite kinds of cuisine. For example, a husband ordered Sashimi while his wife ordered Chicken Parmigiana. I think Amici’s International concept is meant to be a crowd-pleaser where you can order just about anything you are in the mood for. If you dine in a large group, their extensive menu is guaranteed to have something for everyone.
I was extremely impressed by the dishes I tasted, so find out for yourself why Amici’s is considered to be “King of the Hill”!!!