Excellent | Worth a Detour
J.P. Spoonem’s | Rhode Island Cornmeal Jonnycakes
Review by: Michael Stern
Rhode Island’s Own Pancake
J.P. Spoonem’s makes iconoclastic cornmeal jonnycakes. For one thing, they list jonnycakes on the menu as Johnny Cakes. For another, they make these alleged jonnycakes with yellow corn meal instead of the traditional white. Furthermore, they faintly flavor them with maple syrup. In other words, these Rhode Island pancakes are not for the jonnycake purist. On the other hand, if you seek a really good breakfast or brunch and are willing to accept a variation on the theme (or don’t give a hoot about jonnycakes), put J.P. Spoonem’s on your Rhode Island eating itinerary. It’s a dandy place to eat.
This kitchen makes west-of-Narragansett Bay-style cornmeal jonnycakes. That means they are relatively thick, dense, and griddle-cooked until the edges are crisp. You need to apply some pressure with knife or fork’s edge to sever a bite. And they are flavorful enough in their own right that you’ll want only minimal butter and/or syrup. They are buff enough to be an entree and to star in a Johnny Cake platter. The platter gets you a pair of them with Swiss cheese and very good ham, accompanied by home fries and fruit.
Brunch Matters Here
Beyond Rhode Island’s signature flapjack, Spoonem’s offers an extensive breakfast/brunch menu. Choose from among Benedicts, omelets, frittatas, corned beef hash, salmon hash, and veggie hash of black beans and roasted corn. In strawberry season, I cannot resist French bread French toast stuffed with fresh strawberry cream cheese. On the other hand, I love a wickedly sweet item called Portuguese raisin sweet bread French toast. This doozy of a dish comes topped with butter and brown sugar, raisins, bananas, walnuts, and whipped cream.
21st Century Hash House
While its ambiance is casual and diner-like, Spoonem’s décor has a modern edge (like the menu). A tiny-tile floor surrounds a U-shaped counter with chrome-pedestal stools. It makes me think of a vintage hash house reborn in the 21st century.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|