Not feeling particularly social, we tried to sneak into Troop, Providence’s new hip-hop and street-style eatery, at 5pm for a quiet dinner. Instead, we found a large, lively crowd and classic hip-hop blasting from the speakers. If reading this gives you angst about being too uncool for Troop, don’t worry. The atmosphere is inclusive: diners ranged from newborns to seniors, and there was a strong after-work contingent. We felt especially welcomed by our waitress, who was genuinely warm.
Troop is the brainchild of Laughing Gorilla Catering. Nestled in Olneyville’s historic mill complex The Plant, the restaurant incorporates dynamic and colorful styling, with street art cohesively curated by local designer Kyla Coburn. Look around for a few minutes and you’ll notice cheeky touches, like the stenciled skateboard on the back of each barstool.
My husband was impressed with his Pineapple Upside Down Old Fashioned, a strong cocktail with roasted pineapple, coriander-infused spiced rum, and a boozy dried cherry garnish. The rest of us ordered new-to-us beers off the nicely sized list, such as Elysian’s Hawaiian Sunburn, a pineapple habanero sour. The Foggy Geezer and Lazurite are both IPAs by Danish brewery WarPigs. It’s no surprise that Revival beers are well represented on the menu, as brewer Sean Larkin is a co-owner.
Troop’s menu is inspired by global street food. Funnily enough, most items on the dinner menu are not very portable, and they’re a bit messy to eat, even with utensils. But that’s okay – many good things in life are messy. Occasionally, handheld items like tacos or banh mi make an appearance, especially on the lunch and late-night menus.
A surprise standout was The Roots, a high pile of vegetables full of contrasts: raw and roasted, shaved and chunky, soft and crunchy. The Squid was similarly playful, the tentacles breaded and the tender rings left naked. We liked the accompanying sweet miso sauce and snow pea greens. The Street Noodles, medium-thick rice noodles with a sweet sauce, disappeared quickly at our table.
The larger dishes on the menu could work as individual entrees, though we preferred to share. Accompanied by chimichurri and yucca fries, the Steak Frites was more South American than French. We fought over the four perfectly cooked pieces of Hangar Steak and wished there had been more. The Korean Short Ribs, served with spicy red sauce and crispy fried noodles, were also exceptionally tender.
We appreciated that each of the dishes we ordered had a distinct flavor profile, a characteristic sometimes missing from less deliberate fusion restaurants. The menu has several vegetarian options and the kitchen seems willing to accommodate other dietary needs.
Troop usually has a couple of dessert specials. Our Cognac Bread Pudding was moist and boozy, punctuated by tiny slivers of bright strawberries. A cute jar of Orange Crème Brûlée was sensibly sized and just big enough to share.
When we finished, the crowd was even more animated, the bass thumped loudly, and a disco ball filled the space with playful sparkles. We snuck out the back door just before the dancing started.
60 Valley Street • 473-2900
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