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Providence full tasting vs Saam

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I'm going to be in LA for two days so I'm trying to decide which one to try.

The Providence Chef's Tasting + wine is a bit more than I want to spend since I'm paying for 2 other people as well, so it would be the full vs saam.

If you could only choose one, which would it be? Also, how much "molecular gastronomy" is there in Providence?

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  1. "molecular gastronomy"
    go to SAAMS

    1. Just celebrated a friends birthday at Saam. The service was perfect and the setting intimate. The "molecular gastronomy" elements made things fun without getting in the way of some truly great dishes.

      1. I've done both (in fact did my birthday dinner at Saam last year), and I prefer Providence. But it really depends on what you're looking for. There is some molecular gastromony at Providence (spherified cocktails are the first amuse bouche) and some of the dishes are cooked sous-vide. It's sort of subtle. Whereas Saam is a lot of fun (they have a liquid nitrogen caiparinha to start and one of the desserts is "dragon's breath" caramel corn laced with liquid nitrogen so that when you exhale, smoke comes out of your nose). In terms of just how the food tastes, I'm a fan of Providence. But if you're just looking to have a really entertaining night and try some interesting presentations of food, Saam is a good choice.

        6 Replies
        1. re: pointone

          Which one did you find more "memorable"?

          1. re: flzhang

            Tough call. The food is more solidly executed at Providence and all around tastes better but Saam wins in the shock and awe category. The Bazaar/Saam have also had kitchen changes (Top Chef alums Michael Voltaggio and Marcel Vigneron have long since left the place - but then I have no idea whether they were in the kitchen at Saam to begin with). I make it a habit to go back to Providence - I don't do that for Saam. But I will say, the first time I ate at Saam it was a revelation. If your primary focus is molecular gastromony, then I'd pick Saam. And I don't know what your group is like or what you intend to do later- but the Bazaar for after dinner drinks certainly lives up to its name (interesting people watching).

            1. re: pointone

              100% agreement with pointone.

              If you're looking for "molecular gastronomy" then Saam is the place. Culinary entertainment. Providence provides an elegant fine dining experience. The first is like a date with wacky girl who opens the door and reveals some looky outfit. And sometime on the date you narrowly avoid getting arrested. A memorable evening indeed! But you might not want a want second date.

              Providence is like a date with classy elegant, very interesting woman.

              Can I work this metaphor anymore (I got it from wine tastings - where it 's fun to equate a wine with a woman). Okay...okay...Saam is like a date with Edie Sedgewick, where Providence is a date with Meryl Streep.

              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                Loving the actress/dating analogy. And that the descriptions of the Saam/Bazaar "girl" and the Providence "woman" are reasonably accurate descriptions of the clientele of the respective restaurants.

                1. re: pointone

                  While I would agree the food at providence overall is a better meal there were dishes at Saam that stand up to any dish at any restaurant.

                  girl" and the Providence "woman" are reasonably accurate descriptions of the clientele of the respective restaurants ...disagree with that though...maybe I was there on a restrainmed night :)

                  1. re: pointone

                    I've gone to a few wine tasting dinners - and one of the most fun ways to describe a wine - is to liken it to specific female type. For some reason it works pretty well.

          2. Just want to quickly revisit this issue. My wife and I are planning a night out. Generally speaking, our default outing restaurant is Providence. We always enjoy the tasting menus. We are considerning switching things up and checking out SAAM instead.

            It appears as though the general belief is that for molecular gastronomy/presentation/wow factor SAAM is the place. If however, we are more concerned with the taste of the food, Providence has the edge (here I am not suggesting the SAAM doesn't serve high quality tasty food, just not up to the Providence level). Is this assessment correct? Thanks in advance.

            2 Replies
            1. re: anothernotch

              Yes, anothernotch.
              You are correct.
              I have done both. I keep returning to providence as the food is always excellent.
              I did Saam once and while great I dont see myself returning anytime soon. They are both very good, but Providence is a cut higher.

              1. re: anothernotch

                If you have never done SAAM I say go.
                I also went for my b-day and it was quite an experience.
                Added the wine pairing and they were very generous with the pours.
                Apples and Oranges you'll never know until you go.
                Def. worth a visit.
                I love Providence as well but I say shake it up and let us know

              2. Did a la carte at Providence about a month ago, had MC at many places including Alinea and El Bulli, both of which l loved, but Providence was 'comfort food' It was a wonderful experience start to finish. It was less than $ 200/pp