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Restaurants & Bars 4

Providence last night (long)

DrHowie1 | Oct 12, 200502:45 PM

5 of us were in the private "chef's room" with a view through a glass wall into the spacious and busy kitchen. Started the evening in the bar (I had a perfect Manhattan). After we all arrived we were led to the chef's room where it was quiet and calm. The service was attentive and informative but not intrusive. The tasting and regular menus were well explained as were all the dishes.

An amuse bouche of a pumpkin soup with a small piece of tasmanian sea trout sashimi on the side was first, both were outstanding. We opted to not do the tasting menu (5 or 9 courses are available) but to order a la carte. I began with a perfectly seared small piece of fois gras served with candied quince...amazingly good. I did get to taste the "chowda" which many of the others stared with, it was delicious...rich but not unctuous with a nice background smokiness from the bacon. I did not get to taste the lobster "salad" appetizer but it looked great.

The table split two orders of the risotto which was tasty but I found a little too "loose". There were some small pices of sauteed seafood but I can't recall exactly what else was the base. We drank a 1990 Leroy Burgundy (I can not recall which designation) which was quite closed down at first but did open with time. It worked well with our dishes but was not as exciting as I thought it would be.

For a main course I had the striped bass...very crispy skin but perfectly cooked flesh with a very delicate taste. It was served with candied figs and very nicely crisped lardons. I did get to taste the lobster entree which was delicious. The scallop special entree sample taste I had was superb as well.

My desert was a chocolate "napoleon" with orange ice cream. The napoleon was multilayerd and crisp, sort of a cross between a wafer cookie but with amazing layers. The orange ice cream was excellent. Other diners tried the capuccino
tart, the chocolate chibouste which looked great, and a ice cream sampler (tarragon, chocolate and vanilla). I did not get to try them but the others said the tarragon was very interesting. Even the petit fours brought out at the end of the evening were very good.

As I mentioned, the service was fabulous and we had a pleasant brief visit from both the manager and from the chef, who were quite friendly.

Overall it was an outstanding dining experience. Delicious, visually interesting, terrific service and the setting was amazing (yes, I am sure I am influenced by how cool the chef's room was). I would say Providence should be considered one of the destination restaurants in Los Angeles; I look foward to returning.

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