Allumette

Photo credit: Allumette

Allumette – CLOSED
1320 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 935-8787
allumettela.com

Another ambitious restaurant that was too ahead of its time? Or one that was the victim of the wrong location and target clientele?

I’ll let you decide. In the meantime, another critically-acclaimed restaurant in town decided to call it quits. On the surface, Allumette closing up shop at the end of June can be perceived as a huge surprise, as the restaurant was named as one of Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants and LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants for 2014, as well as being short-listed for Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants for 2013, among other accolades. However, the place was certainly hurting for business, and it was evident when we went the week before it was slated to close, and there were still maybe less than a handful of covers all night.

That’s a shame. While I’m not ready to bow down to the genius of Chef Miles, the talent is there, and Allumette had nowhere to go but up as time passes. A lot of the dishes were indeed very ambitious and loaded with multiple flavor components and textures. It was just a bit too…busy for me at times. But the vision is there – just needs time and editing (and restraint, to a certain extent). Unfortunately, this version modern American cuisine, one being targeted at a more approachable level and price, is not working in LA. Red Medicine, a restaurant I consider to be the finished product of what Allumette was headed towards, is closing at the end of this month, and from my visits (after the first time) there I can confirm that they were never nearly as busy as it was assumed.

As a town that has diminished the importance of Michelin-esque fine dining in favor of cuisines that capture a more approachable, global essence reflecting the melting pot that is LA, this type of cooking should be something that we self-proclaimed sophisticated diner should strive to accept. We don’t need another farm-to-table restaurant, or a gastropub. We need to start pushing the envelope, or else LA as a culinary haven will be left behind once again, and this time rightfully so.

Snacks:

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Potatoes a la Plancha – furikake aioli, parmigiano-reggiano, katsuobushi

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Potato Chips – smoked whitefish, uni cream, chive

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Baby Torpedo Onion Panisse – meyer lemon mustard, hibiscus, cilantro

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“Bread & Butter”

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Mini Lumpia

1st Course:

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Cucumbers – apricot fennel compote, ripe & unripe berries, white chocolate

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Blue Prawn – vinegar meringue, rice paper, leek

2nd Course:

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Summer Squash – white corn fondue, june garlic miso, sage

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Arrowtip Squid – pistachio ponzu, cherry, black mint

3rd Course:

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Octopus – za’atar yogurt, okra caviar, plum

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Ivory Salmon – soured celtuce, radish, beet syrup

4th Course:

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Branzino – shellfish tapioca, fried broccoli, lemon

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Pork Collar – pho charcoal, eggplant mayonnaise, pickled wasabi

5th Course:

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Toasted Barley Pot-de-Creme – jasmine, strawberry, rosemary

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Lemongrass Bavarois – hibiscus, oat, tangerine

Grade: B
Cuisine: American
Neighborhood: Echo Park
Price: $$$

Allumette on Urbanspoon

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