Alma | Downtown | Beignet, Contemporary, New American | Restaurant
On a barren corner of Broadway and Olympic in downtown L.A. sits Alma, chef Ari Taymor's fantasy-come-to-life. Taymor makes beignets with seaweed and tofu, a totally next-generation donut that is as fun to eat in its fried umami glory as it is tasty. Sablefish, lightly smoked and slick, comes on a plate with a tangle of apple and celery, sweet and vegetal and snappy and crunchy. A sunchoke soup, which is perhaps the one mainstay of the menu since the very first Alma pop-up, is poured over an egg yolk and a paste of smoked dates. The result is a silky, generous, surprising dish that seems like a musing on the earthy aspects of the color yellow. —Besha Rodell

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