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How Chefs at LA’s Providence Meticulously Prepare an Oyster Dish

The first dish on the restaurant’s tasting menu uses exactly eight grams of caviar

At Los Angeles’s two-Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Providence, chef Michael Cimarusti uses only wild-caught fish to make dishes like scallops with black truffle, uni egg, Alaskan king salmon with truffle sauce, and more.

The tasting menu kicks off with an oyster topped with golden kaluga caviar. The restaurant gets its oysters from the Hood Canal in Washington State. “It’s actually a shigoku oyster that has spent extra time on the bed, about an extra year on the bed, so that they come larger,” says Cimarusti.

The chefs begin washing the oysters by putting them over ice and running cold water on them, which knocks off the barnacles and any sand that may have accumulated. Next, they rubber band all the oysters shut to make sure that the liquid inside, known as liquor, doesn’t leak and can be used in the sauce a little later. The rubber banded oysters are steamed for two and a half minutes and then rested for another minute, which makes them warm, but not too hot.

“You can still hold it in your hand,” says Cimarusti. “It does enough to set the flesh, so that it has a nice mouth feel.”

The oysters are put upright on ice, so that the liquor stays in the shell. They’re then shucked and returned to the shell.

From there, the sauce is made from champagne and cultured butter. They add the extra juice from the oysters into the sauce and exactly eight grams of caviar and fine herbs.

“Opening up that caviar a couple times a week and just looking at it, marveling at it, and tasting it, it’s different every time,” Cimarusti marvels. “It’s a magical thing.”

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