5955 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Tel. +1 (323) 460-4170
BY ANTONIO GALLONI | FEBRUARY 28, 2020
Buri; Apple, Shiso, Lime
Finley Farms Snap Pea; Dungeness Crab, Caviar, Scallop
Pasta Mista; Squid, Spiny Lobster, Uni
Vermilion Rockfish, Kabocha, Chorizo, Green Onion
A5 Wagyu, Charred Kamo Eggplant, Nori
Fig; Fennel, Miso-Orelys
Pérignon Rosé P2
|1996 Dom Pérignon P2
|2002 Domaine Jean-François
|2009 Domaine Jean-François
|2017 Domaine Thierry et
Pascale Matrot Meursault Perrières 1er Cru
|1969 La Pousse d'Or Volnay
Clos de la Bousse d'Or 1er Cru
|1976 Domaine Faiveley
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
|1974 Gaja Barbaresco Sorí San
This recent dinner was a great opportunity to catch up with
friends over a leisurely meal and enjoy some nice bottles. The food was off the
charts, and the wines were pretty terrific too.
Los Angeles is one of my favorite cities in the United
States. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching TV shows filmed in the City of
Angels, or the sunny weather, or numerous rock songs that immortalized the
city’s hot spots, or the time I spent here pitching investments in a prior
life, but there is something about LA that I always find incredibly energizing.
This is a city abuzz with energy, a place where things happen. So, I am always
happy to spend time here visiting with friends.
The Buri (Yellowtail), with apple, shiso and lime is a
wonderful starter on this tasting menu.
LA is a bit of unique food town. Although there is a lot
going on in a scene that is arguably more dynamic than it has ever been, fine
dining hasn’t always done so well here. Perhaps the city’s very spread out
geography makes LA more conducive to more casual places. I am not really sure.
What I do know is that this recent dinner at Providence was exceptional.
Finley Farms Snap Pea; Dungeness Crab, Caviar, Scallop.
Providence is located on Melrose Avenue, right across the street from Marino’s, one of my other favorite spots. Chef/Owner Michael Cimarusti’s cuisine melds together Italian and
Japanese influences with a focus on seafood dishes that exalt the purity of his
main ingredients. Every course on this tasting menu was exquisite. I especially
liked the Pasta Mista, which was so delicious, with the pasta cooked perfectly,
the seafood beautifully seasoned and prepared. I would have gladly eaten a
second portion. The Finley Farms Snap Pea and Vermilion Rockfish were also
sublime; both marked by precision and a wonderful transparency of flavor. I
don’t eat much red meat these days, but the A5 Wagyu was terrific. Service was
courteous and efficient, while the brisk pacing of the dinner was perfect for
what I like, especially on a school night.
The Pasta Mista with squid, spiny lobster and uni is
worth a special trip.
We start with two exquisite, utterly magical Champagnes. Dom
Pérignon’s 1996 Rosé P2 is rich, vertical and explosive, with that
combination of structure and inner perfume that makes it so alluring and so
flat-out delicious. The 1996 Dom Pérignon P2 is another absolutely
stellar Champagne. When it was first released, the 1996 was painfully austere,
but time has added a great deal of flesh to match the wine’s vibrant, energetic
personality. Both 1996s are magnificent. We are off to the races.
Coche’s 2002 Meursault is in a gorgeous place right
now. Gently softened by the passage of time, the 2002 remains quite vivid and
fresh, especially for a village Meursault approaching its 20th
birthday. Ample, creamy and so inviting, the 2002 is impossible to resist. Even
with all of its intensity, the 2002 retains that salty, mineral quality that is
such a Coche signature. The 2009 Meursault is similarly rich and
tropical, but also comes across as quite young next to the 2002, which is an
ever-present reminder of how these wines can age. Although the 2009 is
gorgeous, if I owned it, I would try to give it more time in bottle. The 2017
Meursault Perrières 1er Cru from Matrot rounds out this flight in
style. Crushed rocks, lemon confit, white pepper and lime all grace a super-classic
Perrières. Powerful and tightly wound, the 2017 demands cellaring, even if that
is a tricky proposition these days when it comes to white Burgundy.
Vermilion Rockfish, Kabocha, Chorizo, Green Onion.
The Domaine de la Pousse d'Or Volnay Clos de la Bousse d'Or 1er Cru is
very pretty for the first few minutes and then starts to fade. Orange peel,
rose petal, spice, kirsch, mint, sage and sweet floral notes are nicely laced
together. Fully mature, fraying at the edges, and a touch volatile, the 1969
needs to be enjoyed sooner rather than later. Faiveley’s 1976 Chambertin
Clos de Bèze Grand Cru is a powerful, structured Burgundy. Mint, sage,
spice and dried flowers add shades of nuance, but the 1976 remains rather tough
and not especially charming, even with a bit of air. It has held up well
though, and still has quite a bit of brightness.
A5 Wagyu, Charred Kamo Eggplant, Nori.
Gaja’s 1974 Barbaresco Sorí
San Lorenzo is a powerful, burly wine with plenty of the brawn that makes
Barbarescos from this site so incredibly distinctive. Scorched earth, leather,
licorice, smoke and tobacco add to its decidedly virile feel. The 1990
Haut-Brion is exotic, flamboyant and super-expressive. Dark fruit, leather,
licorice and grilled herbs are all amped up. Although the 1990 doesn’t quite
have the aromatic depth and intensity of the very finest years, it is
nevertheless a stunning, gorgeous wine of the highest level. Sweet dried
cherry, tobacco, mint, dried flowers and licorice all grace the 1949
Calon-Ségur. Sublime, gracious and nicely mellowed by the passage of time,
the 1949 is just exquisite on this night.
Fig; Fennel, Miso-Orelys.
Readers spending time in Los Angeles, especially in the Hollywood/West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area should make a point of stopping by
Providence. Everything about this night was about as perfect as it gets.