April 13, 20135.0
New Spring Menu at Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa, CA
Pinot Provence opened in 1998 and is located inside the Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel. The outer entrance was a little hard to find. The driveway is located between the hotel and Scott’s Seafood. Look for the Pinot Provence Valet Parking sign. The exterior is reminiscent of a French chateau with its staircase leading you to an oak door entrance. The beautiful outdoor patio has lots of ambient lighting, just the right setting for a spring luncheon.
Dishes I tried:
Crab and Melon Salad
Crab and Melon Salad is Cavaillon melon, Dungeness crab, coriander yogurt, and port wine. It was light and colorful. The crab and melon flavors paired well together. The artful use of thinly sliced watermelon as a background made a beautiful presentation. Thumbs up!
Prawns are spot prawns (local shrimp from the Pacific Ocean), Yukon potatoes, uni (sea urchin), Osetra Caviar, and pistachio vinaigrette. This is an artful blend of flavors, very light and awesome. The prawns were cooked to a soft consistency, missing the typical snap from a perfectly cooked shrimp. The potatoes were soft and velvety. The sweet uni contrasted well with the slightly salty caviar. The pistachio vinaigrette was a bit too light in flavor but that didn’t diminish the overall flavor perfection of the dish. The only thing missing was a contrast in textures. The elements of the dish were soft so just a bit of crisp or crunch would have been an interesting addition. This will not appear on the regular spring menu, but may pop up as a special now and then, so be on the lookout for it. Thumbs up, way up!
Halibut is roasted halibut, pea puree, Hen of the Woods mushrooms (maitake), and saffron emulsion. The halibut was perfectly roasted with a crispy, buttery exterior and melt-in-your-mouth juicy interior. The fresh peas resembled edamame (soy beans) in flavor. The pea puree was refreshing smooth and better than any pea mash you’ll ever have. The mushrooms had a woody flavor and chewy texture. The saffron emulsion was light and paired well with the halibut. Thumbs up, way up!
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta served with blood orange and honeycomb. The panna cotta was perfectly smooth and the lemon flavor was just right, not overbearing or sour. The honeycomb was a nice surprise adding a crispy texture to contrast the soft, creamy texture of the panna cotta. The oranges were perfectly sweet and tasted fresh from the orchard. Thumbs up, way up!