Allumette is born of the Vagrancy Project, a pop-up launched by young chef Miles Thompson in February 2012. After hearing good things, Echo Park's Allston Yacht Club owners Charles Kelly and Bill DiDonna invited Thompson to bring the project to their restaurant two nights a week. They were so taken with him that they decided to shut down and reopen with a whole new concept, and Thompson in the kitchen full-time. Thompson, an alum of Animal and Son of a Gun, is cooking some of the most interesting, highly conceptual food around. At its best, it is complex, cerebral and delicious. From a plate of turnips and brown rice — actually vinegar-roasted turnips, grilled asparagus and brown rice mixed with kohlrabi, black sugar, lime juice and black vanilla-bean paste, along with blackberries and an oil made from burnt star anise and pumpkin seeds — to the best poached tuna you've ever had, much of what Thompson is putting out is nothing short of astonishing. Serena Herrick, behind the bar, is mixing some of the city's best cocktails to boot. 1320 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park. (213) 935-8787. allumettela.com. —Besha Rodell
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