Providence LA – At the Chef’s Table

Last month, I visited LA for a weekend (mega) food tour. I believe that was the most volume of food I’ve ever eaten in a 48 hour period. It was certainly a bit painful but worth it. All six meals I ate were memorable, but the Chef’s table dinner at Providence was of another caliber. Through the elevated ingredients, technique, and service, Chef Michael Cimarusti and team delivered a harmonious seafood fine dining experience.

Providence’s private Chef’s table is one of best setups I’ve seen. You are in an enclosed room, facing a glass wall that gives you a full view of the kitchen. It’s a cool bubble to dine in, though you can’t interact with the kitchen staff.

View from the Chef's table private dining room
View from the Chef’s table private dining room

Our table got the Chef’s Menu with the wine pairing.

Chef's Menu 3/25/16
Chef’s Menu 3/25/16

The meal started with six generous amuse bouche. These ended up being some of the more memorable and enjoyable bites of the meal. The Waygu Cigar served with a Shimeji mushroom shot was my favorite. A fantastic, umami-loaded combination.

The main courses opened with the iconic “The Ugly Bunch.” I hadn’t tried the original, but this 2.0 version with radish and wasabi was visually stunning and an enjoyable mix of textures.

Course 1: The Ugly Bunch 2.0, radish, wasabi
Course 1: The Ugly Bunch 2.0, radish, wasabi

We subbed the Barely Cooked Spot Prawn with the Salt-Roasted Spot Prawns. The table-side carving was fun, but the dish itself was forgettable overall. The chef’s menu is set for a reason, we should have stuck to it!

We couldn’t resist and added the Uni Egg as an additional course. This was one of my favorites. The creamy uni combined with the rich champagne beurre blanc was decadent perfection. The brioche croutons provided a satisfying contrast.

Supplement: Uni Egg, champagne beurre blanc, broiche croutons
Supplement: Uni Egg, champagne beurre blanc, broiche croutons

The Spanner Crab, sea urchin, and royal ossetra caviar course was also another favorite. How can you go wrong with that combo?

Course 4: Australian Spanner Crab, sea urchin, royal ossetra caviar
Course 4: Australian Spanner Crab, sea urchin, royal ossetra caviar

After the crab, I was hitting a food wall. It was the 10th item (including the amuses), but the menu was just getting started! This was my only negative about the food – it was the largest tasting menu I’ve experienced. I’ve had more courses before but with sustainable, smaller portions. First world problems really…but it’s a tough problem when the delicious chef’s menu is so large you can’t possibly enjoy every bite!

The heavier courses that followed were excellent, though they blended together as I couldn’t fully indulge due to my responsible pacing (bah!). The John Dory, wrapped and coated with truffle bits and accompanied by morels, was my favorite of these.

I somehow had space for dessert though (always), so I devoured all three. I was in awe at the Chamomile panna cotta with dijon mustard ice cream, honey, and pistachio. This was such an intriguing and strange combo that came together in harmony. A winner for me.

Providence was a meal to remember, and definitely the top dining experience I’ve had in LA. This would get a solid two Michelin stars in my book. The timing started off on point, but got slower and slower as the meal progressed. Total time was just under four hours. Timing aside, the flavors, creativity, and plating were on par with the best of them.

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