Providence, Restaurant, Los Angeles, USA
Simply put: this is the best restaurant I’ve encountered so far in Los Angeles. How many years have I been coming to Los Angeles and eating bad or what I’d call just decent food? Even when friends have invited me out somewhere – and of course they always mean very well – they’ve brought me to loud either show-offy event places or simply to uninspiring restaurants.
I knew that there must be more, and in doing some research prior to my recent trips to Los Angeles, I began to find really interesting, unique and good restaurants. One of the aforementioned friends, who has lived in LA for more than twenty years, confirmed that she only finds out about the best places from visitors to the city. Mostly because they do more research about interesting restaurants than inhabitants do. Since LA is really full of restaurants and inns, it is either easy just to go – no it’s more accurate to say to drive – around the corner to the next reasonable one – or to follow the trends. Hip in this city does not necessarily mean quality food, perhaps not yet. Whenever I go somewhere that seems promising, I have the impression of being not surrounded only by film or entertainment people. One of these restaurants is the “Ink” – which I wrote about in an earlier review: https://avdwineandfood.net/2015/11/03/ink-restraurant-los-angeles/
Cuisine in Los Angeles embraces and reflects so many different cultures – cultures that are at home in LA generally. In this enormous multicultural wellspring of recipes, concepts and ways of cooking, I sometimes wonder what might be considered real American cuisine – aside from steak and burgers? Either any real American cooking has been forgotten or it is simply so bad that really nobody wants to encourage it. That said, I would call the idea of “fusion” something American – perhaps even Californian. Fusion of cooking cultures – Japanese with French, Mexican with Russian, French with American. The simple justification for this is of course the wide availability of ingredients, spices, and embellishments. Fresh fish and sea food, greens, meat and plenty of different herbs and spices. Mexican inspirations as much as Asian – plus the vast experience of a chef who has trained in the Old World – of French cooking.
Michael Cimarusti – the chef of Providence – goes to extremes, in the most positive sense of this phrase. Fusion cuisine at its best! Very fascinating combinations – more fish, less meat. Visually beautiful, taste-wise wonderful.
The restaurant offers three different menus. I chose the “Signature & Seasonal Menu” comprised of seven dishes plus “greetings from the Chef” – which were also, by the way, very, very nice. Wagyu beef rolls, some kind of ravioli and so on.
Design and compostion of food is fancy and imaginative.
My highlights perhaps have been:
Santa Barbare Spot Prawn: coquillage, ginger, shiso
Vermillion Rock Cod: cranberry beans, radish, monterey abalone
Harry’s Berries Strawberry: basil, lime, opalys
Aside from excellent food, this restaurant has an impressive wine menu. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the name of Providence’s sommelier – it would be interesting to know who stands behind this selection. The selection of German Riesling is in itself striking. The bar keeper told me that he creates Riesling cocktails because, for him, this type of wine is the best in the world. I was very skeptical upon receiving a small – but well-proportioned – glass. And do you know what: it didn’t contain a German but actually a Slovenian Riesling (which is really very, very rare) and it tasted not only interesting but really very nice, refreshing – still exhibiting all the flavors of a Riesling! Great.
Since I had a chance to go through the wine list while waiting to be seated, I opted for the “wine pairing” choice. I was not disappointed in the least: except for maybe one wine – which I thought didn’t really match the dish – other than that they were very well chosen! Also, they do have wines that don’t appear on the wine list – for example, we got a 2014 Furmint Tokay from Hungarian winemaker Samuel Tinon! Simply as rich as the variety on the menu.
Last but not least – it is a silent restaurant! Very, very rare in Los Angeles or in the USA general. The design and style is a felicitous mixture of elegance and LA casual. In light of the quality, enjoyment and satisfaction, I would risk saying that dinner was reasonably priced, although it isn’t inexpensive – and certainly not for frequent visits if you aren’t a millionaire.
Have a look at their nifty webpage: http://providencela.com/. It is recommended to make a reservation!