A friend recently asked me on Facebook for a recommendation on where to eat in South County – but somewhere different. I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant, and I didn’t really feel my suggestions were different enough. So, when the magazine asked me to go review the new Mediterranean restaurant in North Kingstown, I wondered how distinct it would be from the usual North Kingstown fare. The only way to find out was to grab my parents and head there for lunch.
Plenty is located on Post Road in North Kingstown, former home of the defunct Bess Eaton/Tim Horton’s and, more recently, Bravo Wood-Fired Pizza. The drive-through window still hangs off one side of the building, and the kitchen is dominated by the large brick oven, which had been specially constructed for Bravo. The decor inside isn’t fancy, but it is clean and modern, and televisions on the wall display pictures of menu items (a big help for people unfamiliar with this kind of food). The service was friendly and helpful. We felt like welcome guests; a feeling a lot of restaurants forget to impart.
The restaurant does not have a liquor license, but I had a fun time sampling the Turkish iced tea ($2) and the Turkish orange soda ($2). We spent a good fifteen minutes reading over the menu, because there were so many interesting dishes. Just in the appetizer section, there were more items I wanted to try than I could possibly eat. To make it easy, we started with the Mediterranean Meze Plate ($12.95) and Homemade Pita Bread ($1.95). On the meze plate there were small portions of eggplant, hummus, ezme, lebni, stuffed grape leaves, and kalamata olives. We loved everything on the plate, but the clear favorite was the eggplant. It had been fire-roasted, giving it a nice charred taste, and was blended with tahini, garlic, and olive oil. Ezme is a sauce of chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, parsley, pomegranate, walnuts, and olive oil; it’s kind of a Mediterranean salsa. We wished we had a spoon to get every last bit out of the ramekin.
Lebni is Lebanese strained yogurt (which makes it extra creamy) with finely chopped mint, garlic, and olive oil – and it was ridiculously good. All of these sauces were tasty, but when put them on the freshly baked pita, they became divine. We watched the staff make pita by baking it in the wood-fired oven. If you’ve only ever had grocery store pita before, try this; you will be in for a real treat. It’s so good, you might want to order two servings.
For our main dishes, I went with the House Specialty Kibbe ($9.95). Kibbe, at least the Turkish version of it, is a fried ball of bulgur wheat stuffed with ground beef, lamb, onions, and parsley. This version was a bit on the spicy side, but that just added to the depth of flavor. My mother decided on the Stuffed Zucchini ($11.95), which is filled with rice, ground beef, and ground lamb and then is topped with a fresh garlic-tomato sauce. My father opted for the Shish Chicken Dinner ($13.95) which came with grilled chicken kabob, chickpea rice, parsley red onion relish, a small salad, pita, and yogurt sauce for dipping. He liked the chicken because he could make a sandwich out of everything, and making a sandwich out of something is his main goal in life.
In the interest of good journalism, we also ordered a Steak Cappadocia Pizza ($13.45). It was prepared in the wood-burning oven and was covered in thin slices of steak, fresh diced tomatoes, hot pepper rings, mozzarella, parmesan, and a pepper sauce. There was also a fine sprinkling of rosemary on the pizza, which gave it a fresh, unexpected taste.
North Kingstown has some fine eateries, but Plenty is one that stands alone. If you’ve had your fill of stuffed haddock and chicken parmesan, check out Plenty. You may never take a trip to Turkey, but your taste buds can sample the flavors of cuisine right on Post Road.
Plenty Mediterranean Grill & Kebab
6689 Post Road, North Kingstown • 398-1110