Classes wrapped up last week. For those who care, I aced both of them. But that was really never in doubt. Culinary school seems to be a bit easy on grading—show up, chop stuff, get at least a B. If you try a bit harder, an A+ in your future!
My mom was in town last weekend and my sister moved into her new apartment, so there was a copious amount of eating out. The weekend was great fun until some douche bag stole my mother’s wallet. Grrrr douche bags. Fortunately, she realized it pretty quickly and within a half an hour of the theft, my dad had cancelled the credit cards. (Not before the douche bag had charged $900 worth of crap at a grocery store and another few hundred at Target.)
But, let us move on to happier things. Like dinner at Province. The five of us (my mom, Paul, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and I) dined al fresco after having a drinky-poo at the bar. And, please, if you click the above link for their web site, do not be alarmed by the obviously crazy, bright pink. I don’t know who thought that pink was the way to go for web marketing, but they should be shot. It’s just not conducive to a dining establishment. Victoria Secret—yes, restaurant—no. And, that’s the funny thing. There is very little in the way of pink going on inside the actual restaurant. It’s a nice, clean space with white, black, and stainless steel. Tre mod, my friends.
The menu is broken into small bites (literally one bite items), and plates of varying sizes (small, big, and bigger). So, you can go in with the “let’s all share small plates” mentality or you can be selfish and just get the big/bigger plates. We went with the combo approach.
What We Ate
Amuse-bouche: They brought out a mini cup of pickled something (onion or beets) with a whipped something on top. As one of my dining companions mentioned, “Seems a bit like fruit on the bottom yogurt.” In my opinion, the whipped something was air-filled ranch dressing. My bouche was amused though. So, well done on that score.
Appetizers: We as a table shared a few o f the small plates to start. Everyone else had a tray o’ oysters. They looked lovely. By now, we all know the drill of how I was jealous and can’t wait to get alien out of my belly so I can go back to eating raw stuff. We also shared a melted goat cheese fondue with pickled vegetables and herbed crisps. Surprisingly, the pickled veggies came inside the fondue (we were all excited about dipping them into the cheese). No worries, it was still fantastic. Finally, we had the brioche French toast and Iberico prok belly with chipotle-honey syrup. Like a little breakfast sandwich. The fondue won the table’s vote, but I really like the French toast. The waiter also brought out a plate of crisps with some little sweet potato buns. (I know you pay for it eventually, but I love a restaurant that gives you free goodies.)
- I had the grilled beef tenderloin with Spanish blue cheese toast on top of buttermilk whipped potatoes. The small toasts sat on top and everything was drizzled with some sort of sweet (port maybe?) reduction sauce. A bit salty, but the tenderloin was cooked to rare perfection.
- Paul had the marinated and grilled skirt steak with potato grain and their house-made chimichurri. I can’t say whether the sauce was of the green or red variety as Paul ate too fast for me to even take notice. I think he liked it.
- My mom went with the ten-hour BBQ’d lamb which came with roasted eggplant, chorizo, and cornbread. Yeah, this looked about that good. I’m not a fan of eggplant, but mix it with sausage and lamb and I call it a winner.
- The sister opted for the rare Hawaiian tuna with baby bok choy, spring onions, romesco, and caper vinaigrette. Romesco is a traditional Spanish sauce usually made from some sort of nut and red bell pepper so it’s surprisingly bright orange with a bit of chunky texture. An interesting combo for the tuna and bok choy. But it seemed to work.
- Her boy/man-friend had the pan roasted Alaskan halibut with artichokes, spring garlic, and preserved lemon. By the way, preserved lemon is one of my new favorite things. I am also a fan of using sugared or candied lemons as garnishes and sides. It just screams a bit o’ summer fresh.
Sides: We split two sides—the braised greens and the roasted artichoke hearts. The greens were a definite winner (mostly because the artichoke hearts just had a blah flavor and dull color).
Dessert: My mom and I were the only ones to venture into the dessert realm. I will let you know up front that she definitely won this round. Her dessert was, to say the least, kick ass. I had the lemon pudding cake which came with seedling farm berry salsa and frozen lemon yogurt. Tasty, but not as good as the peanut butter and chocolate flan sandwich that my mom had. It came with chocolate sorbet, meringue crisps, and peanut crunchy bits. I would go back just to eat that dessert. No joke.
More free stuff: And, finally, on our way out… free cookies. Paul’s review of the free cookies? “These are the best free cookies I’ve ever eaten.”
What We Drank
At the bar: Paul had a martini with some very piney gin. I believe Emily had a champagne cocktail made with house-made blood orange grenadine. The rest of the party had various wines while I had sparkling water.
With the meal: Our waiter made me a pink lemonade spritzer with ginger and some other fun concoction. I love it when they can get creative and yummy at the same time. Paul had Three Floyd’s with dinner while Emily and her boy/man-friend had wine. My mom passed on a second drink. She said, “No thank you. I want to be able to enjoy my dinner.” (She’s a notorious lightweight when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Score one for Dad and cheap dates!)
Last words? The indoor and outdoor eating area is big enough to not feel crowded but still feel like you’re having dinner in a restaurant and not some vast hall. Food is definitely worth the price and the wine list is extensive.
Location: 161 N. Jefferson, near the Clinton Green/Pink line stop. Street parking seems to be readily available.