Providence, a fancy shmancy place known for its seafood cooked using Asian ingredients and sauces. Oh, and its multiple dollar signs when listed indicating it's a pricey place. I'm normally a pretty demanding customer when it comes to restaurants that charge an arm and a leg. If I'm going to pay bank, I expect the ambiance to be wonderful, the service attentive, knowledgeable and unpretentious and the food stellar.
amuse bouche in the beginning of the meal to whet your appetite. Providence was no exception and I took diligent mental notes of what everything was but unfortunately, my brain has limited memory so I wasn't able to remember everything.
I liked the butter and the bread selection was not bad, but again -- high standards alert -- I like my fancy bread warmed up so it almost tastes like it came fresh out of the oven. The selection included bacon bread, olive bread (both of which were bland and too salty, respectively) and a very interesting seaweed focaccia-type soft bread. Who knew seaweed had so many permutations like seaweed mashed potatoes and seaweed bread? Bonus points.
The main dish was spectacular in its presentation and flavors. French rouget, aka red mullet, pan fried whole and fileted with a green as grass pistou that was a mix of parsley and jalapeno.
The seared duck breast had a croquette-like fried ball with some deliciously smoked eggplant, chanterelle mushrooms, black figs and shiso leaves. There was a lot going on on the plate but the meat was well-cooked and the sides complemented the gaminess of the duck well.
We tried three desserts, including a trio of house-made sorbets and two extremely creative desserts -- a peach crumble over a bed of miso pot de creme and a combination of soft cakes, muscat grapes (my new favorite fruit of the summer), rice crispies and a muscat grape sorbet.
The peach crumble over the creamy miso creme was divine. I suspect both the chef and pastry chefs are masters of mixing sweet and savory that seemed to be a common thread throughout the entire meal. This dessert was very creative and it worked well.
The grape-rice crispies-sorbet dessert was also a nice mix of textures and temperatures but not as memorable as the miso peach crumble.
I brought a nicely chilled rose from a cool winery in Napa I recently visited for a hot summer evening so we could enjoy a whole bottle and not pay a hefty check. Corkage is $30.
Bazaar or Mozza.
I will likely be returning although it is, after all, a special occasion restaurant.
It's located in a weird part of Melrose -- not quite WeHo nor Hollywood. A bit grungy for the type of restaurant, actually. But street parking is easy so that I like.