A lot of people have been asking me about Provision so here it is! Let me start off by saying we had dinner here the first time within like a week of it opening, which isn’t something I normally do, but friends asked us to go and I will rarely turn down such an invitation. That first visit we tried a lot of the appetizers and there were some that really shone and some that were kind of stinkers (the beef tartare for example was very bland). I am not going to write a full review of that visit, because it goes against my regular rules, but I wanted to let you know that the second meal was influenced by it because we ordered things based on that first visit that we knew were better than others. Thus, we crafted a very good dinner, but based on the first visit, there are still some food kinks to be worked out. And service. Woo. That first visit we had pretty bad service, but like I said, it was new and the place was packed.
So on the second visit, we took the kids and sat outside on one of those glorious fall evenings we had awhile back. I like the outside because it isn’t so crazy loud like the inside can be. To start, they brought us a nice amuse of salmon on top of a multi grain type of crouton and a creamy sauce. It was an extremely tasty bite. We then ordered the tuna appetizer ($22) and the seafood cocktail ($20). Again, both choices made based on our first meal. It’s funny, because the seafood cocktail isn’t something I would typically order because while I like shrimp cocktail, how boring can you get right? But this one is unique because the shrimp is dry rubbed with seasonings and then lightly charred. The shrimp are large, but nice and tender and have a wonderful smoky flavor. They also serve it with some hunks of king crab and avocado and a curry red sauce underneath. A nice combo of flavors and we enjoyed it both times. The tuna is also quite tasty. They give you several pieces of seared tuna drizzled with spicy mayo and a crunchy rice cake alongside. I really enjoy the variation of textures in the dish and the flavor from the mayo. You know I love seared tuna and this is a tasty one. We also got the bread plate ($5), because if there is one, and my kids are with me, this will be required. They do a nice job giving you Blue Dog bakery baguette, which is the best local-ish (from Louisville) baguette you can buy, a homemade soft pretzel and some house made pita. They give you butter and a yummy flavored dipping oil. The oil is particularly good with the pita.
I knew I would get to eat some of everyone else’s food, and I was intrigued by the crab toast appetizer ($36), so I got that as my main dish. So wow, this dish had so many different things going on. First of all the bread was so flakey and buttery—almost like it was a croissant underneath. It was topped with big hunks of the crab, jalapeno, Thai basil and a slightly spicy beurre blanc (butter sauce). I liked the combo of the rich, but light and flaky bread and the rich crab with the slight spiciness and acidity of the sauce. A tasty dish for sure. Probably better as a starter to share with someone else though.
Hubby had the special of the evening, which was snapper on top of risotto. It was very well prepared and he really enjoyed it. My daughter ordered scallops ($35) with cilantro gnocchi, spinach and basil-chile beurre blanc. The scallops had the perfect seared edge and were cooked very nicely. She seemed to enjoy them, although couldn’t finish it. My son’s Angus filet ($38) with Robuchon potatoes though was outstanding. And my daughter kept trying to steal bites of those buttery potatoes. All of our dishes were very good. If I had lucked into this as my first meal, I would have been so excited about this new place. As it is, I am still excited; I just know that there are also several items on the menu that aren’t quite as good. I am also looking forward to seeing how they mix up the flavors as the seasons change. I typically really enjoy the new restaurants that Cunningham opens with Layton Roberts in the kitchen. So far Provision is solid, although not as impressive as Vida was when it first opened. It just doesn’t yet seem to have the finesse that Vida had. Maybe that’s not what they’re going for though, who knows.
I have heard many mixed things about this place, so I would love to hear your thoughts.
2721 East 86th Street
|photos from that first dinner|