Location: 5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. (323) 460-4170
Date: August 12, 2019
Cuisine: Cal French
Rating: Awesome food, awesome night
I usually make it to Providence about once a year, and so we return with the Foodie Club for a small, epic Chef’s Table night.
This is the view from the chef’s special tasting room — adjacent to the kitchen in it’s own little nook.
Our special menu tonight.
One of the few places in town that still has elegant table wares.
Ron brought: NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 167eme. JG 96. The new release of Krug Grande Cuvée “167eme Édition” is stellar. The wine is from the base year of 2011 and utterly transcends that vintage, but, of course, it includes nearly two hundred different wines in the blend, with the oldest reserves dating all the way back to the 1995 vintage. Fully forty-two percent of the cuvée this year is made up of reserve wines. The cépages for the 167eme Édition is forty-seven percent pinot noir, thirty-six percent chardonnay and seventeen percent pinot meunier. The wine shows its lovely preponderance of pinot noir on the nose, wafting from the glass in a beautifully complex blend of apple, white peach, a touch of patissière, very complex soil tones, caraway seed and a gently floral contribution in the upper register from the pinot meunier in the blend. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, complex and nicely broad-shouldered, with great depth at the core, refined mousse, bright, seamless acids and outstanding focus and grip on the very long, complex and beautifully balanced finish. This is simply outstanding and should age effortlessly for fifty to seventy-five years!
Yellow tomato soup shot. Bright like a gazpacho (but not so vinegary).
Rolled salmon with salmon roe on crisps — delicious!
Mussels with curry sauce. A sort of deconstructed Moules Frites dish.
Crispy seafood taco in shiso (relative). Scrumptious.
Cucumber wrapped oyster.
Wagyu “cigar.” Like a super taquito — crispy and amazing.
From my cellar: 1993 Robert Ampeau & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. 93 points. From a late Domaine release. Golden color. A lot of Wows on the table from the first smells. This bouquet had it all. Orange peel, flint, lemon curd, grass, flowers, very deep and complex. The palate was crisp as well with excellent freshness and length.
Kanpachi. Nasturtium, espelette, lime. Very bright flavors, soft textures, with a creaminess. Absolutely delicious.
Coleman farms celtuce, geoduck clam, box crab, osetra caviar — amazing! One of the best dishes of the night.
Erick brought: 2006 Domaine Leflaive Meursault 1er Cru Sous le Dos d’Âne. JG 91. The 2006 Meursault here is a bit cooler than the previous two wines, and shows no signs of alcohol poking through on the finish. The nose is very lovely, as it offers up notes of pear, apple, almond paste, flowers and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, fine and focused, with a lovely base of soil, crisp acids and an almost crystalline profile, with good length and grip on the finish. This is a very good bottle that is rather atypical in the context of this vintage chez Leflaive in its more classic profile, though the wine is still quite forward stylistically. This will make a great restaurant wine list option.
Prawns live in this tank.
Peel ‘n’ eat spot prawn, shiso, basil, nuoc cham. You just eat this with your hands, wrapped in the herbs. Gave it a slightly Vietnamese vibe. Great prawn, perfectly fresh and cooked.
Aori ika, haricots, hazelnut, ogo. Vaguely Japanese and very pleasant “salad.”
Ron brought: 2013 Paul Pernot et ses Fils Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. VM 93. Pale yellow. Lovely purity to the aromas of nectarine and flowers. Sweet and fine-grained, showing a compellingly silky texture to its stone fruit and nutty oak flavors. Finishes sedate and long, with lovely balance. Really seamless for the vintage.
Black cod, artichoke, mint. Nice buttery white fish. Very “new French.”
Salmon belly, porcini, zucchini.
With the sauce. This cut of salmon is particularly rich and tender, very nice seared like this.
From my cellar: 2001 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares. VM 94. The 2001 De Vogüé Bonnes Mares exhibited uncommon depth and richness in the luxuriousness of its vibrant fruit, with a personality that was delicate yet powerful. Still very much an infant, it was a privilege to catch this gorgeous wine in its youth.
Ron brought: 2003 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares. VM 91. Medium red-ruby. Blackberry, violet, mocha and bitter chocolate on the slightly roasted nose. Huge, sweet and expressive, with extravagantly rich flavors of currant, blueberry, chocolate and spices. Quite velvety and sensual for this wine, thanks to its unusually fat, broad texture. Finishes with suave but serious tannins.
Duck — we added this as a supplement.
Larry brought: 1999 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT. VM 95. The 1999 Masseto is a cool, inward wine graced with exquisite finesse, but it still needs a few years in bottle to show its potential. That said, it is pretty spectacular even today. This is a vintage that will appeal to readers who enjoy firm, structured wines. (Drink between 2013-2024)
A5 Wagyu, magic myrrna potato, nori. Meat hidden under leaves.
And another supplement, because we had so much big red wine left, we got a second (different) A5!
Cheese cart. Love me the cart and you so rarely see it now.
My prep of gooey strong cheeses.
Bread for the cheese.
And a second cheese course!
Mango, makrut, finger lime. Really interesting texture, partially frozen (beneath). Delicious.
Peach, jam mousse, lemon verbena. This was my favorite of the desserts, extremely fruity and refreshing.
Ban this dessert. Harry’s berries strawberries, pistachio.
With the strawberry sauce. The pistachio was formed into a kind of mousse and felt like, and even almost tasted like, foie gras. Superb.
Bon bons. Chocolates, meringues, and jellies.
Parting gift of a bit of Zucchini cake or something for the next morning.
This was a great night and tons of fun. The chef’s table is by far the best way to do Providence, and the total tab wasn’t even that bad as it was no corkage monday — even with our Chef’s Tasting Menu and a bunch of supplements. With Melisse gone, this is now the only remaining 90s/00s style elegant white table Cal French spot left in LA. Good thing it’s great!
Service was (as usual) superb too tonight — as were our bevy of wines. 7 for 4 people. Didn’t feel the fastest in the morning!