Sunday, February 1, 2009

Buen-ish Provecho


Provecho, a self-proclaimed "modern Mexican" establishment, is a recent addition to the burgeoning downtown restaurant scene.
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The problem with Provecho is that it's not quite ready for the discerning palates of foodies and businessmen, nor is its course pacing perfected yet. I hope Provecho improves with time because I think it has potential. If its current state continues without significant progress, however, Provecho won't survive.

The decor is sexy enough. I liked the light fixture in the foyer and the water running down the glass wall separating the kitchen from the dining area.
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My only criticism of the ambiance is that it's too dark. I understand romantic lighting, but it was ridiculously dim without yielding a romantic vibe at all. The above photos don't show it, but the lights were turned significantly down when we dined (which, of course, made photography damn near impossible).

Complimentary foil-wrapped tiny flour tortillas and fried corn tortilla chips with spicy sauce greet you not long after you're seated. Sauce was fantastic. The cold chips, not so much.
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Amber's "La Sancha" had jalapeño in it. I had a sip. It tasted like liquefied Red Hots gone bad. Not my thing. Not Amber's thing either. She didn't finish it.
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My watermelon mojito ($11) wasn't as pretty as Amber's disappointing spicy drink, but the mix of Bacardi, fresh watermelon juice, mint, lime, agave nectar, and soda tasted a whole lot better. I finished it.
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Jen opted for the wine pairings with her meal, which she said were done well.

Provecho's dineLA set is $34 for starter, entree, and dessert. I'm glad it was $34. I think I would've been a bit disgruntled if I'd paid $44 for this meal.

Amber started with the halibut ceviche with aged sherry vinegar, black truffle, and red onion escabeche. We all agreed that it was flavorless and limp. Very sad.
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Jen and I both had the mole-crusted foie gras with tomato jalapeño jam and grilled bread. Rich and creamy. Good combination of sweet, savory, and tart.
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Luckily, Amber fared better with her entree -- snapper veracruzano, cherry tomatoes, and Marcona almonds. I thought it was well-seasoned and well-cooked.
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Jen enjoyed her mole verde, lamb cheeks, and vegetables. Smoky. Delicious.
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I liked my pork al pastor underneath its tower of fried-ness. The meat was sufficiently tender, and it's hard to mess up onion rings. The accompanying pineapple confit, however, was blech -- a bad amalgamation of sour and spicy. It sort of reminded me of a more mouth-puckering version of Amber's failed drink above, but in solid form. Nice try, but it didn't work. At all.
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For dessert, Amber tried the spiced chocolate cake, cajeta caramel, and dark chocolate. We laughed when she observed that the cube on top looked like a Viactiv Soft Chew. The little bite I had was rich and not too sweet.
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Jen and I loved the goat cheese cheesecake, blue corn crumble, and red wine figs. Very creamy. Very yummy. Thumbs up.
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Provecho has the necessary elements to become a reputable restaurant -- good concept, good food, good service. It's not there yet. I think it's going through growing pains right now. I'd like to visit later this year to see if it has improved. Until then, I advise that you go to Babita for all your gourmet Mexican cravings.


  1. I'm intrigued. . . But with a mediocre review, I don't know if I'll be willing to shell out the cash to give it a whirl.

  2. Excellent review! So good seeing you!!!

  3. Are spicy cocktails a new thing? I had a mango and cayenne margarita awhile ago and it was yucko! When I saw the menu and looks of this place, I couldn't help but laugh at your hatred of Rosa Mexicano ;)

  4. i signed up for provecho (dineLA) on your earlier advice but now thinking of changing to grace (based on your most recent review!). may have to go to both now! patina & cafe pinot were disappointing for dineLA lunch- i think they make everything in bulk and push it out; should have ordered a la's hoping the final splichal dineLA menu for me (nick & stef's) fares better!:)

  5. How sad the experience was so-so. At least you had good company. ;)

  6. At least the place _looked_ really cool... Hopefully the food measures up sometime soon.

  7. it was another fun night!

    the more i think about it, i'm kinda enamored with my entree. like, i might have to order it for takeout one of these nights.

  8. i'm strangely drawn that viactiv chew-looking thing :) looks like it was fun!


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