Big King, Rhode Island—The Seven Course Meal That Changed My Life

Perhaps something you should know before is that I am an extremely picky eater. In the past, I've said no to onions, mushrooms, peppers, avocado, and that is just the beginning of it. I didn’t consider myself a big seafood eater, either. Honestly, my taste was embarrassingly bland.

That all changed at Big King. Located in Providence, Rhode Island, the seafood restaurant sat in between rows and rows of houses, and right across from a classy bar called the Avery. Big King was inspired by Japanese cuisine and showed by the size of the place that consisted of mainly bar seats, with only enough room for two booth seats.

Big King’s menu changes every day, which made it even harder for a picky eater like myself because I couldn’t even mentally prepare to try new dishes beforehand. Instead, the waiters at Big King handwrote the menu every day in a little notebook. There were two set courses to choose from on the menu, both with intimidating ingredients and interesting combinations. I couldn’t pick and choose what dish I wanted, so I had to be brave.

The First Course

It took no more than ten minutes since ordering that the first dishes came out—sashimi. I was nervous, but the dishes were beautiful. Each slice of fish was so thinly and perfectly cut that you can see the dark contrast of the plate beneath it. I hastily took a bite and instantly the fish melted in my mouth. I became excited about the next few dishes because if they were anywhere near as good as this one I was in for a treat!

The Second Course

Once they cleared my sashimi away, they brought out the second dish — a steamed kaboda squash custard that was fluffy and soft and melted straight away in my mouth. It reminded me of a steamed egg my grandma used to make, and tasted just as soothing and soft as it, but with a new ingredient I had never tried before. I was extremely impressed with how comfortable my tastebuds were with it. It was a smart choice on their part, because it was still easy on the stomach and left me anticipating more.

The Third Course

Next were two plates of tempura, one with sweet potato and one with acorn squash. Previously, I wasn’t that big of a fan of starches like potato and squash, but these made an easy exception. They were light and fluffy, but they did start to fill me up.

The Fourth Course

Next came two pieces of pork grilled on a stick with a daikon radish stuck at the end. Though I was feeling full, the aroma of the pork made me quickly ignore that feeling. The pork was the most familiar dish I had so far, and with all the new ingredients I had been trying, I was nervous it wouldn’t hold up to the other exciting and new tastes that I was experiencing. And although the pork tasted simply of salt and pork, the cook was perfect and was tender and soft when I bit into it. It opened my stomach up, again, ready for the last entree.

The Fifth Course

The last course was a rice bowl topped with a steamed fish and dashi, a Japanese soup I had never heard of before. Though I was never a big fan of cooked fish, this one was an exception because the flavor mixed so well with the rice that each bite warmed my stomach. The fish melted straight away on my tongue and the dish left me scraping the plate for more. I was more tentative about the dashi because I was expecting a more salted soup, but still, I could taste the flavors nonetheless. By then I was so full, but still so excited for more to come!

The Sixth Course

The last two dishes placed down were desserts that both looked mouth-watering. One was a strawberry dish with toasted marshmallow cream and the other was a honey cake with a merlot sorbet. I couldn’t help but dig into both. Though the two desserts were meant to be two different meals, they complemented each other so well. One fruity and one sweet, they gave relief to my taste buds.

Overall, despite my stomach feeling like it would explode from all the food that I ate, I came out of that restaurant having tried at least five new ingredients I would have never before. I felt proud of myself for being able to step out of my comfort and be so pleasantly surprised by the food I thought I never would have enjoyed.


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