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Although Providence, Michael Cimarusti's opulent ode to seafood, recently underwent a redesign, the soul of the place remains the same. There's some new art on the walls, and some of the walls are now art installations themselves, with clusters of shells scattered across the surface looking like drifts of flowers. There are some new dishes on the pricey tasting menus as well, but what struck us the most was the glorious amuses, those wee bites of food presented before the meal. At Providence, those offerings are especially generous, and especially delicious. If you've dined here before, you'll recognize the tiny taco made of raw scallops, sushi rice and a nasturtium leaf. A littleneck clam gets chopped and set back in its shell in a chorizo consommé with flecks of bell pepper. Chorizo also shows up in lollipop form, on the end of a stick along with a piece of squid, wrapped in a sunburst pinwheel. Presentation is always as fun as the food itself — one recent amuse came in a Cuban cigar box. They're a fitting and beautiful foreshadowing of the meal ahead, but also worth recognizing in their own right. —Besha Rodell

5955 Melrose Ave., Hlywd., 90038. (323) 460-4170, providencela.com.

LA Weekly