Sunday, January 04, 2009

Provecho Restaurant: Land of many tequilas and lobster chile rellenos

Is it just me or does the Yelp listing for Provecho sound like it has an awful lot of shills on it for a restaurant opened less than a month? Anyhoo, the Eat: Los Angeles ladies were up for trying Provecho for lunch after the radio show Friday. Provecho is one of several nuevo-Latino spots recently opened or soon to open Downtown including Casa and John Sedlar's Rivera, all with killer tequila lists and modern takes on the Mexican/Southwestern genre.
The look: Located in the lobby of the 800 Wilshire office building, Provecho suffers from office building-restaurant syndrome, and even the waterfall wall and Latinesque chandeliers can't juice up the corporate-looking space quite enough to be welcoming.
Drinks, please: Colleen couldn't resist a tasty, tart Classico cocktail with tequila and muddled orange and lemon juice, while I'd try the Polanco with hibicus juice, tequila and lime if I ever get back in the evening. Now the food: The menu is divided into the crudo section with ceviche, salmon and tuna, sopes, tacos, tamales, salads and main dishes which are all over $21 except a few moles. We tried ahi tuna with margarita gelee cubes; the cubes were cute and perked up the tuna, but without creating much excitement. We liked a crispy, rich starter of lobster chile rellenos ($16) with a fiery cream sauce, despite its rather sweet breading. Duck confit and smoked chicken sopes ($9 for two) look messy in the photo, but the crunchy corn discs were freshly fried, with good flavors particularly in the duck sopes.
Verdict: Provecho's food seems perfectly fine if pricey Mexican fare isn't an oxymoron for you, and I'm sure Downtown workers will find this a great place for a posh post-work margarita. But the restaurant's combination of office-building-sterile with foodie buzzwords like tequila-cured gravlax and tomato jalapeno jam didn't quite gel for me.

Food: ** 1/2 stars (out of 4)
Atmosphere: Corporate but with some stylish touches
Value: Fair

5 comments:

carter said...

Felt the exact same way about the place. Was actually thinking of trying it for dinner last night(Sat.), yet opted out.Feel the exact same way about Drago Centro btw!
Looked into Rivera through the drapes and it looks a little warmer, yet still...
Ended up at Flemings for steaks to celebrate a birthday. Toured the entire LA Live - busy busy place!!!
Looking forward to Casa and Rivera more than Provecho - feel it may be the first casualty of the three.

WeezerMonkey said...

I can walk to this place, but I haven't tried it yet because expensive Mexican makes me cringe (except for Babita, of course). Now I feel like I should go and take a look! :)

Anonymous said...

2-plus outa 4 just isn't warming my heart, and this place is all of 50 yards from my office. Hey, I tried to like "Adoro", over in 7th/Fig, too, which was also "upscale Mexican", but it also sorta never arrived for me.

I've been to Rick Bayless' places (all the while wondering "Why am I going to a Mexican restaurant in CHICAGO?!?" until the food arrived and I thought "THIS would be why I'm eating in a Mexican place in Chicago!") Coyote Grill in Santa Fe, and Border Grill, Tamayo Babita and Seranata here, so I get upscale Mexican, but right now I'm not hearing anything which would make me change my Mexican-place-of-choice from Chichen Itza...

Silverlake Bodhisattva

mattatouille said...

I was there opening day and wasn't impressed at all. I had a poor review on Yelp before taking it off since opening days dont really reflect the restaurant's quality too much after a couple of weeks. Anyways, I won't be wasting my money there, even though it's only a short walk away from the office. Casa sounds like a much better choice.

ad said...

agree re: the decor, but I hated the food...