This Week's Restaurant Review, The Condensed Version: Alma
Winter salad at Alma
Food: Chef Ari Taymor presents beautiful, meticulously plated plates of food that are intensely seasonal. It's the type of food you'd expect to find perhaps on high-end tasting menus, minus the luxury ingredients, plus a dash of youthful arrogance. Salads are often breathtaking in their precision and beauty, and there's a huge amount of creativity on display in dishes like sunchoke soup, which comes poured over an egg yolk and a paste of smoked dates.
Drink: From the review: "Alma only recently got a liquor license and now is serving a small selection of beer and wine, alongside the fantastic house-made sodas dreamed up by beverage director Chris Yamashiro. The wines, beers and ciders are geared to the food, with lighter and more herbaceous reds and idiosyncratic whites. There's beer from Spain and Norway and nowhere expected, and rustic cider that feels exactly right with this food."
Space: This is a small, sparse room on a quiet, almost barren stretch of Broadway downtown. That, plus Alma's tiny menu and reasonable prices make coming across it very much like coming across a small wooden box of grace and decorum in a post-apocalyptic world.
Service: Lead by co-owner Ashleigh Parsons, the service here is thoughtful, personal and friendly.
Takeaway: 3 stars (very good). Alma is almost an experiment, a lab where a chef figures out how to become truly excellent. But Taymor is well on his way to excellence, and taking part in the experiment is a lot of fun.
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