Behind a quaint brick facade, the foyer of Twin Oaks Restaurant opens up into a spacious and welcoming interior, where, during a crisp fall visit, my friend and I were greeted by our affable navy blue suit-clad host Don Rezendes, who showed us to our seats. Light jazz filled the dining room, which showcases numerous plaques, awards, and signed photos of celebrities who have visited, but it was the wall of windows overlooking breathtaking views of the aptly named Spectacle Pond and foliage outside that set the stage for a leisurely lunch.
Tucked in a quiet, unsuspecting neighborhood, Twin Oaks is run by the DeAngelus family and has been around for almost 90 years. We were regaled with stories of staff members, who were considered family, working at the restaurant long enough to see their children go off to college and other pieces of history from the Rhode Island landmark. Susan DeAngelus Valles, one of the owners; executive chef Ryan Mancini; and server Victor Miale, who’s worked there over 25 years, all treated us like members of the family, too.
In no time, we were sipping drinks Valles brought out. My friend enjoyed the Strawberry Margarita Mocktail, with a luscious fruity puree, while I indulged in the house favorite Twin Oaks Golden Margarita, which enticed with just the right amount of sweetness.
Known for its Italian classics, we couldn’t pass up a round of what they called “the good bread.” Coated with Parmesan cheese, the slices of Italian bread are served with olive oil for dipping, with slightly crunchy edges and a delightfully soft, warm center. Next came the Fire Grilled Shrimp with Spicy Aioli, which offered a mouthwatering fiery kick from the sauce. Relishing in this addicting app, I had to restrain myself from filling up before our main courses arrived.
Twin Oaks is all about comfort foods, and the Mashed in the Middle lived up to that and then some. Made with a 50-year-old recipe, it’s stuffed with jumbo shrimp, hot mashed potatoes, and liquid butter in the center. The Gorgonzola Gnocchi, one of Mancini’s many specials, was a fabulous follow-up, with three kinds of meat and a house-made red sauce covering the soft pillows of pasta. Both of these dishes warmed from the inside out, like a loving embrace. Equally hearty was the Pork Osso Bucco, with steamy, sweet glazed meat so tender it fell off the bone, served with seasoned asparagus and crispy potatoes.
Though pleasantly full, we were intrigued by the Miso Churro Ice Cream Sandwich – each bite was a cooling cinnamon-ginger explosion, with the crunch of cookie bits. Despite being a frozen treat on a chilly day, it still managed to carry the restaurant’s feeling of warmth. We left fully satisfied and clutching our leftover boxes. For quintessential cozy dining to combat the winter ahead, Twin Oaks is an easy choice.
100 Sabra Street, Cranston
Book Twin Oaks Restaurant for banquets and functions, with a special menu of some crowd favorites. Watch for holiday takeout offerings. TwinOaksRest.com
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