by Mary Ann Davis @toastofthetownsne
THE ROYAL BOBCAT – Welcome to the first TOAST OF THE TOWN, submitting for your approval, great places for you to toast one another with creative concoctions in Rhode Island and Southern New England.
First, a little history…my husband and I moved to Rhode Island right before the pandemic lockdown so going out to toast was not really an option for a long time. Thank heavens for takeout and empty roads that allowed us to really explore our new home. Fast forward to 2022 and we are all cautiously optimistic and getting back out there to some form of normal, to have an adult beverage and to celebrate for coming out on the other side after two long years!
THE ROYAL BOBCAT sits on Atwells Avenue, but when you walk in the door you know that you are someplace else. Look down and see ROYAL spelled out in tiles on the floor, tiles that epitomize the Big Easy. The décor invokes a muted and moody speakeasy, a mix of rich fabrics, inventive seating areas and collections of glass and pictures that could be in any grand home in the South in the jazzy 1920s. The menu gives you the insight that the Bobcat was a revered statesman-like position in the French Monarchy, with the last known Bobcat departing for New Orleans in 1905 (where he frequented apothecaries, bars and houses of ill repute).
The menu also offers a diverse list of cocktails, and at once you feel the laissez-faire attitude setting in. It’s evident that they draw from the New Orleans drink well and drink often vibe. Their inspiration also stems from a sister bar down on the Bayou, unfortunately long closed. The bartenders are not only amazing mixologists but they’re happy to tell you the tale!
I ordered a classic Vieux Carre and my husband ordered a Sazerac, the drink invented in NOLA. Named after the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, the French Quarter, to me the Vieux Carre drinks like a Manhattan but with the French Benedictine liqueur it injects a forward sweetness. Beautifully presented in a vintage glass, this version is a vision of pale lilac but don’t let the lighness convince you that this is not a serious cocktail. Smooth and strong, it fits the moodiness of the room.
A true Sazerac has the glass misted with Absinthe, and whether it is rye or brandy, it is a whiskey forward drink that holds a special sweetness from a sugar cube and the little kick of a Peychaud’s bitters. The Royal Bobcat does not back down from this classic challenge and their Sazerac is bold and suave.
The other offerings from the House Sours to a house infused jalapeno margarita to believe it or not, traditional Absinthe Service accompany a tight list of wines and, of course, Abita Beer.
While Toast of the Town arrives for the drinks, we must talk about the food. You would expect Po Boys and Gumbo but what will delight you is the distinctive mix of Korean into these historic Cajun recipes. Chef Jenny Han presents her love of New Orleans and the food of her South Korean heritage with Kocajun dishes of delight. Start with a dark, deep gumbo that tastes of a miso edge and a zingy southern heat. The Po Boys are a work of art stuffed with Shrimp, Tofu or Beef but the Surf & Turf is the synthesis masterpiece here, filled with Bulgogi Beef, vegetables and topped with Fried Shrimp! There are rice bowls, a unique mac n cheese and creative eggrolls combination plus Ramen Monday and Tropical Tuesdays.
They offer treats for the ear with Jazz every Wednesday and Sundays at 7:30pm. We went back for their Mardi Gras party which featured a great jazz trio and free King Cake. King Cake in Lil Rhody! Bravo to The Royal Bobcat.
Located at: 422 Atwells Avenue, Providence (401) 537-7777 @theroyalbobcat