Question about Providence
I really enjoy the occasional splurge on a great dining exp. and I read great things about Providence, so I'm very curious to try the place, but here's the rub - I'm not a big fish eater. I like some fish, usually milder stuff like halibut, snapper, catfish and swordfish. I love shellfish but hate mussels. I don't care for salmon, hate smoked salmon. I love sushi, but usually stick to simpler stuff. I'm very open to trying new tastes and am just wondering if I should just give it a try or is it not a great choice for someone who isn't passionate about fish, considering the price. Looking forward to your opinions.
The dinner menu at Providence is available at their website, www.providencela.com. (You need to click on the "download .pdf" option, and it appears that the tasting menu follows the a la carte menu.)
Most of the raves on this board for Providence definitely apply to the tasting menu options. If you have an aversion to certain types of fish, I would definitely call during an off-hour and ask to speak to a manager to see if the selections can be tweaked to accommodate your tastes. I would definitely do this at least a couple of days before your visit, and then remind them of your preferences and who you spoke with when you call to confirm the morning of. With advance notice, I think it would be reasonable and doable, but not if you mention it for the first time when you are seated and dinner rush has begun for the chef and the kitchen.
Don't worry, it somehow hardly feels like an overwhelming seafood experience, although seafood does comprise most of the menu. I'm not quite sue why this is but it is. My wife isn't a huge seafooder but has enjoyed each time we've dined at providence.
As far as the price, the more times you eat there, the less you feel as if the prices are worth it. I've gone to more expensive restaurants more times (visits) and not felt this way. Not that it's not great, but each visit seems reveal that the menu, for the most part, remains fairly static.
Regardless, your first visit there should be rather enjoyable i would venture.
I can hardly think of a better restaurant for somebody timid about fish. Crimusti is a master of his craft and consistently delivers beautiful plates of freshly sourced and delicately prepared seafood. You might just have a whole new outlook on seafood after a fine dinner at Providence, but you definitely need to head in with an open mind for exploration and a palette ready to take on new textures and flavors.
R. Jason Coulston