Ginger and I have a standing tradition. We eat our faces off during Restaurant/Chef’s Weeks. While this typically means hitting 3-5 restaurants, this year our schedules only permitted us one lovely dining event together (Brother and I also ate at C-House). We decided on Province, which features Spanish/Central American-inspired American cuisine.
Very inviting, warm, clean atmosphere. Service got off to a rocky start, though. The hostess told us there was a 10-minute wait on our table. No problem. She would come get us at the bar when the table was ready. The bartender was working double-time to get drinks out and our glass of bubbly took about 10 minutes. After sitting at the bar for 45 minutes, I checked with the hostess to see why we hadn’t been seated. The hostess had forgotten about us. We went to transfer our drinks to our table and the bartender comped them. Free bubbly. Good start at remedying the situation. We were seated for probably 10 minutes before our server came over to greet us. In general, the restaurant seemed a little overwhelmed. She immediately apologized for the wait and took our order immediately. We asked about a wine pairing (there was none), but she offered some excellent suggestions that we were beyond pleased with.
1) Bread plate: flatbread, buttery/savory biscuits (think: Paula Dean does Toledo), and an amazing white bean spread. (Ginger asked if I wanted a spoon for the spread. Oops.)
2) Amuse-bouche: chorizo-stuffed, breaded olives (salty nugget of delight)
3) Salad: Beet & Watercress, serrano ham, candied marcona almonds.
My love for beets is well documented. Ginger shares in this obsession… hence, we decided against splitting the available options (Sorry, duck confit sausage and rice. It’s not you. It’s us.)
4) Entrée 1: Farm Raised Striped Bass, leeks, fingerling potatoes, thyme, chimichurri, bacon
5) Entrée 2: Ancho Pappardelle Pasta with Sweet Fried Piquillos, roasted garlic, house made queso fresco
The fish was fantastic (surprise performance by the bacon!), but the star was actually the pasta. Ginger and I split both entrées and desserts (kudos to the server for recognizing that this is what we intended to do and bringing us extra plates for both courses). The pequillos in the pasta were the perfect amount of sweet to the savory and Ginger threatened me with a throwdown for the last few bites. She also kept stealing the last sips of my wine — she did not appreciate that I was lagging behind. We were pretty happy with our Savignon Blanc reco choice (server’s first option was a more buttery white).
6) Dessert 1: Orange Pound Cake & Blood Orange Swirl Ice Cream, blood orange compote
7) Dessert 2: Puff Pastry & Ancho-Vanilla Creme Catalan “Stack”
We took one bit of the puff pastry, looked at each other, and said “wait, garlic?!” We a) couldn’t remember what the dessert was supposed to be; and b) were a little sauced at this point. We broke down and asked the server to refresh our memory. Turns out it wasn’t garlic… it was ancho peppers. The puff pastry was a bit dry, but a pretty good twist on a standard dessert flavor profile. The blood orange cake/ice cream was the stand-out, and the sparkling pear cider recommendation was perfection. Every other sentence out of our mouths throughout the dinner was “I’m so happy right now.”
All in all, I would definitely recommend Province, service kinks and growing pains aside. The food was phenomenal and the wine list extensive (but with plenty of approachable price points). Not overly loud (read: great date spot) and what seemed to be a pretty cool private dining area for special events.
Sidenote: I also might have called St-Germain the ketchup of cocktails in front of the bartender. It goes with anything and everyone loves it (except for me… ketchup, that is). He found that amusing.