Monday, September 1, 2008

Providence - 07/20/2008

5955 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 460-4170

My first visit to Providence was many years ago and I remember enjoying the food but not really being blown away. Since then I have tried two of Chef Cimarusti's dishes at the 5x5 and was far more impressed. With those dishes on my mind I thought it was time to pay Providence another visit.

Amuse - Marinated Ocean Trout and Saffron Gelée
The Saffron Gelée was definitely the stronger of the two amuses, the top was slightly sweet and creamy while the warm liquid at the bottom was infused with the heady flavor of saffron. Taking the whole glass as a single shot caused the two components to blend and the shifting flavors and sensations is a testament to the creativity of the chef.

Santa Barbara Spot Prawns - Roasted in Salt with Rosemary, served with Lemon and Virgin Olive Oil
Our waiter brought out the spot prawns came out in a big pot filled with salt and plated them table side. The prawns themselves were nicely cooked, with a firm texture and sweetness to the flesh. I did feel the preparation table side was a bit messy and some bites of the prawn were marred by excess salt left on the plate and shell.

Japanese Kanpachi - Ginger Créme Fraiche, Pickled Ginger, Sea Beans, Basil Seeds
The fish itself was faultless, firm with the clean oiliness indicative of fresh fish. My only issue was with the texture and heaviness of the créme fraiche which I found unpleasant when paired with the fish.

Foie Gras Ravioli - Summer Truffles, Aromatics, Parmesan
I had such high hopes for this course, foie gras and truffles should have been decadence on a plate. Sadly both the truffles and foie gras were extremely mild and the resulting dish was more tart and vegetal than I was expecting.

Lobster Risotto - Maine Lobster stirred with Carnaroli Rice, Carrots, Japanese Parsley, Lemon
Like many of the dishes, the main components of the dish were strong but one of the accoutrements was flawed. In this case it was the carrots which added an overly sweet flavor that dominated everything else on the plate.

Japanese Kobe Beef - Smoked Spring Onions, Pomme Fondant, Parmesan-Bacon Risotto
Ironically at a restaurant known for its seafood, my favorite course was the beef. The meat was very tender, with the fat nicely blended with the lean meat. The Parmesan bacon risotto was good enough to stand on its own, the rice wasn't quite as well prepared as the lobster risotto but the flavor was simple and delicious.

Chocolate Semifreddo
A solid semifreddo, the chocolate flavor was good, not quite as intense as the mousse at Anisette I had earlier in the day but still tasty.

Green Tea Mousse
Another solid dessert, the mousse was light and airy with a rich notes of green tea.

Dark Chocolate Lollipop - Pistachio, Cherry Ginger Filling
Always fun and tasty, the thin dark chocolate shell housed a liquid cherry ginger filling. Like last time, biting into the lollipop releases an intense burst of flavor. Always a pleasant surprise especially for first time diners.

Mignardises - Olive Oil Gelée, Sea Salt Caramel, Amaretto Chocolate
I had most of these last time I was here. Each of my visits there has been some form of house made caramel. The amaretto chocolate was my favorite again.

This trip to Providence was basically a sum of small errors; the food was good but I was not blown away. Despite my disappointment, I would still like to try the Chef's Tasting Menu or the new Iron Chef Tasting Menu. From the dishes Cimarusti prepared during the 5x5 dinners, I know he is truly deserving of the praise he receives so I keep hoping for the meal that allows me to give him the kudos he deserves.


H. C. said...

The 'other man' here ;) ~ my Providence trip had a few hiccups too, but it was overall a good experience; of course, next time I'm there I'll probably do the dessert tasting! Great to see you in person yesterday.

Tangbro1 said...

Hey H.C.

Good to meet you too. Actually when Kevin told me he was going to Providence I called up my other friends and we went without him :-P

I might have to do the dessert tasting next time I am at Providence

Aaron said...

Man it seems like everyone in LA has been to Providence. Therefore I have made a reservation next week. Thanks for the review heads up Ryan.

Tangbro1 said...

Pretty much. Looking forward to hearing about your experience.