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Feb 23, 2007 08:56 PM

Best Meal In My Life - Providence

Last night, the lady and I experienced the single most creative, delicious, mind-blowing meal we have ever had. A year ago, my lady would never have opted to head for a "primarily seafood" special occasion dinner as she barely enjoyed a simple piece of fish. However, over the last year, scouring the food boards, blogs and reviews we came to understand that the Providence chef's menu is clearly one of the most highly regarded "special occasion" dining events in Los Angeles. So, enough introduction. Best meal of our lives, hands down. A formal breakdown follows:

1st: Oyster w/ Seaweed Gelee ...with heavy citrus (lime?) accent

2nd: Santa Barbara spot prawn tartare covered with yellow beet gelee, accompanied by lime foam and red beet ....**a highlight

3rd: Abalone with Abalone mushrooms (from China) and thinly sliced cucumbers, prepared like noodles, served atop an abalone shell placed on a bed of red salt ...this tasted incredibly buttery, sea salty and the abalone mushrooms really DO taste like abalone

4th: Kanpachi rolled around a soy gelee with yuzu foam, shiso leaf and cucumber ...absolutely refreshing (and the lady has a "thing" for kanpachi/shiso/yuzu combos - we didn't think Spago's sashimi dish w/ the same flavors could be beat...but it was)

5th: Snow crab topped with caviar (can't remember much else but it should be noted that we chose to do the wine pairing with the meal so by this point, things were becoming an elated, tipsy blur)

6th: Foie gras ball with pink pepperberry foam, foie gras powder (!!!) and cherry powder ...not that any dish here was even less than good but this was the weakest to our taste

7th: Uni sabayon - a single brown eggshell, inside of which was uni, champagne and vermouth, egg yolk foam and black truffle with shaved black truffles on the top ...words don't do justice to this crazy, savory little dish **highlight

8th: Maine lobster with beet agar-agar (jelly) and topped with caviar ...I thought the caviar *made* the dish

9th: Nancy Hill's Diver Scallops w/ Big Island heart of palm, pistachio and spinach chiffonade. ok, we don't know much about this Nancy Hill but we DO know that these scallops were mother-effing out of this world. THANK YOU NANCY **highlight

10th: Niman Ranch pork belly with cinnamon-soaked quince, salsify, oyster plant, ashmead apple and Australian pepperberry **highlight

11th: John Dory with flowering broccoli, carrot vavdouvan and Weiser Farm purple haze carrot

12th: Chitarra pasta with *last of the season* white Alba truffles, freshly shaved at the table ...Oh my god, this beat out any other white truffle, the pasta was so perfectly chewy and buttery and the truffles wonderfully aromatic - a true highlight of the meal)

13th: 28-day, wet-aged, Prime New York steak from Nebraska (served in a 1"x 5" rectangular strip) with sweet onion and bone marrow on brioche

14th: 4 cheese plate (total blur) (very drunk)

15th: white chocolate lollipops filled with rooibos/cardamom blood orange liquid

16th: Kalamansi soda poured over a bowl filled with vanilla ice cream and mango gelee ...YES!!

17th: Frozen banana capsule filled with some caramel-like substance topped with cinnamon caviar

18th: Chocolate cremaux, toasted marshmallow, graham cracker something or other (ok, we are now recapping this dessert based on the written breakdown our server gave us. in all humiliating honesty, we were both quite intoxicated after our 15th serving of wine)

...and of course, the homemade petit-fours (which, a day later, are still sitting in a box in our kitchen as we haven't quite recovered)

After 18 dishes, hundreds of flavors, 17(?) servings of wine, 4 and a half HOURS and 3 months salary, we were the last ones in the restaurant and got a mini-tour of the wine cellar and kitchen.

We haven't done Spago's Tasting menu but we have had a 17(?) course tasting menu at L'Auberge in Carmel that until this point we thought couldn't be surpassed. At Providence, each dish in the Chef's menu was artfully, delicately prepared by a true master (Michael Cimarusti), the service was impeccable and the sommelier's wine pairings quite impressive. Providence served us the best meal we've ever had.

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  1. omg, that sounds soooooo decandent!!

    1. how did you get so many courses? did you have 2 separate 9 course tasting menus? can I ask what the damage was?? sounds awesome!! i am headed there tomorrow night - is there anything that i should request - what was the best thing you had all night?? you had so many hightlights!!!

      3 Replies
      1. re: allisonteal

        We asked for the Chef's Menu, which is different than the "on the written menu" Tasting Menu, which I think is only 5 or 7 course. You are in for such a treat. The damage was extensive...the Chef's Menu was 150/pp. The wine pairing was 110/pp. And we got one bottle of sparkling water and one cup of coffee, 5 or 6 each. Before tip came out to 574. So worth it.

        I think if you ask for the Chef's Menu, you won't be disappointed. Ask if Nancy Hill's Diver Scallops are on the menu. They were probably the best of all. Give a full report back, would love to hear how your dinner goes.

        1. re: montgomeryrossmore

          I will be at Providence next Sautrday and was all set on getting the Market Menu. But now you have to go and tell me about this Chef's Menu!

        2. re: allisonteal

          I highly, highly recommend the Chef's menu. Our server described it as a "tasting extravaganza" and it is worth every single penny.

        3. You had a great meal. I hope you'll go back and eat at the Chefl's Table - an experience that involves a view of the preparation of your meal and course-by-course visits by Michael. The kitchen smells are fantastic as there is a door to the kitchen from the Chef's Table room. Next, convince your wife to go to Urasawa. For seafood in the Japanese way in LA, it can't be beat as the posts on this board will attest.

          4 Replies
            1. re: Diana

              Approx 110- 150 ea depending on the ingredients.

            2. re: TomSwift

              isn't dining at the chef's table the same as ordering chef's tasting menu, only difference being where you're seated?

              op's meal sounds fantastic! i've had both the 5 course and the full tasting at providence but never the chef's tm. it's too bad white truffle season is now over. i'll have to decide between going to melisse for the 1st time (carte blanche) or returning to providence... heck, at those prices, i might as well experience urasawa?!?

              1. re: zack

                Not necessarily. You could order the Tasting Menu of the night OR you could call in advance and request some special favorites of yours, which we've done on occasion. You must experience Urasawa, however, and my suggestion is to get there at 6:00 pm so that you have the option of a 4-1/2 dinner if that is your ilk.

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