Archive for the 'Providence – West Hollywood' Category

Providence

I have done many write-ups about Providence. This meal just reinforces my position that this is the finest dining experience in Los Angeles as well as being one of the best restaurants in the country. Chef Michael Cimarusti was not there for our meal but his team headed by Tristan Aitchison, chef de cuisine and Amy Wolf, sous chef performed to perfection. Each dish was exquisite in presentation, the flavor combinations were superb and the execution was extraordinary. A friend of ours joined us for dinner and his culinary knowledge is extensive  — his comment to the Chef  “Yours was one of the top ten restaurant meals I’ve had and the experience was perfection in every way.”

We BYO our wines and I will just let you see our wine journey through pictures.

Provideence - champagne

Providence - Silex

Providence - White Rhone

Providence - Red Burgundy

Providence - sauterne

Now for the perfect food – again I am going to let the photos tell most of the story of this extraordinary dining experience.

Providence - first amuse

“dark and stormy” – Dark rum gelee topped with ginger beer foam with lime

Providence - tree for scallop better

This was the presentation tree for the next course

Providence - scallop up close

“Scallop Taco” – scallop tartare, sushi rice in a nasturtium leaf wrapper

Providence - clam

Little neck clam, bell pepper, chorizo set in chorizo consomme and clam juice

Providence - grilled Oyster

Grilled Kumamoto oyster, American caviar, smoked Champagne beurre blanc served warm on a heated brazier

Providence - salmon gougeres

At the back of the photo – cured salmon gougeres, in the middle smoked creme fraiche with salmon caviar and herbs and in the front crispy salmon skin – this was an unbelievable course – the one bite gougere was perfect and breaking up the skin and dipping it in the creme fraiche just amazing

Providence - presentation of snapper

Presentation of the next course

Providence - snapper

The dish opened revealed Japanese Tai snapper sashimi, diced rhubarb, burdock, fresh shiso

Providence - scallop sashimi

Live scallop sashimi from New Bedford,Mass layered with black truffle and smoked toasted sesame – absolutely incredible

Providence - foie terrine

Liver terrine, toasted brioche, nori, sorrel, port wine reduction

Providence - bread service

Bread service – bacon brioche, nori focaccia, regular bread rolls served with Rodolphe le meunier butter

Providence - sea urchin

Sea Urchin served on nori focaccia, black truffle butter, lardo de belota – I was in uni heaven!

Providence - spot prawns

Santa Barbara Spot Prawn served with Rodolphe le meunier drawn butter, prawn roe liver

Providence - grilled king crab

Grilled Alaskan king crab, Belgian white asparagus, Presidente caviar, Jurancon wine sauce

Provience - turbot

Wild French turbot, tomato concasse, spring herbs and tendrils, spot prawn nage

Providence - duck

Liberty Farms duck breast, red beets, spiced hazelnuts, mustard frill

Providence - beef

Wagyu Beef, Californian Orchard Morels, Cippolini onions, miners lettuce, parmesan brûlée, bearnaise

Providence - cheese

Cheese selection

Providence - dessert

creme fraiche ice cream, sable breton, almond financier, chestnut jam, vanilla mousse

What a meal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Providence – West Hollywood

I have done many write-ups about Providence. Our last meal just reinforces my position that this is one of the finest dining experiences not just in Los Angeles, but anywhere in the country. I am a huge admirer of Chef Michael Cimarusti; he rightfully deserves all the accolades he has received. I thought it fitting that I give a brief summary of his biography to highlight his extraordinary culinary background.

HIS BIO FROM:

http://www.southernrocklobster.com/about/recipes/Cimarusti.aspx

“Michael Cimarusti’s passion and curiosity for food was ignited at an early age by his grandmother. In the great Italian culinary tradition, his grandmother alongside his great-grandmother and aunts, made sure that every Sunday get-together was a veritable gastronomic event; today Cimarusti’s traces his reverence for ingredients and proper technique back to those Sunday family meals.”

“Cimarusti knew early on that he wanted to be a chef. 

After a couple of apprenticeships, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduation he landed his first job in New York City working under Larry Forgione at An American Place. Wanting to hone his classical French cooking skills, Cimarusti began working at le Cirque, where he worked his way up to the saucier position. To this day Cimarusti names le Cirque chefs Sottah Khunn and Sylvain Portay as his greatest influences, and their reverence for quality ingredients and refined technique can be seen in his menu at Providence.”

“Cimarusti’s stint at Le Cirque lured him and his wife pastry chef Christina Echiverri to Paris and an apprenticeship with Alain Passard at the Michelin three starred L’Arpège La Maree. On returning to New York his reputation earned him an invitation from the Maccioni Family to serve as opening chef at their new venture, Osteria del Circo.”

“Later looking for new culinary experience, Michael headed for Los Angeles taking up the position of Chef de Cuisine at Wolfgang Puck’s original restaurant Spargo. Cimarusti was then head hunted by the Water Grill to help refine the restaurant to fine dining, and whilst there was named in 2004 as Los Angeles Rising Star by StarChefs.com.”

“Cimarusti’s passion for produce, knowledge of wild produce, especially seafood, and his extraordinary culinary experience has meant his first restaurant Providence was nominated for a James Beard award as ‘best new restaurant’ in the United States in it’s first year of operation 2005-2006. In 2006 Providence was also named in American Gourmet as one of the “Top 50 restaurants in the United States”.

”

“Cimarusti’s devotion to produce and technique is evidenced in his recipe writing and his outspoken condemnation of farmed and other inferior produce has gathered him legendary respect. In a global world Cimarusti is an icon for young chefs desperately in need of mentors who run their kitchens with the same morals that they publicly espouse. Interestingly all completely driven chefs, wherever they might be located in the world share similar beliefs. Their dedication to showcasing the best seasonal produce, sustainability and excellence.”

OUR SPECTACULAR MEAL with exceptional service from GM/Owner Donato Poto, sommelier Drew Langley and our server Stephen.

BYO Champagne

Japanese Izaki with pickled plum and apricot – a wondrous bite from the sea

Scallop wrapped in a nasturtium leaf – the scallop had been chopped up with some pickled nasturtium. Crispy rice cracker was also in the wrap.  The texture and taste of the rice cracker with the scallop was a perfect combination. The presentation was spectacular.

Uni with lard, black truffle, nori focaccia bread – a one bite wonder

on a skewer – grilled octopus, pieces of lard bellota, lemon, espelette – I was in fish heaven

BYO White Wine

“Chips and Dip” – the chips were crispy salmon skin and the dip cured sea trout mousse, chives and smoked salt – absolutely spectacular and addictive

“Chips and Dip” up close – just look at that crunchy beautiful salmon skin

Drew wanted us to taste this and was kind enough to give us a glass

Fluke, Giant Clam, crispy rice, pickled mung bean, yuzu, koshi pepper – what Michael does so beautifully is his ability to marry ingredients to perfection

Kelp cured char, oscetra cavair, salmon eggs, crouton, cooked chopped egg white and egg yolk, smoked buckwheat panna cotta – Michael was doing a take on the traditional accompaniments to caviar – what a successful and satisfying dish

Alaskan King Crab grilling on the Binchu grill (“Bincho cooking is believed to have originated in the 8th century and, while used throughout Asia, is often identified with Japan. The making of Bincho charcoal is time consuming involving multiple refining steps of burning the wood over a kiln until it reaches temperatures of 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit and several days of curing. The end result is charcoal that burns at an extremely high temperature and is virtually smokeless in comparison to other charcoal.”) The crab was served with sun choke puree, deep fried sunchoke strips, smoked sea salt, Australian black truffle

The next series of photos will tell the “story” of the crab dish

Presenting the Crab

The Crab being grilled on the Binchu

Sunchoke puree being poured in the dish

The crab placed on top of the puree

Deep fried sunchoke strips

Crispy Sunchoke atop the crab

Black Truffle being shaved on top of the crab

The sensational finished dish

BYO Chablis

“Peel and Eat Spot Prawn” – on the left the grilled tail, middle the crispy fried head and on the right spot prawn roe on lemon, smoked butter – each dish was perfect

Japanese Ayu (also called sweetfish due to the sweetness of its flesh), morel and watercress veloute, woodear and black trumpet mushroom streusel – I can’t wax poetic enough about how well Michael composes a dish

Striped Bass Cheek being presented

Striped Bass Cheeks, Fava Beans, Tokyo Negi Onion, yuzu kosho sauce, fried bass skin. “Yuzu kosho is a hot, spicy and aromatic Japanese condiment made from hot chiles and ultra-citrusy yuzu zest.” – Again what Michael does best is the way he “edits” his dishes – each ingredient is perfect sand adds to the whole

Copper River salmon belly (barely roasted), cherries, daikon radish, pickled ramps – lovely to look at and even better to eat

Turbot being presented

Turbot layered with black truffles, grilled tomatoes, zucchini, porcini mushroom, radish, potato with a sauce of dark roasted chicken broth with basil

We were full yet so completely satisfied with this ode to the sea that we decided to skip cheese and dessert. This was an A+++ meal.

Donato graciously gave us a box of chocolates to enjoy at home.

A huge thank you to Michael, Donato, Drew and Stephen.

Providence

Unfortunately I had to miss this meal. It was a special dinner at the Chef’s Table with a menu specially devised for the occasion by Chef Michael Cimarusti. As usual, Roving Reporter didn’t take notes so the photos will have to tell the story. All wines were BYO.

Krug

Nantucket Bay Scallops, Nasturtium, Yuzu – the scallops were wrapped in the nasturtium leaf

Kanpachi Belly Tartare, Wood Sorrel, Caviar

The Kanpachi up close

Riesling

Sunchoke Soup/Gougere

Rillettes of Wild Atlantic Salmon Belly topped with salmon eggs served on its skin – the dish as presented

The Salmon Skin as presented

The salmon dish ready to eat

Corton-Charlemagne

Serrano Ham/Uni toast

Grilled Wild Spanish Octopus, Bloomsdale Spinach, Artichoke, Tomato Confit, Basil

Cauliflower Risotto, Uni, Abalone

Maine Lobster basted in smoked butter

Chambolle-Musigny

Cheeks of Wild Virginia Striped Bass, Black Knight Carrots, Nasturtium (no photo of the plated dish)

Wild Head Shot Carolina Black Grouper, Oven Roasted Tahitian Squash, Jurancon

Wild French Turbot, Grilled Lompoc Chanterelles, Black Truffle Butter

Madeira – yes 1875

Cheese Cart

Dessert #1

Dessert #2

Roving Reporter wrote a thank you note to Donato and RR wrote the following:

Wow!! Double Wow!!   Perfect…could not have been better.

We really love that Chef’s Table and then add to it the perfect service from Matthew and Drew and the fabulous menu!!!

We look forward to seeing you often in 2012.

I can’t wait to go back to Providence and I promise full descriptions next time!

 

Providence

It has been way too long since we have been to Providence. This last visit reminded me how much I love Providence and reinforced my feeling that this is a true Michelin 2 star restaurant. Chef Michael Cimarusti is a true artist – his plating and presentations are exquisite. Not only are the plates lovely to look at but they are equally delicious as well as imaginative and executed with precision. The entire Front of the House team is equally first rate from GM Donato Poto, Sommelier Drew Langley and our server Stephen.

BYO Champagne

Bread Service is not an afterthought – terrific bacon brioche and Nori Focaccia

A dish is first presented with Oyster Plant leaves

Then the oysters are presented. On the left is a cucumber reduction with horseradish and yuzu. You are instructed to dip the oyster plant leaf in the cucumber reduction and then sip the rest of the reduction. On the right is a Kumamoto oyster with lime, jalapeno and cilantro – a perfect slurping oyster with just the right amount of “kick.”

On the right  Grilled Monterey Bay Abalone and on the left Grilled Japanese Sword Squid with Chorizo – again inventive plating plus delicious.

This was an ingenious course – absolutely A+. You are presented with what amounts to a hallowed out Oyster Cracker. (John had visions of me making these crackers untill Stephen said they were very labor intensive). Starting from the left, the first cracker contained creamy mozzarella with tiny dice of tomato on top, then smoked char confit topped with a salmon egg and finally scrambled egg topped with caviar. I was in heaven!

Chef Michael labeled this “Caprese Bubble and Tomato Soup.” I am assuming that the “bubble” was made much like the Mojito Raviolo in that it is made with two chemical agents sodium alginate and calcium chloride. Rob of the Hungry in Hogtown blog writes, “sodium alginate, which is derived from seaweed, is a common emulsifier and thickener in the food industry…. When sodium alginate meets calcium chloride, the sodium ions in the alginate are replaced by calcium ions, thus creating a polymer skin that holds everything inside.” The “bubble” combined tomato, mozzarella and basil. The tomato soup was a yellow tomato consomme topped with fennel foam.

BYO White Wine

Big Eye fatty tuna, uni, salmon eggs (ikura) with dashi – 4 ingredients that were a perfect marriage of taste and texture.

Top Shell (sea snail), Matsutake Mushrooms, Goeduck (Giant Clam), Scallions – I adore Japanese food and this was a definite nod to Japanese cuisine. My one thought was who needs a sushi bar?

Uni Canape – on toasted brioche that had been spread with truffle butter was Santa Barbara Uni topped with small discs of preserved summer truffle

We decided to cut the brioche into 3 pieces, creating 3 canapes. I adore uni and this was a definite winner.

“Peel and Eat” – Santa Barbara Spot Prawns cooked over Binchotan Charcoal.

“Binchotan (備長炭) or white charcoal (白炭) is a traditional charcoal of Japan. It dates to the Edo period, when during the Genroku era, a craftsman named Bitchū-ya Chōzaemon (備中屋 長左衛門) began to produce it in Tanabe, Wakayama. The raw material is oak, specifically ubame oak (Quercus phillyraeoides), now the official tree of Wakayama Prefecture. Wakayama continues to be a major producer of high-quality charcoal, with the town of Minabe, Wakayama producing more Binchotan than any other town in Japan.”

“The fineness and high quality of Binchotan are attributed to steaming at high temperatures. Although it is often thought that Binchotan burns hot, it actually burns at a lower temperature than ordinary charcoal but for a longer period of time. Because it does not release smoke or other unpleasant flavors, it is a favorite of unagi and yakitori cooks.”

http://binchotan.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

On the left is Spot Prawn Butter for dipping the prawns (also delicious for bread dipping) and on the right Maldon Salt

Notice the copious amount of roe in the prawn – my favorite part

BYO Red Wine

Just Grilled Wild Japanese King Mackerel, Rosa Bianca Eggplant Puree, Roasted Scarlet Grapes and Braised Fennel – just perfect

Wild John Dory wrapped with Cured Pork Belly, Summer Black Truffle encased in feuille de brik pastry, fresh celery on a mussel and Serrano Ham foam – At this point in the meal, you would think we would be suffering from palate fatigue but Michael’s cuisine is so vibrant that the opposite holds true – you just want more!

Wild Japanese Alfonsino, Sweet Potato Puree, Braised Sweet Potato Cake, Butter/Nori Sauce, Dehydrated Nori Seaweed, Green Onion – I sound like a broken record but this was a spectacular combination of flavors.

This was our last course before cheese. You will notice that there was no meat in our tasting menu as well as no dessert course. Chef Michael devised our menu and he knows our penchant for small courses, generally just fish and no dessert. This menu was created just for us and as such we owe a huge thank you to the chef.

Cheese – I didn’t write down the names.

Enough to say this was a superior meal and we won’t wait so long to return to Providence.

Providence

Providence Saturday night at the Chef’s table with 4 friends was wonderful. Chef Mike is just getting better and better. I have a major problem with a lot of extraneous ingredients on the plate and what distinguishes Providence’s cuisine is the “editing.”

Amuse

prov-amuse

From left to right – Mojito Raviolo, Gin and Tonic with Lime and Greyhound Vodka Raviolo – the liquid raviolo is made with two chemical agents sodium alginate and calcium chloride. Rob of the Hungry in Hogtown blog writes, “sodium alginate, which is derived from seaweed, is a common emulsifier and thickener in the food industry…. When sodium alginate meets calcium chloride, the sodium ions in the alginate are replaced by calcium ions, thus creating a polymer skin that holds everything inside.” 

 

First course 

prov-1

Shima Aji, Shiso, Wasabi oil, lime, microgreens – absolutely delicious - 

 

Second Course

prov-2

Uni, Cauliflower Mousse, White Truffle, Crispy Buckwheat, Chive – I have said it a million times that I am an absolute sucker for good uni preparations.  This was super with very fresh uni, great texture contrast – smooth mousse and crunchy buckwheat plus truffles – what more could one ask for.

 

Third Course

prov-3

Hokkaido Scallop, Hachiya Persimmon Puree, Pink Grapefruit, Watermelon Radish, Compressed Cucumber, Wasabi, American Caviar – just a superb combination of flavors. The scallop sat on top of the grapefruit slice adding a citrus note, the persimmon puree was a definite dominant flavor (perfect for me as I love Hachiya persimmon), salty component from the caviar and the scallop was just as fresh as fresh could be.

 

Fourth Course

prov-4

 From left to right

Squid cooked sous vide with mizuna and slow roasted tomato, squid tendril, Monterey Bay Abalone cooked sous vide, Artichoke, Balsamic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 3 perfect pieces of fish with no extraneous ingredients.


Fifth Course

prov-5

Crispy Sweetbreads, Parsnip Puree, Shimeji Mushrooms, Almond, Truffle Fondue, Maine Lobster, Frisee, Quail Egg – many times meat and fish dishes can be a disaster, but what made this dish work were the unifying accompaniments – the truffle fondue, the quail egg and some of the best shimeji mushrooms I have tasted. I was tempted to ask for an extra side dish of mushrooms!

 

Sixth Course

King Crab Legs wrapped in Kelp,  roasted in salt, Yuzu Kosmo Butter – This took Donato quite some time to prep tableside

prov-crab-1

prov-crab-2

 prov-crab-3

prov-crab-4

Donato is adorable.

prov-crab-5

prov-crab-6

prov-crab-7

prov-crab-8-plated

Crab legs plated with the off the charts Yuzu Kosmo Butter


Seventh Course

prov-fish

Japanese Rouget, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Salsify, Rosemary, Sauce Vin Rouge – Perfectly cooked fish with absolutely glorious crunchy skin and a sauce that would make Escoffier proud.

 

Eighth Course

prov-kobe

A-5 Kobe Beef, Musque de Provence Pumpkin, Bone Marrow, Pea tendrils  - I was getting a bit full and saved a tiny piece of Kobe to eat the next day. My neighbor is raising chickens so with freshly laid eggs and a tiny slice of real Kobe, the leftovers were marvelous. I wouldn’t have minded an extra bit of bone marrow.


prov-certificate

Certificate of authenticity

 

Ninth Course

prov-cheese-1

prov-cheese-2

Cheese – my favorite were the epoisse spoons

 

Palate Cleanser

prov-celery

 Celery Sorbet – this was the only loser of the night – awful

 

Ninth Course

prov-dessert

Walnut Ricotta Torte with Crème Fraiche Ice Cream

 

BYO Wine Selections

 

1997  Soter Beacon Hill Blanc de Blanc, Oregon Sparkling Wine

1998  Corton Charlemagne, Domaine Marius Delarche

1999  Corton Charlemagne, Domaine Marius Delarche 

1983  Hermitage, M. Chapoutier

1998  Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine Combier

2003  Inniskillin Ice Wine, Niagara Peninsula,Canada, Vidal

 

What a wonderful dinner with perfect company, great service and incredible food.

 

 


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