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Bobby Flay on Inventive American Restaurants: Providence

Bobby Flay

Courtesy of the Cooking Channel

New York chef Bobby Flay picked Providence as one of his top three classic American restaurants.

The Locale: 5955 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

The Chef: A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Michael Cimarusti made his way through the kitchens of Larry Forgione and Paul Bocuse, including stints at the world-famous Le Cirque and Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, before opening Providence as an upscale seafood restaurant in 2005.

Un-LA: Located along trendy Melrose Avenue, the elegant white-tablecloth dining room of Providence is the perfect spot for a date-night dinner or special event celebration. “I went to Providence with my wife for our anniversary last year, since we were both working in Los Angeles,” Flay says. “Providence surprised me, because I don’t think of it as an LA-style restaurant. It’s a little more buttoned-up. Chef Cimarusti’s food just hits the sweet spot as far as solid traditional technique with lots of modern touches, but he doesn’t take it too far. He’s not cooking for himself, he’s cooking for his guests. It was one of the best restaurant experiences, and everything we had was just on point.”

Memorable Dishes: Providence boasts traditional seafood ingredients with a bit of SoCal influence, with a menu that includes an abalone and geoduck plate, foie gras with Japanese eel and wild salmon belly. “The dish I remember the most is a pasta dish that had California sea urchin and scallions,” Flay says. “It was so incredibly simple, but the way he does it, it all makes perfect sense.”

Worldly Kitchen: “What makes our menu here at Providence an American classic is that we are anything but classical,” says Chef Cimarusti. “Rather, we embrace influences, products and cuisines from all over the world. We limit ourselves only to what is fresh, seasonal, sustainable, delicious and inspiring. What could be more American?”

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