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Providence question

I'm going to dinner at Providence with my girlfriend this Sunday; it is my first visit. Can anybody guide me on which tasting menu to try? I am thinking mostly about food quantity, since the price difference is only about $25 between the five course menu and the larger tasting menu. I can be a big eater, but if I can get a general sense of the artistry of the food with the five-course tasting menu, I might be inclined to do that.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I always go for wither the 9 course, or the chef's tasting menu (however many courses he does that night)

    Or, you could get the 5 course, and tack on the dessert tasting menu.

    If you're a big eater, do more courses. Each course is small, but with wine, bread, and many different courses, you'll be very full.

    If you can swing the Chef's, the most expensive of the three, you won't regret it.
    But then, you won't regret ANYTHING you eat at Providence.

    Did you ask for the "worst table in the house" to get your 10% savings?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Diana

      Is the "worth table in the house" savings thing for real? If so, is it truly a bad/uncomfortable place to be?

      1. re: chucktowneater

        it's the worst table, and no, it isn't a bad table at all.

        It was for real when I did it.

    2. Just went last night for the first time. We did the 5-course with wine pairings. Excellent experience. I like the fact that there is an option for 5, 9 and chef's menu. Too often there is only one choice for a tasting menu. The pacing was excellent. Service attentive. Amount of food was fine. In the end, for a school day, I didn't feel overwhelmed with the 5-course. The 9-course might have been over-the-top. There was an amuse bouche to start as well. Great food. Meticulously prepared.

      And the "worst table" is fine. We sat near it and it has the most traffic going by but certainly not too bad.

      1. I think 5 course is the way to go.

        9 course TM makes it feel like you your watching molasses drip on a cold winter's morning ... it takes forever (think 2-3 hours).

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          it takes a while, but in my experience, you don't notice. tehy give you just enough time to savor one course before bringing another out, and while they aren;t intrusive, the manager, server, and waiter are always aware of how you are doing.

          I have never felt rushed, but never been bored, either.

        2. We went a few weeks ago for the 1st time...requested the "worst table" and it was actually a very nice table. Not only did we save 10%, since we went on a Monday we also took advantage of the no corkage fee. We brought a few different bottles of wine (they have no limit) and did the 9-course tasting. I've heard the 5-course is not that filling. It was fabulous, even though it did take close to 3 hours as someone else noted!!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Obessed

            I think if you are going to go with a tasting menu, a certain length of time should almost be expected, mainly as a way to savor the experience.
            With Providence, I find that 5 courses is too few for me...but I love to eat, a lot....so either do the 5 courses with Chef Adrian's dessert tasting menu, or the 9 course TM.

          2. i've had both the 5 and 9 and i recommend the latter. i wasn't hungry after the 5, but i wasn't full either. the extra courses in the 9 are really worth the additional $25. if you're going all out, go for the chef's tasting menu.

            1 Reply
            1. re: zack

              We've moved a tangent about bringing your own wine from Trader Joe's to the Wine board, where the wine hounds can give an informed perspective on the issue. The thread is at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/416543

            2. Hilarious. I'll see you there. I'm taking my best friend for his birthday. I'm trying to figure out the five or nine course deal too...might do the five with wine pairings. I remember doing the three courses at Opus (which, a few months ago, was actually something like six courses) and being completely stuffed by the end.

              1. seems to me bringing your own wine to providence when they have such a good, reasonably priced list, is missing the point. Sure you save some money. You could also save money (maybe just as much, these days) by skipping dessert and stopping at 31 flavors on your way home.

                providence is a great restaurant--probably the best we have in the city right now--and if y ou're going to go, you ought to take full advantage of what they have to offer. drew is really, really good at wine matching. you're not going to do a dinner like this very often. just go for it. maybe you'll discover that you do like wine after all.

                1. Now you'll definitely have to report back, especially about what you decide on the wine. Most of us don't have money trees blossoming in our living rooms. The food there is already $$$$; whatever you're comfortable with in regards to the wine, just do that, and it'll be fine.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: slacker

                    I have a queestion about the food, not the wine (I do not drink, but my husband will probably have a few glasses of wine with dinner). $105 sounds quite reasonable for the level of food, service and amount of food. But my question is about the "worst table." I think I would be embarrassed to mention this when I call for a reservation. Is that just me or do other people get uncomfortable broaching this, as if you are trying to get a 'cheap' dinner...?

                    1. re: Bria Silbert

                      Not sure if you meant to ask me or just generally. I actually plan to go there for the first time in a couple of weeks, and definitely plan on doing the wine pairing, btw.
                      I considered the cheapest table thing, but we got stuck at the worst table on Mother's day, at another restaurant, and I personally dont' feel like sitting next to the server station again. But I would not feel uncomfortable asking for it. No big deal, it's something they offer.

                      Edit: if you feel uncomfortable calling about it, you could reserve via Opentable and write that request in the notes.

                      1. re: slacker

                        The place is amazing!!! I think the service is the BEST in all of Souther California and the food/wine is truly to die for!!!

                      2. re: Bria Silbert

                        Don't be embarrassed. It isn't a bad table at all, and they ahve the deal there for you to yuse. Be embarrassed if you don't take advantage of it!

                        When we had that table, we had the best night ever-better than the year before, when I didn't ask for it!

                        Trust me, 10% off of a tasting menu is not a "cheap dinner" at Providence. It will still be a rather expensive (but worth it) meal. Ask away. You may find someone else has already booked it!

                      3. re: slacker

                        I will reply to this on the wine board, where my topic was moved.

                      4. OUTSTANDING!!! In the end, my girlfriend and I both ordered the 9 course tasting menu, she went with the wine pairings, and I requested two glasses to cover the entire meal to be chosen by the sommelier. The wine was good, but being very much a non-expert, I did not even recognize the names of the varietals which were dutifully reported to us and to me the wine was not the highlight.

                        The food, however, was all conceived and executed at an extremely high level of sophistication and creativity. I literally have never eaten fish like that served that night; the textures were not flaky like most fish, but absolutely moist and tender and packed with flavor. I did not ask, but I am guessing that at least some of the fish is prepared sous-vide, because I don't know how else it would turn out so melt-in-the-mouth tender. One additional touch which I loved and would love to know how to do at home were translucent disks of yellow beet, again with an incredibly soft texture and strong, delicious flavor. I really don't know how this was done; I can only guess that they pureed cooked beets, strained the liquid, then added gelatin and cooled it into thin sheets, which were then cut into disks. Truly incredible!!

                        It was indeed an expensive night, but well worth it. I'd go back again, perhaps after some time goes by so that the selections on the tasting menu change.