Last weekend, I, the Veggie Vigilante, was on a quest to satisfy my grilled pizza and fruity, nutty salad cravings. I settled on a restaurant that had pizza, salad, and of course, a reservation. But what started out as a fairly routine trip to the Hill ended up being a very strange dining experience at Two Forty Two, on Atwells Ave., Providence, where menu items seemed to appear, disappear, and re-appear at a moment’s notice.
I was on a mission last night: one that required grilled margarita pizza to start and a hearty salad with cheese, nuts, and fruit. Two Forty Two, which touts itself as a New York/California-style restaurant, had an extensive online menu boasting at least three vegetarian salads that sounded hearty and delicious. The one I had my heart set on included baby spinach, dried cranberries, toasted pignoli nuts, and a cranberry cheese, all doused with a blood orange vinaigrette. It sounded perfect, plus they had a margarita pizza.
However, when we sat down, our incredibly nice waitress presented us with a single-paged menu containing just four appetizers (only one vegetarian), five non-vegetarian entrees, and two desserts.
What happened to all of the food?!?
Apparently, the restaurant is launching a new menu and was offering severely curtailed options. I was very disappointed. We considered leaving, but optimism reigned supreme, and I decided to inquire about my options. They didn’t have the fruity nutty salad I so craved, and the only replacement was a small tomato mozzarella caprese salad. But they did have the margarita pizza, so hope was not yet lost.
As we settled in, things turned to the bizarre. After I ordered the margarita pizza (the only veggie appetizer option), our waitress returned with the news from the chef that they had run out of dough. Mind you, three of the four appetizer options were pizza! With that news, we decided to leave after finishing our drinks (after all, vegetarians have to eat too). Two minutes later, after hearing that we were about to leave, our waitress came back to tell us that, miraculously, there was now dough. So, we stayed. Then she arrived telling us they were going to box up an extra complimentary pizza for us to take home. Wow, even more dough! From having no dough to plenty if it, I was very confused (though I certainly appreciated the free extra pizza).
After all of that, the margarita pizza was fresh and well-presented but a bit too charred. The small caprese salad was tasty and light but not hearty enough for my tastes.
Ultimately the experience was a bit of a bust—it’s a shame there was only one vegetarian item on the menu. Would I consider giving it another try? Yes, but I would definitely call ahead to make sure the menu hadn’t made like Harry Houdini.