Allumette – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Allumette - Echo Park

Chef Miles Thompson, who launched The Vagrancy Project last summer, has found a permanent home in Echo Park in the building formerly occupied by Allston Yacht Club. During his twice-a-week pop-up in this very space, the former executive sous chef at Son of a Gun dazzled diners with creative and beautifully plated fare like John Dory with boba, miso, and shiitake and chorizo with grapefruit and Robiola on toast.

While the culinary residency was short lived, it managed to catch the attention of Allston Yacht Club’s owners Bill DiDonna and Charles Kelly. Allumette is a joint venture between the two seasoned restauranteurs and the young chef. Consider this pop-up completely permanent.

Allumette - Echo Park

Allumette’s forward-thinking menu is comprised of two dozen small and thoughtful plates that fall under the categories of “Vegetable,” “Pasta,” “Fish,” “Shellfish,” “Meat,” “For Two,” and “Dessert.” Diners are encouraged to either indulge in the Chef’s tasting menu or select 4 to 6 dishes to create their own tasting experience.

I, along with my dining companions Darin, Pat, and Christina, decided to go the family-style route in order to taste as much of the menu as possible. In certain instances where a dish was literally a bite or two, we doubled, tripled, or quadrupled our order as needed.

Allumette - Echo Park

Before diving into the food, we sampled a few cocktails crafted by Serena Herrick. I selected the “Smoking Gun” ($11), a super-strong brew comprised of Vida mezcal, Cynar, and Calisaya. Since The Astronomer wasn’t around to tow me home safely, I kept my sips to a minimum.

Allumette - Echo Park

My favorite bite of the night was the complimentary bread course—a spear of grilled and buttered focaccia served alongside a thyme- and mascarpone-infused “tater tot.” While the Chef may have intended for the latter to be slathered upon the former, I enjoyed each component separately, with each rich bite balanced by bread and char.

Allumette - Echo Park

Next came a “Fried Oyster” ($6) sitting in a neat pool of kimchi ranch dressing and topped with an Asian pear mignonette and “sea spinach.” This two-bite delight had a little bit of everything going for it—crunchy, briny, creamy, spicy, and tangy.

Allumette - Echo Park

We selected two raw preparations from the “Fish” portion of the menu. The first, the “Shimaaji Sashimi” ($14), was prepared with mustard miso, rice crackers, blood orange, and kiwi.

Allumette - Echo Park

The second preparation, an Ocean Trout Crudo ($15), was comprised of yuzu ponzu, Brussels sprouts, and pickled grapes.

While the Shimaaji was pleasant with its bright and fruity accoutrements, I preferred the Ocean Trout’s slightly more assertive ponzu and pickled grapes.

Allumette - Echo Park

At this point in the meal, we were treated to an intermezzo course of itty bitty squid marinated in lime juice. Delectable.

Allumette - Echo Park

From the “Vegetable” section of the menu, we sampled both salads on offer. The Bitter Lettuces ($8) were accompanied by tangerines, avocado, macadamia nuts, and my favorite element, a smoked soy cream.

Allumette - Echo Park

The Carrot Salad ($9) was gorgeous to behold and a pleasure to eat. In addition to raw ribbons of carrots and turnips, there were pickled carrots and turnips, root vegetable chips, and roasted sunchokes. A black carrot syrup was drizzled over the beautiful bowlful.

Allumette - Echo Park

At the insistence of our waiter, we also sampled the latest menu addition, a Hokkaido Scallop Tartare ($17). The scallops mingled harmoniously with the fresh strawberries, black truffle, citrus, and elderflower. The portion here was quite small, which left me wanting just a little more…

Allumette - Echo Park

One of the dishes I was most looking forward to tasting was the Grilled Octopus ($19) served with sour apple syrup, cardamom butterscotch potato, and sorrel. While Pat found the garnishes and sauces to be a touch too sweet, I was quite happy with the overall effect. In fact, I could’ve gone for an even more assertive application of apple and cardamom.

Allumette - Echo Park

While the Warm Lamb Neck Terrine ($14) sounded intriguing as heck on paper, the plated dish resembled more or less a standard braised short rib. The vinegar-roasted turnips and crunchy Korean crabs served alongside managed to outshine the protein.

Allumette - Echo Park

The Pork Shoulder ($16) was the more successful “Meat” offering this evening. The tender shoulder meat came wrapped in bacon, topped with caramelized onions, and accented with feuille de brick. According to our waiter, this dish was inspired by bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

Allumette - Echo Park

For the final savory dishes we were able to taste two of the three offerings from the “Pasta” portion of the menu. The house-made Cavatelli ($16) came dressed in a sea urchin ragu with an English pea purée, poached mushrooms, and fromage noir, a smooth and tangy cheese dyed black. The noodles were too well-done for me tonight, unfortunately, but the trio of sauces had everything going for them.

Allumette - Echo Park

I quite adored the Szechuan Pork Dumplings ($14), especially in tandem with the cured salmon roe and spicy black vinegar. The dumplings’ wrappers were wonderfully toothsome.

Allumette - Echo Park

To finish, Chef Thompson sent out one of each dessert. The all-around favorite was the Cheesecake Mousse ($7), a luscious and silky lil’ number accompanied by frozen cookie dough, red walnuts, and maple syrup.

Allumette - Echo Park

I was mostly lukewarm regarding the Red Velvet Cake ($7) with port syrup. When I conjure up an image of red velvet cake it’s always multi-layered, bright red, and frosted with cream cheese. Allumette’s rendition was too understated for my expectations and taste.

Allumette - Echo Park

And finally, a Citrus Curd ($7) sprinkled with poppy seeds and paired with a rhubarb-lime gelée, grapefruit segments, and kumquats. This bracingly bitter and sour dessert was right up my alley.

While my meal at Allumette wasn’t without flaws, there were more than enough enticing elements to encourage me to return at a later date to see how Chef Thompson grows and develops in this new space.

Allumette * CLOSED *
1320 Echo Park Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone: 213-935-8787

One year ago: Mirak – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Two years ago: Dynamo Donuts and Coffee – San Francisco
Three years ago: Starry Kitchen – Los Angeles (Downtown)
Four years ago: Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America – Amy Sutherland
Five years ago: Eating Mice Can Be Rather Nice
Six years ago: Biga on the Banks – San Antonio

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5 Responses to “Allumette – Los Angeles (Echo Park)”


  • Glad to join you on this adventure! It’d been way too long.

  • Great post, and lovely photos. I love this clean, minimal yet creative style of cooking but have to ask- are these the actual sizes of the dishes? Prices seem pretty high- particularly on the scallop- if these are “actual size.” Although Allston was a totally different concept, I did appreciate having a casual, neighborhood-y (since it isn’t MY neighborhood!) place to go that was wallet-friendly. It really was such a deal!

  • Anne - Yes, these photos reflect the actual sizes of the dishes. And yes, the prices are quite high considering the portion size. A satiating dinner for two here excluding cocktails and wine would run about $120 to $150, I imagine.

  • wonderful review! been following you for a while, and your writing just gets better and better…such a pleasure!!

  • I was invited to go to Allumette as a blogger for the after party of a eco-fashion show that I covered at EPIC Shop for LA Fashion Week. I wasn’t able to make it, and I feel like I missed out! I think I will have to wait for my tax return to try it…though I just love multiple course meals. Great photography!

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