Nestled into the bottom floor of an apartment building, Provenance is unimpressive from the outside, barely noticeable as a business. If you spot the rows of planters next to its terrace, and if you then observe that many of them house herbs, herbs the restaurant uses in its dishes, you might begin to realize you're entering the realm of a chef committed to using local ingredients. Executive chef and founder, Teddy Klopf, definitely shows that commitment, and that proves to be a very good thing.
The menu is relatively small but often intriguing.
Our group sampled all of the starters, and four of the five were delicious and intriguing, interesting takes on classics. The weak exception was the endless sun salad, which though tasty lacked the spark of the other dishes.
My peach and potato salad, by contrast, proved to be complex and lovely in every bite, the dressing working perfectly with the bits of potato, the greens, the berries, and the peach slices.
We also shared the pork belly lettuce wraps, but I forgot to take a picture of them. Though less functional as lettuce wraps than as a large salad, they were wonderful, even the pork belly tasting light and of the summer.
The portions were generally on the large side, particularly in the mains, where our group sampled all but the fish. My beef from two farms featured a perfectly cooked small steak with succulent bits of short ribs.
The potatoes and maitake mushrooms were also perfect, as was the sour cream accompanying them.
The chocolate dessert, which I did not order, proved to be a plate of incredibly rich chocolate treats of all types.
The peach and cornmeal shortcake dish was not as successful. Though tasty enough, it wasn't up to the level of the rest of the meal. The cornmeal shortcake was dry and the peach ice cream pleasant but neither rich nor tart enough for my taste.
The only really disturbing fact about the restaurant was that I was able to get a table for a large group only a few hours ahead of time. Chef Klopf and his team are already delivering meals that belong with those of the area's better restaurants, and with a bit more time I expect them only to improve.
Do us all a favor and add Provenance to your Raleigh restaurant rotation. I look forward to going back when their menu next changes.