foie gras tasting at providence - awesome!
hi all - been wanting to share this with everyone, but life's been a little hectic to say the least. anyways, to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary, and my wife's cholesterol finally dropping from 230 to 150 (thanks to a light dose of medication....) i thought i'd call around.
it was just a crazy idea. why not a foie tasting menu? when i thought of who i'd love to give this insane idea to, i tried thinking of some of our favorites, but also perhaps a chef who would be approachable. i immediately thought of chef michael cimarusti of providence, and chef brein clements of restaurant omakase.
(parenthetically, i also called restaurant omakase, in riverside, right close to the mission inn. if any of you have never tried it, it is amazing. chef brein and his wife roryann clements. he was going to do a 7-course foie tasting for us, for $84, but could not do it due to a schedule conflict with them on sat night. it IS worth the drive to the middle of nowhere....anyways, getting ahead of myself.)
we've been to providence a few times. normally with all the offerings out there we don't tend to repeat, unless it was just spectacular. we've had the full chef tasting, dessert tasting, and one time ordered almost every appetizer for our meal! cimarusti has always been very nice, considering we're just ordinary people, not anyone with any sort of notoriety or fame. and for a chef of his talent, he comes across as someone without an attitude, which i appreciate. when i called and brought up the idea, john parker, one his staff, was helpful enough to say - no promises, but let me ask the chef. he calls me back in a few hours, and says cimarusti is up to it! 5 courses, $140. all this with about a 3 day notice! done. the only unfortunate thing was because we were coming in so soon, we were not going to be able to have his torchon. waaaaahhhh. oh well. i told him he can let the chef know he can do whatever he wants.
we left it up to him to dream up whatever he wanted. 3/1 was our dinner and anniversary. as we sat, our server comes out and says - well, you both won't be getting a menu, as you already know the chef has prepared an amazing foie gras tasting menu for you. happy anniversary. the tables in providence are pretty close to each other, especially sitting by the long seat against the wall. all i'll say is a few heads certainly turned everytime a new dish came out, and was described by our server. (my only regret was my wife who just did not want me to take pictures...oh well.)
so here's the line up. (aside of course from 3 amuses-bouches!)
foie gras parfait
northstar dried cherries, port wine
(in a wine glass, a good 3-4 inches across, the wine gelee on top, and at least an inch worth of silky foie!)
poached in duck jus
(it is worth noting that every piece, save the ravioli, was not the little sliver some places serve. we were definitely in cardiac arrest territory.)
foie gras ravioli
black truffles, aromatics, parmesan
(it came out covered, and then our server comes out with perigord truffles - i'm not an expert on it, but he basically shaved the truffle - gently raining and covering our rather wide dish...)
blood orange, tarragon, yogurt & honey
grilled foie gras
diver scallop and salsify
(this was unbelievable. so good! well, they were all good!)
valrhona chocolate ganache
foie gras ice cream, apricot chutney
(and some dried foie powder for garnish!)
i told my wife we will have to drop in the kitchen to thank the chef for such an awesome degustation. we didn't have to. just before the dessert came out, my wife said the chef was standing right a few tables over peeking. before i could turn around, chef michael is at our table. he said he just had to see what kind of a nut would request something like this. he said he's never had such a request in his 4 years at providence. he commented that it was such a challenge - to have something so unctuous, rich and sinful, and to be able to make it different (not too hard) but also make all the ingredients work to cut the richness, course after course. he was his usual down-to-earth self. certainly a meal not to be forgotten. i can still see and almost savor each course even by slapping and pasting the menu.
hope you all enjoyed my post, except for the lack of pictures....next time......
I am dying with jealousy over here. What a once in a lifetime experience. I am sad about the lack of photos though.
Nice report back. I don't know if my heart could handle all Foie Gras for every course, but I'm jealous. :) Sounds like Chef Cimarusti did a great job.
sounds great - great writeup -- but as you say your wife is on MEDICINE for cholestrol - Are you kidding me?
omg! what an amazing idea. you might have started something. i LOVE foie gras and am adding this idea to my humongous list of restaurants/dishes to try. kudos to the chef for his creativity. btw, congrats on your anniversary -- wishing you and the spouse many more years of happy eating!