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La Mill After Dark

I confess: I’m kind of crushed out on La Mill. I know the coffee shrine is more bourgeois than a lot of Silverlakistas might prefer, and although Adrian Vasquez’s croissants are beyond excellent, for a lot of people they don’t come close to compensating for the (unrelated) loss of the Back Door Bakery up the block. The staff of the Michaelangelo restaurant across the street sometimes glare at the Bugaboo-pushing, Pilates-toned, Prius-driving La Mill customers as if they alone were responsible for the boutiquing of the neighborhood, and as I finish off the last bites of a Tasmanian-char carpaccio or a $12 ham-and-cheese sandwich, I have to concede that they may have a point. Even I have trouble wrapping my mind around the degustation menus the place has planned, with a different coffee matching every course, or coffee savant Eton Tsuno’s excitement about what he terms “savory notes” and what you might call coffee that tastes like Campbell’s tomato soup.

But the food, molecular-gastronomy-tinged stuff designed by Providence chef Michael Cimarusti, is easily the most exciting cooking at this price point in Los Angeles. And the restaurant is finally open for dinner, which means you can now have that Tasmanian char even if you don’t have the leisure to be kicking around Silver Lake at noon, as well as actual dinner entrées like a hanger steak with an impossibly complicated watercress purée, duck breast sous-vided to within an inch of its life and crisped with honey and a sprinkle of the Sri Lankan curry called vadouvan, and a big, crunchy-skinned hunk of that Tasmanian char with mushrooms and soy. Desserts are basically straight out of the Providence playbook. If you needed further incentive to visit La Mill, there are now French fries, cooked with the same attention to detail as its potato chips.1636 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 663-4441.

Also read Jonathan Gold's Counter Intelligence article on La Mill, and see Anne Fishbein's gallery of photos