No. 3: Providence


Photograph courtesy

The Michelin two-star stands beside a car wash amid the soundstages of Hollywood. Donato Poto runs the dining room, its walls the color of damp sand, while the kitchen walls can barely contain Michael Cimarusti’s passion for fish. Like a delicious Final Four bracket, Santa Barbara prawns grilled with a wisp of rosemary represent the West Coast; New Bedford scallops chopped into a tartare with sea grass and toasted brioche compete for the East. You sense that Cimarusti, a Rhode Island native, respects the pristine state of great fish so much that any additional ingredient has to earn the right to be on the plate. Those shimeji mushrooms are there because they ratchet up the meatiness of Alaskan king salmon without obscuring it. Nori bread crumbs dust chitarra pasta with seared wild sardines just to prove that perfection is attainable on earth.

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