It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon and we were about to embark on our long awaited journey to the infamous Parente’s Restaurant. We both knew that Parente’s is frequented by Bryant students, probably far more often than we actually tell our parents, but rarely does anyone dine at the rustic establishment that sits right off of Bryant’scampus.
Parente’s, or just Rente’s as we Bryant scholars call it, hasn’t changed a bit in some 30 years, but that’s the beauty of the venue. It has an authentic feel with its wooden paneling and old wooden chairs, but an atmosphere that is addictive in every way. The only thing more addictive than the atmosphere is Parente’s free popcorn, which is movie theatre style and anyone can go through a bowl or two in one sitting.
As we sat at a booth and began to look over the menu, we decided that we should dabble in a little bit of the unknown and some of the familiar food the establishment has to offer. The one item we choose that we both are very confident that few have tried was the Calamari Giovanni. A delectable combination of your traditional fried calamari with the spice of herbs and banana peppers cooked to perfection. They were crispy without a crunch, spicy without the heat and left a delicious taste in your mouth. We both thought one of the best parts of the dish was the homemade Tatar sauce that accompanied the Calamari, which was one of the best we have ever had.
After we started with the more upscale Calamari, we moved onto the All-American favorite of Potato Skins. Now, it’s very difficult to blow someone out of the water with such a simple dish, and by no means did Parent’s Potato Skins make our jaws drop. Even though they were clearly freshly made, they could have used a little more crunch and some additional toppings other than the bacon and chives that accompanied them. However, we will admit, this dish is perfect for the college student looking to get a quick bite late night.
We also wanted to take a bit of a risk by ordering the Parente’s Stuffies. Neither of us really knew what they were, nor did the waitress, but they were only two bucks each, so we went for it. For you the reader, and to know what we actually ate, we looked up what a “Stuffie” is. Basically, they are just stuffed clams, mixed with bread crumbs, clam meat, some other meats, and different spices, which is then baked and place in a large quahog shell.
They are somewhat comparable to a crab cake, only not fried. The coolest part of this dish may have been the extra small fork, which is commonly used when eating food from the sea. The stuffies had a unique taste and were not very enjoyable. They tasted like Thanksgiving stuffing gone wrong. Our suggestion: stay away from the stuffies.
Our favorite dish of the night was by far the nachos. We thought they would add a lot to the meal, and were we right. Most of us have probably enjoyed these nachos on a Tuesday or Thursday, or maybe even Sunday, Monday, or Wednesday night, but we both agree these nachos are highly underrated. We both consider ourselves nacho connoisseurs and agree that these are some of our favorite nachos around.
The fact that they never get soggy is not something to overlook, and the assortment of veggies, especially the tomatoes and chives really bring the entire dish together. There is just enough sour cream on the top and the dish also comes with a side of salsa. Overall, if you are to order one thing off this menu, we both agree the nachos would be the way to go. They are truly delicious.
Now would be a good time to mention the Shirley Temple that Eric ordered. For those of you who do not know, I am quite the fan of the Shirley Temple beverage. I am known mostly for ordering a few at each BSAC meeting, which leads to other members ordering the same. This was not the best Shirley I have ever had, not quite enough grenadine, but the effort was definitely there. I was greeted with 6, yes 6 cherries in my drink, and sometimes, when it comes to Shirley Temples, that’s really what it’s all about.
Of course the meal would not be complete without a little dessert. The two of us shared, with two spoons, a homemade snickers pie at the end of the meal, and must we say it was superb. The bottom of the pie was a thick block of hardened chocolate, and it was topped with ice cream with nuts and caramel, and then topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. If you are to get dessert at this establishment, we strongly suggest ordering the snickers pie.