It was finally time to enjoy a nice meal in my hometown, Los Angeles. A great excuse to splurge on a fantastic meal, and take Limor out for a night on the town, Providence was a great choice.
Providence came very highly recommended by many chef friends as well as some well known professional 'eaters'.
We started our night by taking some photos. Our back-waiter was very joyful and enjoyed having fun with us. So much so that he actually became our front-waiter for the night. I think the original server didn't feel up to having fun that night (he looked way to serious in the funny costumes they wear!).
We ordered the five course tasting menu which I was warned takes about three hours to enjoy (it did). I opted for the wine pairing.
From the kitchen we first received a great plate of fresh butter and salt to go along with a great piece of bread (unfortunately, it was the only bread they gave us all night, except for some brioche as part of a dish).
Next out as teases was a "Gin & Tonic" in gelatinous cubes and a "Mojito" in spherical form.
A "Saffron & Fennel Shot" followed. This was particularly interesting. Don't get me wrong, I've waited a long time to finally put a spherical morsel into my mouth and it was great, very cool textures and it worked well, but this fennel shot was cool/weird.
A creamy shot of fennel sat above a sweet saffron syrup. The bang was a fennel or anise seed with a crunch - it was tasty and very INTENSE.
Our tasting menu now started to show itself. Our first course, the Big Eye Tuna Tartare (Long Island, NY) was served within a round mold of Heart of Palm. There was Red Radish on the two sides - pickled and very tasty (if I remember correctly). A Wasabi Creme Fraiche was also dolloped opposite the Radish.
This was a great way to start - yummy wasabi, fresh and real, mixed with tuna very well. The tuna was held nicely by the heart of palm and the whole dish was neat. This dish was accompanied by a glass of white - Cserszegi Fuszeres, Craftsman 2006.
Nancy's Day Boat Scallop (Maine) was the next course & my favorite of the evening. The Puree of Tahitian squash was sublime and the sweetness of that, with the woodsy notes of the Black Trumpet Mushrooms against the sweetness of the scallop was perfection. A glass of Gewurztraminer from Navarro was served with this course (2006). I savored this course for as long os the little scallop could give. Every drop of the aged Balsamic Vinegar was wiped clean by the sweet sweet flesh of the scallop. AMAZING!
To open the next course, a glass of Jurancon Sec was poured. Produced by Charles Hours, this was a perfect wine to match the Black Grouper (North Carolina). Although this was the least favorite of the night, the dish was presented nicely and the wine was a great compliment. The accompaniments to the grouper was a Say Bean Puree, Calamari, Pea Tendrils and Orange. In reality, it was all that with the addition of black olive. The combination of black olive with the strong orange oil of the dish was like chewing on aluminum - yuck. That, combined with the fish and the say and it was all a mess IMHO.
The main course was a nice change of pace. It set the mood and it was well played. The Tenderloin of Veal was served with Crushed Weiser Farms German Butterball Potatoes, Chanterelles, Soy & Spinach. The potato looked awfully similar to the one Shola made just a few days prior to my meal. The dish was a bit heavy on salt but I enjoyed it. The wine was a Minervois from Chateau Coupe Roses - made with the Gamay grape.
In addition to the five-course tasting menu, I had to call in a tour of the cheese cart as I became extremely jealous of our single dining neighbor who got to enjoy it all by himself. I had to have cheese (+ Limor loves cheese).
The main problem with the carts is that I can never remember the names. I like enjoying the moment and I have trouble reaching for a pen to jot down the name. I am sure that like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at it..wine, beer, food, cheese, sex........
We enjoyed a nice assortment of cheeses; mostly the cheeses were of Austrian, German and Swiss origin. There were some French as well.
The accompaniments to the cheese plate was some walnuts, an apple jam, a dried fig (cut in half), and a black olive jam. All were tasty and the cheese was served with a nut bread that was good.
Once the dessert came out, I was really laughing out-loud. Prior to the dessert, I saw the potatoes from a blog. Next up was a Warm Comice Pear - served in the shape of a knot (care of Aki & Alex (and I guess Wylie)). This dessert was Limor's least favorite of the night's lineup. The dish was served with a Spiced Chocolate-Raisin Puree and a Corn Tortilla Ice Cream. I thought the ice cream was excellent. I loved the flavor and the texture of the crushed tortilla underneath added a great touch. The spice in the raisin mixture was way HOTT for a dessert and the alcohol from the 20 Year Tawny Port from Taylor Fladgate rushed up into my eyes.
The five course ran for $80 and $110 with the wines.
The finale, a white sphere with a great liquid center finished the night off for us - that was a very, very good way to end.
Overall, I would return. I enjoyed the restaurant but I have much more of LA to taste before rushing back.