Millie’s has gone fine dining. Well, sort of. Alma, a pop-up concept by Chef Ari Taymor and Front-of-the-House Dinelle Lucchesi, has been taking over the Sunset Boulevard diner after hours Thursday through Sunday. My advice: go.
For $55, you get around six courses, plus a few extras—each more inventive than the last. I haven’t been this excited by a meal in a long time. From start (an artfully plated, color-conscious root vegetable crudite) to finish (Shichimi-spiced kettle corn), the experience was totally worth the price of admission.
The hands-down highlight of the night, for me, was the rich and silky young garlic soup with a poached egg plopped in the center. The heavens opened up once the yolk was broken, and green onion relish acted as an exclamation point. Also impressive was the onion chicharron topped with smoked crème fraiche. The crunchy-creamy/sweet-savory effect was mirrored by its companion, a savory seaweed beignet drizzled with yuzu koshu and lime. The combination made for a lusty deep fried course.
The main event was a succulent duck, which appeared with that perfect golden brown skin and tender pink meat you always hope for when duck is on the menu. Simple and earthy, the dish was rounded out by fava beans and chantrelle mushrooms instead of being camouflaged in sauce.
Other perks included a house-made Squirt soda made with hibiscus and habanero, plus two desserts—a play on bananas foster and raw milk curd with strawberry and pistachios.
Note: The Alma pop-up continues through May 27th, and the menu changes constantly. It’s cash only and BYOB. You can make a reservation at Urbanspoon.
Salad photo (top left corner) by Brian McGinn, courtesy of Alma.