Last week, Bon Appétit released its list of the 50 contenders for best new restaurants in the country, and L.A. fared very well, garnering five mentions, as many as any other city, for Allumette, Alma, Chi Spacca, Hinoki and the Bird and Bar Ama. Today, it released the final list of 10 Best New Restaurants, and the No. 1 best new restaurant in the nation, according to restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton, went to Alma, Ari Taymor's spare, modernist downtown eatery.
Alma was the only L.A. restaurant on the final list, and Knowlton had this to say about his No. 1 pick:
[Taymor's] food isn't easy or expected. There's no script or formula: His plating is refreshingly free-form, and he excels at pairing seemingly opposing flavors with stunning results. On paper, chilled artichoke soup with burnt avocado and succulents didn't strike me as genius. It just sounded like cold soup. But after a few spoonfuls, all those ingredients — the grassy artichoke, charred avocado and salty sea beans — became something way more than the sum of their parts. Every odd-sounding dish I tried — uni and cauliflower, crab with turnip and sea lettuces, 10-day dry-aged pigeon — initially had me scratching my head. But, like a song whose discordant chords flow into a harmonious chorus, the flavors united, almost by magic.
It's great to see the home team get some much-deserved accolades. Huge congrats to Taymor and his crew.