North is a delightful neighborhood restaurant in an out-of-way corner of Providence, run by three Johnson & Wales grads with flair, imagination, and some serious cooking. It’s also a bargain. The tiny place — six tables and a bar — retains the decor it inherited from a previous incarnation of a Japanese restaurant. The tiny menu has imagination and breathes fresh life into the whole idea of Asian fusion.
And there’s a lot going on here. Especially the “nearly boneless friend chicken”, which is delicious. And it’s hiding its light under the proverbial barrel: if I’ve figured it out, this is really complex but really well done. I think they take one leg and, at the wings and thighs, bone them out, and make a forcemeat. The rest of the chicken — not counting one claw-on leg — is boned out and stuffed with the forcemeat, tightly wrapped, and lightly battered. This, I suppose, is a ballotine or maybe a galantine. Anyway, it’s then fried, sliced, and served with the leg, sauces, herb salad, and lots of warm sliced brioche to sop up the juices. There’s a lot going on, in other words, for a “big plate of nearly boneless fried chicken.”
Other interesting dishes: fried oysters wrapped in burmese pancakes, cold buckwheat noodles, spicy braised eggplant, and a revision of dan dan mien that involved spaetzle, seafood, and no peanuts.
Oh — and they have a slushy maker filled with a cocktail of the night.
No reservations, but worth a bit of a wait.These guys are going to be swamped overnight and they’ll have to open a bigger and swankier place. Go now, and it’ll be like recalling Achatz at Trio before he opened Alinea.