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