Providence - Wow
I just got back from a great meal at providence and felt compelled to share my experience. First of all, I love the fact that on Monday, they don't charge corkage fees. It's a great and inexpensive way to enjoy good quality wine paired with great food and service. Food highlights included an amuse of "peas and carrots" which showed complex notes of curry, an appetizer of roast foie with quince (went perfectly with my auslese riesling) and an excellent lobster risotto that someone else at the table had. One miss was the lobster bloody mary, which, for all its playfulness, was missing a kick to it, whether it be some acid or more severe spiciness to balance it out. But overall, there were really great, whimsical presentations and well executed food. The service was really professional, if a bit austere, but given the fact that this seemed like a zen temple to food, I think the austerity was appropriate. This is a restaurant on another level than others in LA in my experience (I've been in NY for the last year or so), and I hope to return in the future.
ended another great meal with a fantastic dessert there a few weeks ago...
passion fruit gelee topped with an eleant scoop rosemary sorbet and sprinkled apple strusel flakes sitting in a pool of fresh cracked basil seeds (which were supspended in a clear aqueous gel). then coconut milk sauce elegantly poured into the bowl.
it was a refreshing combination of textures, colors and aromatic tastes.
a way-sophisticated "boba" (reference) desert. it was one of the most exciting desserts that I've had in a long time!
Went to Providence last night for the first time. Had a great dinner, easy to see why it tops the CH best of LA list. We ate:
-Crab salad with parsnip paper, pea puree, smoked maple foam
Holy crap! Very bold flavors. Set the tone for the rest of the night. The style seems to be serving pristine ingredients with accompaniments that take it right to the edge of overpowering the main ingredient without doing so. Very very fine line.
Kampachi with tomato relish, citrus foam, yuzu gelee
Very strong flavors. Same as above, almost overpowered but held off right at the end.
Uni sabayon with truffle and brioche "soldiers"
Served in an eggshell. Pretty aphrodisiacal.
Lobster with beets, something else and fried tarragon.
Tail meat was tough. Flavors sang.
John Dory with broccoli puree, braised carrot, carrot vaudovin puree, sherry redux I think
Very very gutsy. Could have been ruined easily if one of the components wasn't perfect. Execution was flawless.
Troll caught salmon with romesco, butternut squash, hon shimeji shrooms.
Buttery salmon cooked a la plancha, crisp skin, perfect accompaniments.
Cheese (rogue river blue, can't remember others...see below)
Lime soda with vanilla ice cream
Chocolate cremeaux, lemon curd, campfire marshmallow, graham cracker crust
We ordered with wine pairings which, up until the cheese course, was flawless. I felt the real highlights of the meal were everything pre-cheese. The selections were cheeses you can find at the better wine bars in town, not exactly fine dining selections. Better to offer another course or dessert. I also thought the desserts did not match the calibre of the flawless execution of the savory items. The wine pairing for the cheese completely overpowered. The banyuls, while pairing well with the cremeaux, overpowered the other components. The cremeaux was light, and I felt a darker and richer chocolate presentation is needed to stand up to banyuls. Would have preferred something a little more refined perhaps dessert-wise.
Service did not match up to calibre of the cooking either. Very friendly, but we must have had 4 different servers. Seemed disorganized. Some courses were served well before the wine. Had to remind one server we needed a wine pairing with the course. Sorry I didn't list the wines but I was very drunk...the riesling with the lobster was sublime, as was the Nebbiolo with the John Dory. We were asked a few times, "Is that glass dirty?" No biggie to me, just an observation. The cooking is the star here, at least it was last night, and really overshadowed every other aspect of the restaurant imo. First time eating Cimarusti's food since Water Grill and it's better than ever.
2 glasses champagne, two 9 course tastings w wine, coffee (awesome), tax n tip=
Worth it for a special occasion, bring the service up just a notch or two, and they're golden.
My wife and went to dinner there for the first time last Thursday. All in all a wonder and delicious experience. Our last two meals in L.A were are Sona and Spago. I would have to say that I like this better then Sona and felt that it was even more creative than Spago. We had the full tasting menu with wine pairings. I believe the cost was $140 per person.
Considering we spend more then that at Mastro's, I consider Providence a great value.