my super awesome girlfriend took me to providence a couple weeks ago. unfortunately we were both kind of disappointed.
the amuse was a black truffle creme fraiche atop meyer lemon gelle. it was in a cute porcelain "egg" the top cut off at an oblique angle. the creme fraiche was a bit salty for our tastes and the lemon jelly quite sour. the two flavors in stark contrast. interesting but didnt quite work for me.
we ordered mainly appetizers and the kitchen split them when possible which was very nice...
started with the kampachi and uni cold appetizer. it was about 6 pieces of kampachi and a small dollop of uni which was more like a garnish. i think they assume for the larger audience, people are afraid of uni but are willing to taste just a bit. again the yuzu lime vinaigrette was over the top and almost candy sweet, overpowering the subtelty of the fish. i frankly didnt like it.
the main lobster bloody mary was excellent and we both agreed that it was delicious.
squid with pigs ear tasted like something i'd get at a decent chinese restaurant. not as a 20 dollar appetizer. squid was a bit over cooked and the pigs ear tasted straight up chinese but cooked longer than the chinese style. less crunch in the cartilage.
the chowda was tasty as was the foie gras, but really, how can you mess those up?
the uni sabayon was nothing spectacular either. the bright nuttiness of a good santa barbara uni turned grey in the sabayon and it lost its texture in the heat. the sabayon itself was smooth but a bit sour, which might explain how the flavor profile of the uni changed from what im used to. the truffles were finely chopped twigs, like a thin nori garnish.
i felt like this was his response to the jean georges "egg caviar". while mr. vongerichten's dish is a minimalist, rustic comfort food, this dish was more baroque with one too many flourishes.
honestly we could have stopped here and were pretty much full by this time... (server couldnt you have told us we ordered too much?)
we ordered one main which was the tai (japanese snapper) with a compote of roma tomatoes, and basil tempura topping it all. the fish was a bit overcooked, and the tempura batter was much heavier handed and wouldnt make it a second in a proper tempura bar.
i guess one problem i have when eating "fusiony" food is i am too familiar with the original and usually end up preferring it to the modern creole.
i far preferred the patina ocean tasting menu when it was in this space, and i also preferred the sona tasting menu to this (which honestly i wasnt crazy over either)
the service was good, and the sommelier gave us a nice tour of the cellar which was a nice touch. my complaints about clashing flavors might make me sound like a culinary prude but im really not!
honey, if youre reading this, thank you so much! i hope i dont sound ungreatful! you're the best!