Persephone’s Kitchen & Café
Reviewer’s note: Block Island, like many summer communities, is looking for ways to adapt to Covid-19 and still provide the experiences that people love when they travel here each year. While some restaurants now offer outdoor and limited indoor dining, not all are able to do so. Many people who visit here are not able to dine out/in but still want to enjoy a break from cooking and get their favorite libations and dishes from restaurants they visit year after year. With that in mind, this summer my column will be about the takeout dining experience from all your favorite places. We’re all in this together, and there’s no reason we can’t eat well while we “summer safely.”
Things are a little different this year, and Persephone’s Kitchen and Cafe reflects that in the best way possible. A vertical herb garden outside her door welcomes you in to a space that looks quite different from years past. Tables have been replaced by a one-way lane to make your way to the counter to order and then exit. Beautiful old glass pane doors hang from the ceiling to divide the entrance and exit lines, festooned with plants that give the cafe that same creative vibe it’s always had. A take-out table is laden with bags from customers who called in their orders or placed them online, and staff go back and forth bringing orders out to cars for those who requested contactless delivery. The front case under the register still bursts forth with fresh-baked goods like raspberry walnut scones, muffins (regular and gluten-free), breads and pastries. Coffee, tea and smoothie descriptions fill up an entire section on the blackboard menus, and a range of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items pepper the breakfast and lunch offerings. Take out containers and plastic silverware are made of compostable materials, so you can enjoy your take-home guilt free.
Persephone’s menu proves that “comfort food” can be both healthy and nourishing. What makes comfort food comforting isn’t the carbs or calories, it’s the feeling it brings us.
When we’re lonely or stressed or in the middle of a pandemic, we want to eat food that reminds us of connections to family, friends and places like Block Island. Persephone has taken that feeling and transformed it in delicious and surprising ways. Grilled cheese, a childhood favorite, is elevated into a Ti Penso with pesto, arugula, mozzarella and Vermont Cheddar. A tunafish sandwich becomes a Big Tuna, an addictive toasty concoction of apple-dill tuna and Vermont Cheddar on sourdough bread. Each dish I tasted from this menu made me feel content and cared for.
My home tasting began with a vegetarian red pepper parmesan frittata, accompanied by lightly buttered sourdough toast and dressed arugula. The frittata was room temperature (perfect for this dish) and had a pleasing velvety texture. I added some arugula to a few bites and loved the balance of the sharp lettuce with the sweetness of the egg and red pepper. This would make an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it’s nice to have a takeout item you don’t have to heat up or fuss with in any way.
Eating the vegan Strawberries and Cream bowl felt like I was treating my body with wholesome good food. The creamy coconut quinoa sweetened with a bit of agave and sprinkled with fresh strawberries and blueberries, mint and almonds was a wonderful combination of textures and flavors that epitomized Persephone’s core principle: “Our food is the fuel for our lives.”
Lala Toast is, simply put, comfort food at its finest. A thick piece of toasted sourdough bread slathered with tangy pesto goat cheese and topped with caramelized onions, arugula and crispy bacon made my whole body sigh with happiness as I savored each morsel. This is the kind of dish where you say “I’ll just take a few bites and save the rest for later”, and then you take a few more bites, and then a few more. It’s simply too good not to finish every last morsel and, when you do, you’ll feel both satiated and happy that you treated yourself to such delicious, satisfying food.
Online ordering is easy to do, click on https:// persephones-kitchen.square.site/ or call the cafe to place your order. Perspehone’s is open for breakfast and lunch; whether you’re here for the day or weekend or week-long rental, treat yourself to take-out at Persephone’s and it will become a place you return to every time you visit the island. It’s just that kind of a place.
Persephone’s is located on Dodge Street and the phone number is (401) 466-5070.