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Hose Company No. 06

Royal feasts and more
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  September 19, 2007

Hose Company No. 06 | 636 Central Ave, Pawtucket | Tues-Thurs, 11:30 am-9 pm, Fri-Sat till 10 Pm; Sun, 12-9 pm | Major credit cards | Full bar | Sidewalk-level access | 401.722.7220

As its name suggests, Hose Company No. 6 — affectionately called “O-6” by the locals — was once a working fire station, complete with horses and hose wagons. In 1975, Donald Wilks turned the rundown building into a neighborhood restaurant whose ambitions have grown with its clientele. In the 1980s, a complete renovation added stained-glass windows in the barroom at the front of the building and an atrium-like extension to the side of the long narrow dining room.
 
Current owner and lunch cook Paul Gaudette — Curtis Oldmixon chefs at night — dreamed up the King’s Feast, a combination six-course meal plus medieval play (no utensils allowed) which happens every Saturday night.
But he also runs one-night-of-the-week specials, such as the four-pound bucket of steamers for $13.99 on Wednesday, the half-price appetizers on nights when the Pats are playing, and the Sunday and Tuesday night two-fers.
 
And this two-fer is an unbeatable bargain: $17.99 for soup (or salad for another $1), an entrée (from 18 choices, add $1.50 for prime rib or steak tips), dessert, and coffee or a soda. No, that’s not $17.99 per person; it’s per couple. The portions are Rhode-Island-style — i.e., take-some-home-to-the-kids huge. And the preparations are very tasty.

I can’t imagine that very many two-fer customers order an appetizer, as we did, because they’d be more than sated from their meal. But reviewers must meet their responsibilities, so we dove into a portion of calamari ala mama ($8.99). Breaded squid rings are tossed with olive oil, garlic, roasted red peppers, slivered pepperoncini, and black olive slices, and then dusted with grated Romano. This delicious variation could be a meal in itself.
 
Other apps were more common, from onion rings and mozzarella sticks to stuffies, steamers, and mussels or clams “ala zuppa.” With a nod to the Mexican influence in American cuisine, quesadillas and nachos are also starter options, and a dinner special that evening was fajitas (the others were pot roast, lobster roll, and jambalaya).
 
Soups and salads are pretty standard, though the soup de jour, mentioned by our waitress as “chowder,” turned out to be the red variety, because we were, after all, in northern Rhody, home to that predilection. It was delicious, with a bit more heartiness to its broth than some red versions, which seem to have the merest whisper of a tomato in the clammy soup.
 
Among the entrées for the two-fer are scallops, scrod, fish & chips, fried chicken with gravy (there are three other chicken dishes), meatloaf and the aforementioned prime rib or steak tips. There are also six pasta items, including chicken or eggplant Parm or a combo, which Bill chose. Two large pieces of breaded eggplant, two breaded chicken fillets, plenty of ziti, all smothered in marinara — the man was in his own tiny piece of paisan nirvana (you’ve heard about his Sicilian grandparents, right?).
 
I decided on a scrod variation not on the regular menu. Called scrod au gratin, this was cod baked with broccoli, covered with grated cheddar and bread crumbs. The remarkable thing was that the broccoli was just right, not over- or undercooked.
 
The fish was also fine, as were the accompanying mashed potatoes, nothing fancy. The regular menu does offer a Nantucket seafood pie, fruit del mare, shrimp scampi, and baked stuffed shrimp, all under $15, as are all of the other entrées, except the “king cut” of prime rib, at $19.99. There’s even a surf-and-turf with a “queen cut” for $16.99.
 
On the lunch and pub part of the menu are sandwiches, wraps, burgers and grilled pizzas. Desserts are chocolate cake, carrot cake, Toll House cookie pie, cheesecake, and a house-made bread pudding. The two-fer desserts are chocolate or tapioca pudding; we had one of each — an old-fashioned ending to an old-fashioned meal.

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