Restaurant: Providence [1, 2, 3]
Location: 5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. (323) 460-4170
Date: August 7, 2017
Cuisine: Cal French
Rating: Awesome food
It’s been almost 3 years since I last went to one of LA’s few remaining “formal” restaurants and so the Foodie Club ended up back at Providence.
We chose the middle of their 3 fixed menus plus a couple of supplements. The supplements are pricey enough that it probably would have been cheaper to just go for the big tasting menu.
Providence mysteriously persists in a somewhat annoying corkage policy. They do have “no corkage monday”, which is nice, but it isn’t really no corkage, it’s “no corkage on 2 bottles but don’t bring any more.” We managed to bring a few more, but still they are sticklers with the limit. I don’t mind the corkage but hate the limits. Anyway, this wine was off their list:
NV Drappier Champagne Rosé Brut Nature Dosage Zero. BH 90. The color is paler than that of the regular brut rosé. A pretty and slightly more elegant nose features a similar aromatic profile but with more evident yeast character. There is fine intensity to the delicious and vibrant flavors that are supported by a firm and definitely finer mousse, all wrapped in a bone dry and youthfully austere finish where a hint of bitter cherry pit appears. This won’t be for everyone as the dryness is pronounced; I happen to like it but it would be fair to say that this is not a charmer. With that said, a few years of bottle age should serve to round off the austerity and add a bit of depth as well.
Will brought: 1990 Louis Latour Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. Our bottle was very mature and subtle, but had a pleasant nutty character.
Truffle foie bite. Best amuse, and an amazing (and rich) bite.
Tai snapper, daikon, ginger coriander. Very nice and bright.
Super normandy butter and salt.
I was trying to avoid the bread, but failed miserably.
Seb brought: 2005 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Chambolle-Musigny. VM 90. Good medium red. Dark raspberry, coffee and spicy oak on the nose; this wine’s flamboyant ripeness almost came as a shock following the more reticent 2006s. Big, round, plush and ripe, with spicy dark raspberry and chocolate flavors and considerable density for village wine. Quite smooth and harmonious at the moment: Roumier volunteered that this is not as closed yet as he expected it would be.
agavin: very nice, albeit young.
Supplement of uni egg. Good stuff, but tiny (for $22).
Abalone, grilled avocado, tortilla, dill. Tasted like guacamole with some extra chew. A waste of the abalone and very rich.
From my cellar: 1993 Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares. BH 92. Earthy, deep and wonderfully fresh fruit leads to dense, solidly tannnic, beautifully delineated and focused, rich flavors of exceptional purity and length. While the finish is firm, it is by no means hard and there is excellent buffering sève all underpinned by vibrant acidity. There is plenty of wine here but this is a wine for the patient and it should live for years to come.
Santa barbara spot prawn, summer squash, tomato dashi, opal basil. Very light and tomatoey dish. There was a very thin tomato broth poured in here later.
Vermilion rockfish, cranberry beans, buttermilk, chanterelle. Light and buttery.
Dusty brought: 2010 Promontory Red Wine. VM 95+. The 2010 Promontory is rich, powerful and intense, with a core of inner sweetness that is compelling. Today the 2010 is quite exotic in its aromatics, but is less available and forthcoming on the palate. I would prefer to cellar it for a few more years.
agavin: not a bad giant cab, but not really the right kind of wine for Providence which is more white and soft reds.
Supplement of black truffle risotto.
Black truffles from Australia.
And properly topped. A nice risotto, but could have been more mind blowing for the price.
One of the 3 entree choices:
white sea bass. Brentwood corn, pancetta, garden greens.
Another light wine:
Larry brought: 2000 Harlan Estate. JK 96+. The 2000 Harlan Estate is in a beautiful place today. Soft, open-knit and nicely mellowed by age, the 2000 is absolutely gorgeous, with soft contours to match is engaging personality. Mocha, black cherries, leather and spice are all quite forward in this succulent Harlan Estate. The 2000 might not be a profound Harlan Estate, but it is a striking wine that is peaking today and that should continue to drink well for at least another few years.
Liberty farms duck, pluot, shiso, ume.
A5 Wagyu. Maris piper potato, black truffle bordelaise. Rich and tasty.
2015 Nabor. Dusty made this wine and it was bottled roughly a week earlier!
Intermezzo of watermelon, green tomato, tomatillo, basil. A tremendous palette cleanser. Granite textures, really excellent.
The black forests of Nice. Sour cherry, cherry ice cream. Okay, but a little discombobulated. I think a straight black forest cake would have been better.
Petite Fours of pate de fruits, chocolates, and macarons.
This was a great night and lots of fun. I was so full from the butter factor and the supplements that I couldn’t handle the cheese course. Sigh.
The food was very good, but the format is long and heavy, and they do use A LOT of butter. After growing used to the more rustic and less buttery more casual places that dominate LA these days Providence does feel a bit old school. I still like the tasting format, particularly in Europe at playful top places like Azurmendi.