On the corner of Hope and John streets beneath a striped awning is a snug eatery poised to impress and surprise. When my friend and I visited Persimmon, we were immediately enticed by the light jazzy tunes playing, the dimly lit atmosphere, and warmth of the rustic-meets-modern interior.
The cozy wood-floored dining room is filled with seating arrangements for parties big and small. We passed by intimate booths, long tables, and a private closed-off alcove as we made our way to our seats, where we had a nice view of the brightly lit open-concept kitchen serving as the centerpiece of the experience. A few guests were perched at a counter overlooking the space, immersed in watching the skilled chefs at work – we later learned this was the popular Chef’s Corner.
Once we settled in, our waiter Bob arrived. He was funny and knowledgeable, sharing historic trivia about the establishment – owned by James Beard semifinalist for six years running Champe Speidel, and wife Lisa – and offering details on every dish. I appreciated that he not only inquired about allergies but also asked if we had any foods we simply did not like before making helpful recommendations. Any given visit to Persimmon can be catered to your preferences, and most choices are also shareable. The menu changes slightly each day, so no two experiences are the same.
Though we were tempted by an extensive list of imported wines from all over the world, separated by country, region, and type (red, white, and dessert wines), I couldn’t resist ordering the Passionfruit Margarita. It was deliciously fruity and a little tart, the way I like it, mixed with Chinola, passion fruit puree, and a not-too-strong tequila. Choosing from a menu of mocktails or “Neutral Cocktails,” my friend enjoyed the
alcohol-free Nor’eastah, which was flavored with ginger beer and offered a hint of lemon and sweet notes from the ginger honey syrup.
As we sipped, a smorgasbord of starters arrived: Truffle Beignets, Braised Green Croquettes, and the House Falafel. Each exquisite hors d’oeuvre delighted our taste buds. The dainty crispy-coated beignets offered a savory twist on the traditionally sweet snack, with a soft and creamy center filled with taleggio cheese, and served with rich truffle aioli. The Mediterranean breaded falafel was perfectly complemented by a cool cucumber raita dip, while the croquettes arrived with dijonnaise sauce. Though similar in construction, each starter shined with their distinct flavor profiles.
An easy favorite for both of us was the Culurgiones, a type of Sardinian stuffed pasta. Filled with sweet potatoes and served in a warm soup with scallops, Persimmon’s unexpected take on the dish was like a warm embrace on a chilly day.
Equally comforting was dessert: a heavenly slice of Date Cake, plated prettily atop apple butter, served with vegan vanilla ice cream, and garnished beautifully with tiny round apples and small edible purple flowers. We rounded off the meal with a cool creamy yogurt topped with passion fruit gelatin, a delightful final note to the evening.
Elevated yet unpretentious, Persimmon is a place perfect for a quick bite before a show or an elegant date, a celebration with friends or a solo outing at the Chef’s Corner while watching the magic happen.
Persimmon • 99 Hope Street • 401-432-7422
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