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Mike's Kitchen

170 Randall St., Cranston, RI - (401) 946-5320
Posted By Michael Stern on 2/3/2012 6:11:00 AM
If you happen to drive past Mike’s Kitchen, you probably won’t notice it’s a restaurant. Located in a VFW hall with only one little sign outside other than the Post Number, Mike’s doesn’t need to advertise. To those who seek out great Italian food at low prices, it is a appetite-stirring magnet. At mealtimes, its tables are always crowded. (Be sure to call ahead; when the Vets meet or when private functions are held, it is closed to the public.)

The menu, posted on the wall, is extremely appetizing: a catalog of dishes that are mostly Italian, a little Portuguese, and very Rhode Island. You can begin a meal with a stuffie (a stuffed quohog clam) or the unique Ocean State appetizer known as snail salad, then move on to perfectly broiled swordfish or scallops; or it is possible to indulge in such delectable old-world favorites as sautéed broccoli rabe (or a rabe and provolone sandwich), gnocchi Sorrentino, sole Florentine, and chicken with cannellini beans. On the side of anything, you want polenta – a cream-soft block of steamy cooked cornmeal available with fennel-spiked sausage, meatballs, or a blanket of thick marinara sauce.

Many of the Italian dishes are familiar: veal cutlets in a variety of sauces, Parmesans galore, scampis, and even spaghetti and meatballs and linguine with nothing but oil and garlic. Seafood pastas are especially wonderful, offered with a choice of red or white sauce; at $16.95, the top of the line is seafood Diablo – lobster, scallops, and shrimp spread out across a bed of noodles.

To drink with your meal, wine and cocktails are available from a bar at one side of the dining room. You will pay for these separately, as the bar is run by the veterans who own the building.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
polenta
Stuffie
stuffed artichoke
Pork Loin over Rice
chicken a la Mike
Chicken Parmesan
snail salad
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Mike's chicken parmesan is really big. It is fried to luscious crustiness and blanketed with cheese and sauce. Barely visible below it is a meal's worth of pasta.
"Mike's chicken parmesan is really big. It is fried to luscious crustiness and blanketed with cheese and sauce. Barely visible below it is a meal's worth of pasta."
Michael Stern





Tender, moist, and sweet, set upon a bed of spicy rice, Mike's pork loin is a frequent special. At $7.95, it is a super bargain.
"Tender, moist, and sweet, set upon a bed of spicy rice, Mike's pork loin is a frequent special. At $7.95, it is a super bargain."
Michael Stern


A fine example of Rhode Island's beloved stuffed quohog claim, aka stuffie. This one is very spicy and dotted with large bits of briny clam.
"A fine example of Rhode Island's beloved stuffed quohog claim, aka stuffie. This one is very spicy and dotted with large bits of briny clam."
Michael Stern


A basket of good bread starts the meal.
"A basket of good bread starts the meal."
Michael Stern


Chicken a la Mike is chef Mike's version of chicken cordon bleu. It is stuffed with Italian ham, cheese, and a moist vein of herbs.
"Chicken a la Mike is chef Mike's version of chicken cordon bleu. It is stuffed with Italian ham, cheese, and a moist vein of herbs."
Michael Stern


Listed only as an appetizer, Mike's whole stuffed artichoke is a mighty dish, and a lip-smacking joy to eat.
"Listed only as an appetizer, Mike's whole stuffed artichoke is a mighty dish, and a lip-smacking joy to eat."
Michael Stern


An hors d'oeuvre found almost nowhere else, but so loved by the Ocean State that it appears on menus from Watch Hill to Little Compton: snail salad.
"An hors d'oeuvre found almost nowhere else, but so loved by the Ocean State that it appears on menus from Watch Hill to Little Compton: snail salad."
Michael Stern


At the beginning of lunch hour, just after 11am, all the tables were clean. Several were reserved for regulars.
"At the beginning of lunch hour, just after 11am, all the tables were clean. Several were reserved for regulars."
Michael Stern


One of the fundamental rules of finding good roadfood is to look for the restaurant that has no sign outside to indicate it is a restaurant. (Of course, unless you know what you're looking for, it's a tough search!) Mike's Kitchen, in a VFW hall, is famous among those who know about it, but gives no clue to strangers that it's a great place to eat.
"One of the fundamental rules of finding good roadfood is to look for the restaurant that has no sign outside to indicate it is a restaurant. (Of course, unless you know what you're looking for, it's a tough search!) Mike's Kitchen, in a VFW hall, is famous among those who know about it, but gives no clue to strangers that it's a great place to eat."
Michael Stern



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