The Gossiping Gourmet: Provenance a new hit for Cathy Pavlos

April 30, 2014|By Terry Markowitz
  • The charcuterie platter from Provenance in Newport Beach.
The charcuterie platter from Provenance in Newport Beach. (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

I have been a fan of chef Cathy Pavlos since she first opened Lucca in the Quail Hill Shopping Center in 2005, and I have been eagerly awaiting her new restaurant, aptly called Provenance. It is in the Eastbluff Village Center in Newport Beach.

The concept is to use vegetables, lettuces and herbs that are grown in the restaurant's 1,300-square-foot, raised-bed organic garden. The boxes make a lovely background for outdoor dining. The restaurant also features humanely raised meats. The menu changes monthly and utilizes what is currently growing in the garden.

The interior has a contemporary wine-country farmhouse atmosphere. The ceiling is made of raw rough boards, the floor is polished cement, and the bar has lovely dark gray and white tiles. The chairs are white metal with cushions. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors create an indoor-outdoor feel to the room.

Artisanal cheese plates and house-made charcuterie were always featured at Lucca, and I'm pleased to say they are also on the menu at Provenance. My favorite dining companion and I shared the charcuterie platter, which includes a wonderful little jar of potted pork rillettes. They had a sinfully rich fatty and salty flavor and were extra delicious smeared on the crunchy slices of toasted bread.


We also loved the spicy salami and excellent prosciutto but found the duck pate to be a bit too mild compared to the other offerings. Two mustards and lots of pickled vegetables came on the side: carrots, radishes, onions and pickles with some candied walnuts strewn about. It's a great starter and easily feeds two.

Be careful when the bread basket arrives. It is probably different from day to day, but the fat cream biscuits are hard to pass up and are very filling. Wanting to try something from the garden, we chose clipped garden lettuces that included arugula, herbs, French radishes, candied butternut squash bites and white asparagus.

The squash bites were our favorite, but the lettuces are so fresh and vibrant that they may make you wonder why you ever buy the grocery store variations. The only miss here was the white asparagus, which was limp and tasteless. The salad was lightly dressed but could have used a bit more dressing.

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