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Blackie's Bull Dog Tavern Restaurant Review: Route 116 in Smithfield is a fairly rural area, proximity to some corporate office parks notwithstanding. So when walking into a place like Blackie's Bull Dog Tavern one’s expectations are limited --- something on draft other than Bud Light and a decent burger might suffice. In fact, Blackie's was previously an Italian restaurant and the current owners smartly retained the best design elements while remaking it into a sports bar and restaurant: a dining room with soft lighting and decorative prints on the walls, a granite-topped bar, and an outdoor patio shaded by an arbor. Blackie's chef/owner Angie Armenise, formerly of Waterplace in Providence, successfully bridges the gap between bar fare and "dining" with a menu of comfort food that puts some nice twists on old favorites. General Tso's crispy squid is an Asian rendition of fried calamari, for example, while the soft pretzel bites are accompanied by an apple and pear compote, the fruit sourced from Smithfield's local orchards. A specialty salad was piled high with chopped barbecue chicken, and a “prosciutto and pig” flatbread pizza is spread with fig jam. There are burgers and sandwiches on the menu, of course, but if you're going to order a drink called a Smoked Caramel Apple (one of several specialty cocktails on the menu), wouldn't it go better with the short rib pappardelle or apple cider salmon that the usual fish ‘n’ chips? A carrot cake ice cream sandwich sounds just right for a sunny fall afternoon, and the seasonal cheesecakes are made in-house.