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Blu Violet is Providence's newest rooftop dining destination you should check out – The Providence Journal

You don’t have to climb even one stair to make your cares drift right into space as you enjoy a cocktail and dine at the city’s newest rooftop restaurant. 
Blu Violet opened in the last hours of 2021, offering dinner four nights a week and now brunch on weekends. It’s on the seventh floor at Aloft Providence Downtown, a new hotel managed by Marriott International. It is located in the Innovation District not far from the pedestrian bridge.
It’s amazing to imagine this ultra-modern hotel has arisen in the space once marked by the unsightly I-195 ramps. 
Entering Aloft at 191 Dorrance St., guests will see the WXYZ bar to their left and the Re-Fuel coffee bar to their right. Walking to the back of the building, there’s outdoor space just waiting for spring and summer to host those in search of a drink and a bite.
But it’s the elevator that takes guests to the top floor and Blu Violet. The restaurant and lounge is sure to make Aloft a destination.
Rooftop dining is hard to come by in Providence. There’s the Rooftop at the Providence G downtown on Dorrance Street and Mare in Wayland Square. Gone is the Nordstrom Café, which offered stunning third-floor views of the Rhode Island State House. Nearly all dining in Providence is street-level.  
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There are the fashionable cocktails. They include The Pick Me Up, a stellar espresso martini made with Makers Mark bourbon, Kahlua, cold brew and Amaro Montenagro.
Lavender Fields is becoming the restaurant’s signature. It’s a light delight that pairs Hendricks Gin with St. Germain and housemade lavender syrup with some fresh lemon juice. 
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There’s also an approachable but creative menu that stars seafood from first-time executive chef Joel Eugene.
Eugene’s take on shrimp and grits is elegant. The shrimp is paired with pearl onions, tiny Sweety Drop peppers and a nice beurre blanc sauce. It’s perfectly paired with the grits formed into two crunchy, addictive patties.
His Crab Fritters feature elegant battered delights that sit under fresh crab and are paired with the perfect Cajun aioli dip. Eugene said that dish is simple and reminds him of street food in his native Haiti. 
A Crispy Chicken Sandwich is big enough to share and delightfully messy with both garlic mayo and Gochujang honey. Pommes Frites are the just right accompaniment.
Calamari lovers will enjoy his Frito Misto, crispy calamari and shrimp paired with banana peppers and olive tapenade. It’s served with a great lemon aioli.
Desserts include a Turtle Cheesecake and Tiramisu.  
After 15 years living in Boston, Eugene, 33, has been in Rhode Island for two years. He worked most recently for Marriott as executive sous chef at the Newport hotel. 
It was 2009 when he got into the food business and went through a Le Cordon Bleu culinary program. 
He said he is already working on his spring/summer menu at Blu Violet but he is most excited about the brunch that launched this past weekend. The menu speaks to his creativity with Tiramisu-Stuffed French Toast, and his roots cooking with family with his Boulet or Haitian meatballs. The brunch menu also includes Chicken & Waffles and Eggs & Grits.
Like the rest of the city, chef Eugene is excited about the new restaurant. 
“It’s the best thing that can happen to any chef,” he said about getting the post at Blu Violet.
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The modern industrial vibe of the restaurant will warm with a soon-to-be-added mural and other furnishings. The pandemic has impacted the restaurant as they wait for more furniture to be delivered and to expand staff, said Steven Simas, food and beverage operations manager. 
There are currently 68 seats including those at the bar, at stools along the floor-to-ceiling windows that offer the views of downtown Providence, high-top and regular tables as well as a few lounge seats around a table.
The outdoor balcony will no doubt be in demand but awaits better weather. It offers river views as well as a look at the pedestrian bridge. A high wood ceiling adds a nice design element.
Blu Violet started with a smallish menu but with Steak-Frites and a Burrata and Tomato salad, there is something for everyone. The prices are moderate, with most dishes between $14 and $17. The steak is $32 and shrimp $25. Cocktails are $12 to $14.
Details: Blu Violet at the Aloft, 191 Dorrance St., Providence, (401) 252-0710, dinner served Thursday through Sunday with brunch hours Saturday and Sunday.

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