Thursday, April 25, 2013

Allumette sparks up Echo Park dining scene

carrot salad with pickled turnips, sunchokes, black carrot syrup

What: Allumette is a reconcepting of Allston Yacht Club, before that 15 and before that, a Salvadoran place.  Is Echo Park ready for 5-course tasting menus and imaginative elevated preparations in the vein of Michael Voltaggio's Ink?
It's not clear whether the neighborhood draws the right crowd for this kind of ambitious fare, but chef Miles Thompson creates beautifully-plated dishes flurries of imaginatively-combined flavors.

I've taken way too long to post about the lovely meal I tried there with Gastronomy blog's Cathy, so here are a few highlights.You'll find much nicer photos over on Gastronomy; my tiny camera can only do so much in low light.
Allumette is now encouraging the 5-course tasting menu for $75 available with a $45 wine pairing, a good way to experience the range of the ambitious menu.
scallop tartare with strawberry, truffle, elderflower
This dish was beautifully presented, and the fruity flavors worked well with the mild scallops.

The ambiance: Allumette has been slightly remodeled from the Allston Yacht Club days. The room is comfy and much quieter than the deafening Red Hill across the street, but still has a slightly generic feeling that seems like it's waiting for a stronger concept. There's valet parking in front on Echo Park Ave., but plenty of parking is also available along Sunset Blvd. on most nights. Just watch out for those meters that charge until 8 p.m.
grilled octopus with sour apple syrup, cardamon butterscotch potato

Szechuan pork dumplings, salmon roe, spicy black vinegar
Pork dumplings were a wonderful take on the dumpling house staple, elevated by salmon roe and other special touches.
cheesecake mousse, frozen cookie dough, walnuts, maple syrup

Recommended dishes: Fried oyster, scallop tartare, bitter lettuce with soy cream dressing, Pork dumplings, lamb neck, cavatelli with fromage noir, cheesecake mousse
Thompson has a real talent for combining unusual ingredients in a very attractive way, though I'm a bit embarassed to say that my favorite dish was the cheesecake mousse I hoovered up for dessert.
Chance of a return visit: Would I come back on my own dime? If I could afford it, sure. I would recommend the experience for diners who want to see Thompson really stretch his chefly muscles in a un-frantic environment. And don't skip the very good cocktails, including the delicious Gentlemen's Breakfast.
Allumette, 1515 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park, 213-935-8787
(This was a comped press dinner.)


Anonymous said...

$75 dinner...gentrifying jackholes.

Anonymous said...

Agree... not the right neighborhood for these prices.