I've been holding out on Providence, saving him for a truly special night-out. The birthday celebration of my dearest uber-chow qualified, and last night, we descended on the space to bask in the quietness of Oscar eve and get our birthday food-groove on.
Place: Providence, Sunday, 3/5 - 7:00 PM
Myself + 1 guest (Love-him-forever best friend Todd)
Ratings in brief:
Ambiance - A
Good lawd this place is beauuuutiful - high lofty ceilings with fantastic muted lighting and unique, textured designs all the way up the taupe-tastic walls. Stunning.
Service - A
Our waiter not only rocked on all accounts, he also threw in several free tidbits when he realized what foodies we were. He was ultra-efficient without making us feel rushed - fantastic.
Food (Taste) - A-
The dishes here are so complex, some so unique and bursting with risk-taking goodness, I was damn amazed. And can I just say FRESH? Hot dawg.
Food (Presentation) - B+
Lovely plating, but nothing mind-blowig.
Wine/Drinks - A-
Yowsa was this a nice wine list - the sommelier wasn't overly personal, but he did help us pick up a marvelous white bordeaux.
Value - B+
This was not a cheap throwdown - but then again, we were celebratin'. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.
Overall Experience - A-
Pretty damn intoxicating, even before the wine kicked in.
I'm a birthday freak - when my near/dears have a Big Day, I'm all about the high-falutin' festivities. Since my boy Todd actually led me into the world of fine-dining, no expense was spared. Providence, and our obsession with seafood, was the order of the eve.
WHAT a magnificent space. The design is so elegant, so unique and soothing, I spent ten minutes ogling the walls and ceiling before I could even think about the food. And the BAR - this alabaster, marble looking golden dream - it might just be my favorite restaurant interior in LA so far.
But the food - it really is all that. On to the important stuff.
A rustic, crusty, delicious mini-loaf was served with butter and *Yay* sea salt. I am a salt-aholic, so this little touch made me giddy.
Killer list (best champagne selection I've seen in ages), but quite expensive, on the whole. We opted for a French white bordeaux that had just the right amount of body and crispness - great compliment to all the seafood dishes.
For the cheese course, we had an amazingly punchy red from Austria called Umatoumb - had a licorice twinge and an intense finish that was an absolutely perfect pairing.
Our waiter also hooked-us up with a dessert wine sample, but heck if I could retain any info by that point :)
We were served an absolutely awesome, strange little palette kick-start in an elegant egg shaped porcelain dish - it was a three-layered concoction starting with lemon jelly, a salty olive-y layer, and topped with creme fraiche and chives. Yes, it was weird - but as I let the flavors meld, they merged together and absolutely worked.
We started with a half dozen oysters - 3 larger, soft and luscious creatures and 3 mini but SO creamy and flavorful little guys. They were served with two sauces - one tangy, slightly spicy ponzu and a more citrus-y sister sauce. Super super good.
Maine Lobster Bloody Mary - this wasn't what I expected, but was still a home run -- large chunks of THE freshest lobster slathered in creme fraice with celery root and cherry tomato jewels; super fresh and crisp, with a really great flavor kick from the greens.
Foie Gras Ravioli - this was RIDICULOUS - borderline illegal yumminess. Large, pillowy homemade ravilois (the texture of the pasta could not have been more velvety-perfect) ballooning with uber-fresh foie gras and swimming in a buttery black truffle sauce. They were super generous with the truffles - this was an unbelievably delcious creation.
I had the wild troll-caught salmon, with artichokes, zuccini strands, and an oil-based black truffle extravaganza. Once again, the truffles were abundant, and so were my oooouuus and ahhhs. The salmon had an almost robust, meaty texture that melted on tongue contact - raw in the center with a crispy skin, it just doesn't get any better. GREAT sauce too.
Todd had the Monkfish - the best I've ever tasted, with a citrusy, quince-based sauce that was SO complex, so absolutely unusual, I'm at a loss for words. Michael is totally taking chances with his creations, and it's an impressive feat to pull off something so delicate, ingredient-laden, and absolutely successful. What a treat.
While small in selection, the cheese cart here was also fantastic. Our waiter walked us throw the available choices and helped us settle on Espossilles (sp) - a super creamy, super stinky French unpastuerized cow's milk cheese (absolutely divine), a goat's milk cheese from Loure Valley, France, and another French cheese I can't recall but devoured. He also threw in a slab of cow's milk cheese from Virgina that rocked our world too - very much like the creamy/stinky French goodie, but with a slightly milder, delicious finish. All this with a port/quince sauce, fresh honeycomb, and candied walnuts. I can die now.
The dessert menu is full of fascinating, original choices, but we selected what will go down as THE most unusual dessert evah evah. It featured a morroccan soda concoction that tasted spicy and gingery, heaped with a dollup of fresh, delicious whipped cream, and coupled with 2 homemade, sugar laced donut DREAMS. We weren't quite sure how to eat it, but ended up slammin' the donut gems in the soda, and it was amazing. A-maz-ing.
Total before tip for 1 bottle + 4 additional glasses of wine, sparking water, 2 appetizers, 1 pasta dish, 2 main course, 1 cheese course, and 1 dessert was $260. Wine was about $60 of the total.
I *highly* recommend Providence - all kinds of class, style, and delciousness.
Another successful birthday teardown.
5955 Melrose Ave.
LA, CA 90038
Ciao, 'Hounds -