One of the highlights of my birthday celebrations included a meal at Pinot Provence. On the night of our visit there was a table of four seated slap in the middle of the dining room. They were extremely boisterous, often bursting into fits of roaring laughter and conversing about topics which honestly, I would rather they had kept to themselves. But even so, nothing could have ruined the meal Chef Jason Petrie created for us that evening.
Some of the items are off the a la carte menu, some, are seasonal of course such as truffles, but you’ll get a clear idea of Chef Jason’s creativity by the marriage of certain ingredients in dishes as well as the way flavors come to play on your palate.
Our first amuse bouche was Nasturtium Dashi, Market Dashi a broth served in a cup which we sipped from. The intense umami of the dashi was such a teaser on my palate I could’ve had an entire bowl of it, but that would’ve been overkill.
White Chocolate and Burgundy Truffle Frozen Custard was more dessert-like but it was our second amuse with truffle fleur de sel and teenie celery, I love salty sweet flavors and this was exactly what I love in a dessert. I was a little surprised that it arrived so early in the meal, but it was a fantastic palate cleanser all the same.
With fall being the season of root vegetables, our next course of Santa Monica Market Baby Beets was a huge hit with me since I am an avid fan of any type of beets. This gorgeously presented plate encompassed the more readily available red beets and also, golden and orange ones as well. Dressed with local citrus, purple haze and organic hazelnuts, it allowed the beets’ natural flavors to come through. My favorite accoutrement on the plate was the sunny side up quail egg which oozed a creamy coating onto my chunk of beet.
Chef Jason served the Burgundy Truffle Risotto personally and brought his basket of truffles and his shaver with him. The risotto uses Il Caranoli rice, 2-year parmesan fricco (or tuile) and an extremely generous shaving of truffles. The rice was slightly under-seasoned when eaten alone, but together with the fricco, was spot-on. I wanted a bigger piece of fricco but that wouldn’t be a pretty sight I’m sure.
I was so tickled at the truffles and mentioned to my dining companion that if foie gras was on the menu this evening, it would be the best dinner ever! Before I had even completed that sentence, out comes our next course and believe it or not it was La Belle Farms Foie Gras with toasted brioche, Bartlett pear sorbet, spiced marconas and a Chai spiced black rice consomme poured tableside.
I didn’t feel it required the pear sorbet being the purist that I am so I pushed the sorbet to the side and lovingly savored each mouthful of the foie on its own. When I was done, I gazed longingly at my friend’s and I got to eat the rest of that piece as well. Yes, life is good.
The fourth course was Cinnamon Smoked Squab and Pork Belly Sausage served under a smoky dome. When the dome is lifted the aromas waft through the air and up your olfactory senses. A caramelized leek brioche gateau accompanies as well as a drizzling of cranberry squab jus. The squab is so tender and flavorful with just a kiss of the cinnamon smoke while the pork sausage was tasty with the right crunch on the casing.
I’m not much of a dessert fan but when it was brought out and introduced, my heart skipped a beat. I’d never met Chef Jason before and for him to have presented me with this particular item to finish out the meal was as if he read my mind!
Aerated Vanilla Goat Milk Sabayon — I LOVE SABAYON — or otherwise known as zabaglione is served alongside apple sorbet with a sprinkling of shortbread cookie crumble and lavender olive oil.
The light as air smoothness of the sabayon, together with the crunch of the cookie crumble was sublime. I love a variety of textural components together and to have one of my favorite desserts to round out the meal was simply heavenly.
Pinot Provence has a spot in my top 10 restaurants in Orange County. Whether you’re a regular or still a virgin, put it on your list to visit soon. You won’t be sorry you did.
686 Anton Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626