Upon first glance, the concise menu at Allumette, Echo Park's newest eatery, reads curiously innovative and perhaps overly ambitious. Plates from short rib cooked in pho to pork steak with creamed mustards and fried green tomato draw global inspiration from near and far, while dishes call for components such as pickled turnips and black carrot syrup. Go with it—because as soon as 25-year old executive chef Miles Thompson starts firing his beautiful, small-portion plates, all eyes are on the table.
Live scallop tartare is served in its own shell with viciously flavorful diced strawberries—a perfect prelude to spring. Cavatelli is like an intense version of mac and cheese, cloaked in a thick, uni-laced sauce with a side of English pea purée. Dishes sometimes emerge from the kitchen cold—Szechuan pork dumpling was undercooked—and "sprouting broccoli" commanded only one single floret of broccoli.
While there's nothing memorable about Allumette’s outfitting, a slightly cleaner, streamlined remake of the late Allston Yacht Club, service is prompt and cheerful while powerful, unexpected flavor pairings make the moderately high prices all worthwhile.
What to eat: The cavatelli with uni ragu ($16) is a must, as is the live scallop tartare ($17). A single deep-fried oyster is served with a kimchi ranch dressing and bitter sea spinach, pricey at $6 a pop, but rather delicious. Opt for the five-course tasting menu ($72), but be sure to order the Alaskan halibut, served with king crab-stuffed mezzaluna and whipped yogurt.
Where to sit: The small restaurant has both bar seating and standard two and four tops.
What to drink: Allumette offers an inexpensive, thoughtfully curated selection of wine by the bottle—nothing is more than $100—and glass, including a $40 supplemental wine pairing. Those cocktail inclined should try the surprisingly savory and well-balanced You Only Live Twice ($13) which calls for gin, sake, tangerine and Szechuan peppercorns.
Conversation Piece: Miles Thompson hails from Son of a Gun. The young chef decamped from the eatery to launch a pop-up restaurant, the Vagrancy Project, before landing his present executive chef position.