We took my sister and her husband out for their birthdays (they are close together) and they chose Provision. We were happy to go back and check it out. It still just as busy as it has been since it opened from what I can tell, so you can see how much this area was crying out for a restaurant like this.
Before we even got our orders, they brought us a nice amuse bouche, which was a crispy slice of bread with blue cheese and a nice little acidic sauce. Very tasty. Then we started with the bread plate ($5), because it’s just really good. They seem to always have a soft German pretzel stick and slices of Blue Dog Bakery baguette, which are some of my favorite things. This time there was also Naan, and a grainier type of bread. They serve it with nice soft butter as well as some flavored dipping oil. The bread is delicious in either.
I really think they shine at appetizers at Provision. We had the king crab toast ($36) and the tuna tartare ($22). Both of these are excellent, and in my mind, worthy of being dinner if you have a smaller appetite. The king crab toast is pieces of light and buttery brioche-type bread that is toasted and then topped with nice hunks of king crab with jalapeno, Thai basil, and Thai chile beurre blanc—basically an amped up butter sauce. But it is used in just the right amount so as to not take over the delicate flavor of the crab. This was a table favorite and my brother in law nearly ordered a second one for his dinner.
I really liked how they have changed the tuna tartare from how it was originally. It’s funny, because it kind of reminds me of the dish I like downstairs at Blue Sushi Sake. It’s basically fried little rice cakes that are topped with chopped and seasoned tuna tartare. There's some nice spicy sauce on each piece and some red onions and cucumbers. I thoroughly enjoyed this, as did everyone else.
For my main, I was swayed by the special, which was halibut cheeks with all kind of seasonal sides—asparagus, morels, and spring peas and then garnished with a rhubarb salsa. Loved the acid and kick the rhubarb gave to the dish. It added so much brightness. The veggies were all good. Sadly, the halibut was a touch overcooked and came across a bit dry. I was happy to get my first morel of the season though. It was very springy dish for sure.
The boys both had steaks because in the past, hubby had enjoyed steaks that others had ordered. They do season their larger bone-in steaks quite a bit. The filets on the other hand aren’t quite as heavily flavored, and I think hubby ended up thinking he liked that better. They do nice Robuchon potatoes with their steaks as well, so at least you get a little something with your steak, unlike many places. We also ordered a side dish to split—the potato bacon terrine ($8). Can’t really go wrong with basically a giant tater tot wrapped in bacon right? My sister ordered a starter for her main—the lobster dumplings ($18). They are sauced with chile oil and a sweet soy vinaigrette. I just had a bite—we had a lot of food. They were good, but nothing that really jumped out at me. And not as good as the other two starters. We all shared a piece of sugar cream pie with coffee ice cream for dessert. It is tasty and I like the way they brulee the top of it, giving it just a little crunch when you stick your fork in it.
All in all, I think Provision continues to be a solid new restaurant for the northeast side. The service has improved tremendously since they opened, and I appreciate that they change the menu up a bit with the seasons (I would love to see even more variation). Next time I think I am going to do a dinner of all appetizers and I will be perfectly content.
And hey, here’s hoping something good goes in the now-closed B Spot just down the sidewalk. It’s really helping my mood to have so many new places that are good so near by.
2721 East 86th Street