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“Has the Potential to be Great, But . . .”
Review of Aspire at The Hotel Providence - CLOSED

Aspire at The Hotel Providence
Price range: $8 - $50
Cuisines: American, Seafood, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Mathewson Street
Transit: Taxis, Bus, and Train close by.
Reviewed January 6, 2013

I dined at Aspire this past week with my parents. We were had high expectations - we knew how beautiful the restaurant is and had heard that the food is exceptional. I think the best way to summarize our experience is inconsistent, which is what I noticed in reading the other reviews. The night started badly when we were seated and then completely ignored for more than 15 minutes. In the interim, another party was seated adjacent to us and had their appetizers before we even ordered a drink. After flagging down the hostess and asking her to get our waitress, we saw her running back and forth in what looked like a state of confusion until a waitress finally did approach our table. After ordering drinks, we waited another 15 minutes, only to receive a drink that looked and tasted nothing like the one my father ordered. The manager was very courteous about the whole thing, taking the drink back and making sure that the correct one was returned to us (however, no mention of maybe giving us the drink for free in light of the error). Luckily, things improved once the food was eventually served. Although the prices might seem high, the portions are very large and the quality was very good (not great, but very good). The scallops and gnocchi in particular were delicious, as was the pork tenderloin (a deceiving title - it was a pork roast, not a tenderloin, but still delicious). I really want to be able to give this restaurant a high recommendation but when I look at the overall experience I find that I can't The service in particular needs a major overhaul. If they can maintain the quality of the food at the current level and really step-up the service, Aspire could become a "go-to" restaurant. For now, it will be just a good, convenient place to have a pre-theater dinner.

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Thank JennysMom08003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (195)
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110 - 114 of 195 reviews

Reviewed October 30, 2012

I recently had the wonderful experience of attending a special event at the Hotel Providence, catered by Aspire. The menu was imaginative and presentation was superb. The food was delicious - most of the other guests were amazed how tender and juicy the pork was. Every single detail was attended to with white glove service.

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    • Food
Thank Susan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2012

The burger was good, though the bun was really burnt. They only had a few beers on tap, which was disappointing in comparison to Tazza and another bar just up the street that have several.

Thank Brian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2012

I walked into this restaurant on a Wednesday night, looking for a place to eat. It looked nice from the outside, with a nice patio that would have been a great place to sit if it had been a little warmer. The decor inside was very classy/modern, and pretty relaxing. The lounge music certainly helped create a sense of easy-going understated luxury. Since I wasn't really dressed for a nice dinner, I sat in the bar, hoping for a good meal and a glass of wine to enjoy over a book I was in the middle of.
Sadly, my first impression was the best that this restaurant had to offer; it went downhill from there. Despite being one of only two tables in the bar area that night, I was treated more like an afterthought than a guest by the server. She was polite, but really not that friendly.
I started with an apple salad that was good, mostly because it was identical to a salad that I make at home on a regular basis. Nothing really that special. The cocktail (the "Westminster Manhattan") was unimpressive despite my asking for it to be made with better bourbon; I've had good Manhattans before, and they're not supposed to remind you of cherry-flavored cough syrup.
When I asked about the appetizers, the server suggested the seared pork-belly. That sounded good, so I tried it. It probably would have been good if it had actually been seared; searing caramelizes the fat, giving it a rich crispiness that you only get with good pork. Unfortunately, this was only sauteed, giving it a fatty blandness that coated my mouth with oil, leaving very little actual taste.
I asked about the wild boar sliders, to which the server replied, "They're good". After I gave her a look that said "That wasn't very enthusiastic", she gave me a more honest "They're okay".
I would rather a server be honest with me about the strong and weak points of a menu; I'll trust that in a restaurant that charges Aspire prices, they have at least tasted the food at one point or another. But when the server tells me "They're kinda bland", I know that either this is the worst preparation of wild boar ever, or she doesn't know what wild boar is supposed to taste like. It's actually one of the richest flavors you can get with pork. Well, she wasn't wrong; they really were boring. However, the spicy mustard kicked it up a notch. Maybe too much, since I really couldn't taste much else.
This was all fine with me; I was content to sit back and read with the glass of wine I ordered in lieu of finishing my cocktail, but before I had even had a chance to sit back and relax, my server informed me that she had been cut for the night, and asked if I would close out with her.
I would expect this sort of service from a diner, but not from a place that charges upwards of $25 for an entree. But then again, most places that charge upwards of $25 for an entree would think about setting a table with a bread plate and knife, or at least bring them out with the bread basket.
Long story short, this restaurant, like it's name, aspires to be a true fine-dining destination rather than just another hotel restaurant. But until the food matches the prices, and the service matches the decor, it will continue to fall short of its aspirations.

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3  Thank SurfVacationer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2012

Firstly, Valet Parking is not at their listed address of 311 Westminster, but around the corner on Mathewson St. Had to swing the block searching and then there was a traffic jam caused by the valets due to no curbside parking to deliver/pickup the car.

Entering the restaurant from Mathewson where we dropped the car, a sign said see host to be seated, with no indication of where the host station was located. After searching a minute or two located the station on the other side of the bar at the entrance to the restaurant.

We arrived precisely at our reservation time of 6:45 PM and apparently our table for 2 had been given away and the maitre d' rushed away into the lounge area of the bar to clear a 6 person booth for us. I could not believe they were attempting to seat us in the bar's lounge and not the restaurant. I was really fed up at this point, when I had spied open 4 person tables in the restaurant and was not offered one.

The young restaurant manager told me she would have a table for me in a few minutes. At that point I was not prepared to give them the estimated $120 I had planned to spend.

Keep aspiring Aspire, you have a long way to go. Any 1st class restaurant would have 1) Never offered to shove us into the bar's lounge and a 6 person booth,
2) Immediately seated us in the restaurant or comped us to cocktails in the bar and invited us back after the show (we were there on a PPAC show package @ $39/person) 3) Treated us as valued guests.

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1  Thank EJRIII
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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