Vinya, the brand new pop-up restaurant Downtown on Westminster is kinda/sorta the vegan's, and vegetarian's, version of Enoteca Umberto. It's tiny (Seating is limited to maybe 20.) and cozy with a small plates-ish menu and really great service. Like Umberto. Unlike our friends over on Atwells (Dear everyone asking me to get them a table there, I'm frigging #lucky to have gotten one at all. Xo), this snug little spot between ENO and that teriyaki place on the corner is BYOB and strictly raw food.
Partly for kicks, and partly because they both enjoy trying new places, two of my fav carnivores, and contributors, came along last night. Also, not gonna lie, I had a heck of a time finding it and was literally running two apps (Wazes & Google Maps) for directions simultaneously. So, yeah, if you're driving, you may have a moment of confusion since the signage out front is way more visible to those on foot. Or in the know. (Shades of a guy I went to HS with who's a big deal in the bar & restaurant biz in RI and doesn't use any signage at all on many of his locales. You're either plugged in about them. Or not.)
Instead of choosing the Chef's Tasting option (so nice if you want to get an idea of what the deal is with raw food), we ordered a bunch of different stuff, from soup to nachos to curried 'chicken'. Again, service was fab and attentive and the chef even came over at the end of meal with a sample of vegan gelato for us. I loved everything. B. and T., on the other hand, thought the curry 'chicken' was the best of everything we sampled. (Make sure you title this Attn Vegans, B. kept telling me throughout and in the car on the way to our next stop. Make sure!)
Full disclosure: Not a vegan, but I am a regular at Garden Grille and WildFlour in Pawtucket. (For the record, I haven't been back to The Grange since one of the hosts gave me major 'tude about seating myself at the communal table on Saturday.) If you sing this same song (or if you're a local foodie always craving newness), you too are going to LOVE Vinya, post about it on FB, and urge all your friends to go. If, however, you're a fan of steak and chicken wings, you MIGHT insist on following up with a quick trip over to Ogie's on the West Side for chili with meat and a friend peanut butter and banana sandwich.
Ciao for Now,
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of PattyJ.com