Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lunch at Providence Restaurant, 5955 Melrose Avenue

We were talking with a friend the other night, and he mentioned Providence Restaurant.  Opened around 2005, it is a very well known fine dining destination with two Michelin Stars.   Gourmet list it as one of the top 50 restaurants in America.   Our friend had been there when he found out the Chef had been filming the table and refused to let someone order a particular dish, insisting on his choice instead as the 'table didn't look balanced'.  We presume he was talking about Co-Owner and Executive Chef Michael Cimarusti (who has an incredible CV).  So......we just had to try it.

He was also a contestant on Top Chef Masters.
Unusual decor, very calm and quiet, and very empty for a Friday, particularly when it is the only day they open for lunch.  A table of one, and another table for two, although two more couples arrived much later.
After a very good Dirty Martini, the bread arrived - a choice of three - a Bacon Brioche, Nori Foccacia or White Roll.  We tried both the Bacon and the Nori which were salty and tasty, but we didn't want to spoil lunch.
We each ordered an entree and a main (or appetiser and entree), and then were very surprised to receive the first of two Amuse Bouche -  a Screwdriver which looked like an egg yolk and a Mojito which was a frozen cube with a minute mint leaf.  Both were incredible and tasted just like the real deal.
We then were served another - but after that Martini, I just can't remember what they were.  But they looked and tasted fabulous and were served with a box of warm lentils with two different crackers standing up in them and choice of tiny little cakes - one of which was parmesan.  They were so light, and just popped in your mouth.
With the help of our waiter, we chose a lovely bottle of wine - Melville Cabernet Savignon 2001.

Then our appetisers.  I chose Josephines Clam Fritters (Yuzu Kosho Mayonnaise) - not sure why as I really don't like clams.  But it was actually a cold wet day so I felt like something warm and the choices were limited.  Bit of a mistake, as I really am not a fan of anything deep fried - although the mayonnaise was fabulous.  Wish I'd had the Kampachi.
Hal had the Spaghetti Ala Chitarra (Japanese Sword Squid, Spot Prawn, Maine Lobster, Tomato, Basil) which was really lovely.
We then both stupidly ordered the same - the Aged Prime New York Strip Steak (Nebraska) - (Saskatchewan Chanterelles, Cipollini, Confit Potatoes, Emulsion of Bone Marrow and Dijon Mustard).  Sounded amazing, but really too safe.  We should have had two different dishes so we could share.  We both ordered Medium Rare, but I did say more Rare than Medium which our very pleasant suited waiter complimented me on (!!!), but then Hal was served the rarer steak which did piss me off a bit!  But it was a lovely steak.  Surprisingly no sides were offered, and we felt green vegies would  have been complimentary.  Unfortunately I didn't take a photo, but there were two strips of steak with tiny white onions and tiny white potatoes.

We then ordered dessert.   Chocolate Raspberry Ganache (Ginger Meringue, Graham Cracker Ice Cream).   Very pretty, and super rich - the meringues were minute.   Still don't know what a Graham Cracker is.
I ordered the Corn Pudding (Masumoto Peaches, Caramel Popcorn).  Absolutely fabulous, although the actual 'pudding' was a bit grainy like the polenta it was!   The Caramel Popcorn was to die for, as were the baby peaches!
We then had a glass of superb Sweet Wine - something we have had trouble finding in other restaurants.  But it was perfect.
And we ended up sharing a glass of red with the 'lone diner', a lovely man named Chuck Martin, who lunches at Providence every Friday and let's the chef choose what he eats.  We are apparently lunching with Chuck on Friday 27th April 2012 at 12 noon - which is the day we arrive next year.  He changed his lunch from the previous week so we could be there.  We'll see!

Very good restaurant, great food, really pleasant professional service and the best thing?  It was a thank you gift from our daughter and son in law. sign of camera!!!


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