Location: 5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. (323) 460-4170
Date: August 16, 2022
Cuisine: Cal French
Rating: Best meal I’ve had at Providence
I usually make it to Providence about once a year, and so we return with the Foodie Club for another Chef’s table dinner in the little back room.
This is the view from the chef’s special tasting room — adjacent to the kitchen in it’s own little nook.
The Chef’s table has its own little room by the kitchen.
1982 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. VM 97. Both 1982 Champagnes are utterly spellbinding. It is amazing to taste these wines at 30 years of age and see that their signatures are all very much intact. Of course, the magnum format is so ideal for Champagne. The 1982 Krug Vintage is warm, toasty and totally expressive, with gorgeous exotic orange peel and white truffle overtones. This is one of my very favorite Krug vintages. Although fully mature, the 1982 is going to continue to develop at a glacial pace. The 1982 Dom Pérignon is just a little more focused and vibrant in style. Here it is the wine’s salivating minerality that really sings. It, too, is quite youthful and vibrant for its age. What a flight.
1990 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. BH 95. This is a wine that I know extremely well from 750 ml and it’s one that is beginning to tire though I hasten to point out that it’s still enjoyable and just beginning to show signs of fatigue. However there are no such concerns with the same wine from magnum that remains magnificently fresh and while it’s clear that the aromas are mature, that’s not at all the same thing as describing the yeasty and baked apple suffused nose as tiring. There is equally good depth and vibrancy to the beautifully delineated flavors that are supported by a fine and firm mousse that allows the texture of a well-aged Dom to be easily appreciated. For my taste this has arrived at its peak though note well that it should easily be capable of effortlessly holding for years to come. (Drink starting 2015)
Showing off the Australian Winter Black Truffles.
House cured king salmon with horseradish cream, dill, and pickled red onion on a rye toast. This was an incredible bite. It had great textures between the soft but stretchy fish and the crispy cracker. And the flavor was much like a Wolfgang Puck “Jewish Pizza.”
Hiramasa with rhubarb and avocado. This had the appearence of a crystaline tart. The falvor was mild and fruity with really interesting textures.
Super fatty Wagyu Tartare with oyster aioli and lime puree all nestled in a minature tart. Very rich but balanced by the punchy notes of the aioli. The softness of the beef was equally contrasted with the crispy/flaky tart.
A warm lobster mousse with a disc of Austrailian Winter Black Truffle a sliver of chive, and a palette shapped cracker. Another great bite!
MACADAMIA, golden kaluga caviar, caramelized shallot, nori. Very rich and mellow.
SASHIMI, heirloom tomato, shiso. The tomato made me wince a bit (raw tomato hater) but the combo was delicious. Everyone has these strong Japanese influences these days.
SALT-ROASTED SANTA BARBARA SPOT PRAWNS, rosemary, lemon, extra-virgin olive oil. Superbly cooked (and salty) prawn with a bit of roe as seasoning.
2014 Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Ruchottes. BH 93. The wood treatment isn’t shy, indeed today it fights somewhat with the otherwise cool and very pretty floral, pear, apple and soft petrol nuances. There is fine density to the sleek, sophisticated and utterly delicious medium-bodied flavors that possess good punch while offering excellent length on the balanced finish where the only nit is an unexpected touch of warmth. It’s sufficiently slight however and I suspect few readers would find it off-putting and with age, it may actually become less noticeable. Ramonet rarely misses with this wine and they certainly didn’t in 2014 though I would point out that this is going to need time in bottle to develop further depth. (Drink starting 2024)
From my cellar: 1985 Nicolas Potel Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes. BH 91. A very fresh yet mature nose of citrus, white flower and lightly toasted nut aromas combines with round and vibrant middle weight flavors that possess a seductive and rich mouth feel, all wrapped in a sappy and mouth coating finish. This is really a lovely effort with complexity and ample finishing punch and is a wine that will continue to hold well if not improve. (Drink between 2007-2009)
Cheesy Omelette with Austrailian Winter Black Truffles. Nice fluffy texture to the eggs.
NORWEGIAN KING CRAB. dwelley farms sweet corn, fermented radish. This was a stunningly good dish. Very moist bit of giant king crab.
Red fife sourdough. Great chewy bread. Particularly good with the butter.
HOKKAIDO SEA SCALLOP, chanterelle, toro de oro pepper. Lovely scallop and I liked the texture on the mushrooms.
2008 Gaja Langhe Chardonnay Gaia & Rey. VM 91. One of the very few Italian Chardonnays that can be considered world class. The 2008 vintage, famous for very classic Barolos, has also delivered a taut, varietally accurate white that is more Chablis than Meursault in its definition, with a laser beam of mineral-inflected green banana and vanilla tones. It matched heavenly with the cotechino, by the way, and it didn’t overpower the delicate, heavenly soft carne cruda that followed my amuse-bouches.
GOLDEN EYE SNAPPER (Kinmedai) with GEODUCK in Beurre Blanc. Fabulous fish prep. The snapper was perfectly cooked and classic with the butter sauce and the geoduck had a good bit of awesome chew.
PORCINI RISOTTO, Sierra Porcini, Black Truffle. Extremely buttery in the best way.
From my cellar: 2003 Gros Frère et Sœur Grands-Echezeaux. BH 92. This too is very toasty but the spicy black fruit nose manages to transcend the wood and complements powerful, dense, borderline massive flavors of superb depth, all wrapped in dusty, firm and ripe tannins. This is a big wine and while it’s no model of elegance, one has to admire the muscle and sheer concentration. This will take its time coming around. (Drink starting 2011)
CALIFORNIA KING SALMON, black truffle, pommes allumettes, pickled ramp. Soft and delicate “rare” salmon.
LIBERTY FARMS DUCK BREAST, poached fig, fig compote, fig leaf oil. Classic and perfectly cooked. The fried confit thing on the right was of course the best.
Black Truffle Brie, rodolphe le meunier brie, black truffle, salty herb salad. The brie was very nice but I particularly liked the bright salad. Sadly the grand cheese cart is a covid casualty 🙁
Aged Comte Cheese with fresh shaved black truffles. Nice grainy texture to the cheese.
Crispy bread for the cheese.
MANGO, MINT, THAI BASIL, mango sorbet dusted with Espelette pepper, dried mango, and mango nectar. Bright and refreshing.
HOUSE-MADE HAWAIIAN CHOCOLATE, banana, barley, okinawan black sugar. Chocolate ganache inside a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate merignue, rum raisins, banana, a cacao tuile and barley gelato. Fortuantly I couldn’t detect the banana. The ice cream had nice texture. It’s probably from a pacojet.
Cacao husk tea. Bitter. There was a syrup which helped.
Peaches poached in rosé wine with lemon verbena and thyme. Like a fancy awesome version of canned peaches.
Mignardises. chocolate ganache bonbons, vanilla caramel tarts, chocolate panels with pistachio. My favorite was the caramel tart which was much like the awesome caramel tarts I found recently in Paris.
This was probably the best Providence meal I’ve ever had, maybe even better than the one last year in the main dining room (which did have better white burg). They had just recently reopened post-lockdown and had clearly spent the time well retooling the menu. Service was exceptional as well which was very nice, particularly in contrast with so many “middle end” places that are short staffed right now. We had a ton of food tonight too with a lot of variation and many memorable dishes. The Chef’s Table is the best as it’s cozy, quiet, and we can get up to our antics (including flash photography) without interruption.