My mom's birthday is only a week before mine, so our family always celebrates them together at a nice restaurant the weekend after Thanksgiving. Being in LA, Providence was the logical choice: aside from the chef's recent appearance on Top Chef Masters, this new American seafood restaurant was just awarded 2 well-deserved Michelin stars. Plus, my sister had been twice and saw Hiro once... who doesn't love celebrity sightings??
We were lucky enough to snag the chef's table - a private booth looking into the kitchen. It was really great being able to peek in, even if it was just the plating side... and the lighting from the kitchen was great for photos =) It reminded me of Le Bernardin - very clean and focused, which definitely showed in their food. We got the full tasting menu of 9 courses, and I must say that it was definitely one of the best meals I've had in a long time! I was really impressed from the start - knowledgeable and warm service, and delicious bacon brioche and nori focaccia. Mmm even the bread was memorable!
Amuse: "gin+tonic" -- frozen gin gelee with the squeeze of a lime, "mojito" spherification, carrot soup in a mini stein (random)
First course: kampachi, rice crackers, creme fraiche, coriander flowers (delicious)
Sea urchin with egg yolk, brioche croutons ("deliciousness in an egg shell"); hokkaido scallop w/ chanterelles and bacon in a butter sauce
Striped bass w/ burdock and wine butter sauce; salmon w/ shaved truffles, wilted spinach, buckwheat (every component was delicious, and my mom and I agreed that this was the best cooked salmon we've ever had!)
Veal (I believe it was cooked sous vide at 140 for 2 hrs) w/ sweet onion puree, hazelnuts, other stuff (delicious); palate cleanser - cucumber sorbet w/ juniper berry yogurt (the yogurt had a really surprising tart pop, a perfect pairing to the cool sorbet)
Of all things, I forgot to photograph the dessert, a mexican chocolate "bread pudding," with an avocado banana puree, corn tortilla ice cream, and tortilla streusel. While the bread pudding didn't actually use bread (devil's sweet cake, according to our waiter), it was definitely a concept I've been meaning to try -- custardy cake, who wouldn't? The puree had a bit too much banana, but the ice cream and streusel were really impressive and added so much cohesion... delicious cohesion!
I obviously really enjoyed my meal here, as evident by the number of times I used the word "delicious." My only real complaint is that almost all the sauces were butter-based, and it would've been nice to see a bit more variety. However, that is the most nitpicky of complaints I can think of which just goes to show how great everything was. =)