Yesterday afternoon the news came in that Allumette, the Echo Park restaurant, will close at the end of next month. It's a surprise, certainly, but also almost as much of a surprise that the restaurant lasted as long as it did.
I don't say this dismissively - I'm a fan of chef Miles Thompson's cooking, a fan of bartender Serena Herrick's cocktails, and a fan in general of weird little restaurants in up-and-coming neighborhoods that play by their own rules. But those restaurants are a gamble, always. From the first meal I ate at Allumette I worried that its days were numbered, not because it was flawed (which it was, slightly) but because it was so unexpected.
"I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to explore cuisine at Allumette and can't express enough how much I appreciate those who have championed us over the last year and a half," Thompson told me yesterday. "It has been an incredible experience."
Allumette grew out of a pop-up, the Vagrancy Project, which Thompson ran after working at Animal and Son of a Gun. He popped up with Vagrancy at the Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park and so impressed owners Charles Kelly and Bill DiDonna that they offered him the space for his own restaurant. Allston Yacht Club closed and Allumette was born in January 2013. There's no word yet on what Kelly and DiDonna plan to do with the space now.
In every other respect, this had been an incredibly exciting time for Thompson and Allumette. In the past few months, the restaurant has appeared on every major list of L.A.'s most noteworthy restaurants - on our 99 Essentials list, on Los Angeles Magazine's list of the 75 Best Restaurants in town, and on Jonathan Gold's L.A. Times list of 101 best restaurants. It appeared on Bon Appetit's list of the Best New Restaurants of 2013.
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Last week, Thompson cooked at the James Beard House in New York City. In previous months, he introduced a tasting menu - only format to the dining room, a move that usually denotes a fair amount of confidence.
Allumette will remain open until June 28, so the good news is that you still have time to check out Thomson's cooking before it goes away. I'm confident it will resurface soon, in one form or another.