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Allumette
Next-level eats in Echo Park

Los Angeles

Taking the place of Rafer's favorite tea-time hang (Allston Yacht Club), Allumette's a naked-looking (ooh la la!) Echo Parkstaurant serving up food that seriously looks like it's from (and could win) any season ever of Top Chef.

Honestly, this stuff tastes even better than it looks, thanks to a stove jockey who did time at Animal and started the Vagrancy Project, where he developed multi-flavor shared-plates like this squab breast w/ totally-not-made-up ingredients like date soubise, baharat, and cinnamon labne.

Fish-wise, there's this striped-jack sashimi w/ rice crackers, kiwi, mustard miso, and blood orange.

The cavatelli's not just multi-flavored but multi-temperatured, with a cold English pea puree (not that kind), fall-apart warm poached mushrooms, an uni ragu sauce, and fromage noir.

Then there're these pork dumplings, which're topped with tarragon, vinegar, salmon roe, and -- like Rip Torn's Screwdriver -- a hint of citrus.

The piece de resistance? A to-share bavette steak with egg yolk, arrowleaf spinach, crepe, and what you're really hoping to give your girlfriend for Valentine's Day (XO sauce).

And of course there's a bar, with boozy drinks from a tatted chick who used to do time at Harvard & Stone.

Shakens include this Last Ango (w/ Angostura bitters, rum, orgeat, pineapple, and lime), and the Le Systeme Solaire, a sherry-based cock(!)tail w/ vermouth and bergamot bitters.

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1. Allumette 1320 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Located in Echo Park, Allumette is the brainchild of Chef Miles Thompson, with owners Charles Kelly and Bill DiDonna expanding on the idea of "apartment dining". Ignore the lack of decor and focus on the food, which could single-handedly trump just about every Top Chef there ever was.

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