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Restaurants & Bars 8

Providence Report(long)

blackbookali | Oct 4, 200509:25 PM

Went there on a Saturday night - this was my experience -

First off it is nice to go to a place in LA where people are dressed nicely. I wasn't wearing a tie but felt quite comfortable in a jacket and slacks as was my girlfriend in her dress. Service started off right with phone calls to confirm my reservation as well as updates on when a table opened up(I had tried to request an earlier seating), warm greetings at the door, and good attention throughout the meal. We decided on the five course with wine pairings for $100 - which is a bargain I had relayed to the chef. The amuse was a sweet clear broth, several "orange dots" and a piece of blue crab meat. This was sweet, "interesting", something I would not want to commit to as an entree, but a good start nonetheless. The first course was a kampachi sashimi, a clear tart sauce and sea urchin. It was a delicate serving, giving just enough flavor to entice the palate but definitely left you ready for what was next. This course was paired with a champagne(sorry dont remember the name) and served as an excellent companion. I've been told the champagne is a good compliment to shellfish but this was outstanding in terms of food and wine getting along together. The champagne tasted almost like the liquid version of the kampachi and sauce. The second course was a soft shelled crab that was fried, stacked up like a tower and had bits of corn, polenta and brushes of sauce all around the plate, and pools of a red pepper reduction(soo good). This was a satisfying follow up to the sashimi and it was paired with a most unusual white wine called a "roussant" - very earthy, a nice match for the fatty taste of the crab. The third course was a ling cod served with these beans that had this smoky taste to them almost like bbq beans but without the bbq sauce, green olives like the ones you get in an antipasta and baby japanese squid and this was paired with a pinot noir. The arrangement of this dish was really fun; the fish was situated on the upper right hand corner and the beans and in the center left area. Again there were brushes of sauce, pools of sauce; just enough to give you the flavor but the quantity prevented you from overwheming the delicateness of the fish and other flavors. The fourth course was Arctic char, seared, served with a fried sweetbread. This was my favorite, very rich, the anchor of the tasting menu and was complimented with a deep glass of cabarnet franc. The final course was a chocolate covered napolean with peach ice cream, some petit fours and homemade marshmallows. This kind of meal warranted a dessert and a glass of port and left me very sated. Some things I have meditated on in the post meal report was the cooking of the fish - must have been low temp to get the cod as moist was it was and the arctic char must have been seared on the skin side only b/c the middle was wonderfully raw and good. Multiple sauces were nice but overall each component was subtle and only when the sum of all parts on the plate come together did the dish really come alive. The pairings really made a difference and it didn't break the bank - I guess the wine list is pretty reasonable. Service was awesome throughout, including the announcements of the courses and the pauses the kitchen took for an occasional smoke break. I had dinner at Sushi Ike the night before and the kampachi course I had at Providence blew away everything I had there. We were there quite late and they threw out a couple fun tracks on the stereo including a vintage Wilco number - I was pretty stoked. It ended much the way it started; full of excitement. Providence lived up to the hype has entered the ranks of Patina '97, L'Orangerie '99, Campanile '00, Asanebo '04, Sona '04, Zuni '05 as best meals of alll time. GO CARDS!!!!!!!!!

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