If you've been dreaming of Ari Taymor's artful, vegetable-driven dishes since Alma closed at the end of October, there is happy news. Taymor and his partner Ashleigh Parsons are bringing their lauded restaurant back, at least for a few months.
Starting Dec. 8, Alma will reopen for a three-month residency at the Standard, Hollywood, a swank hotel on Sunset Boulevard which has an in-house restaurant where Alma will temporarily live. As Alma began life as a pop-up before opening as a permanent restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, there is a kind of symmetry to this.
For the uninitiated, Alma was a tiny experimental restaurant on South Broadway in downtown L.A. that was open for only three years — during which time it was named Bon Appetit's best new restaurant (in 2013), and Taymor was named Food & Wine's best new chef (in 2014) and nominated a James Beard Rising Star Chef (in 2015). All this, it should be said, before Taymor was 30.
Now that he's back in the kitchen, Taymor will be cooking some of Alma's signature dishes — frozen duck liver with granola and carrots; hay-roasted potato with goat's milk and lovage — as well as some new ones. His plates are orchestrated like still-life paintings, composed of foraged greenery, seasonal produce and highly curated ingredients.
"The food will be very much Alma," said Taymor the other day. "We're stoked to be able to cook again."
Which of course begs the question of whether Alma will return as more than a temporary restaurant anytime soon. Taymor says that he and Parsons are open to the idea of a new restaurant, but haven't been looking for a permanent home quite yet. Now that he's got a kitchen, though, the chef is bringing his own team with him, including staff from both the front and the back of the house at Alma.
Alma at the Standard, Hollywood will be open seven nights a week, serving all a la carte dishes — no tasting menu. "Our goal is to be accessible," says Taymor.
As for why the Standard, Taymor says that "they've been very supportive of us; it's a collaboration of the truest sense."
Alma's residency will run from Dec. 8 through the end of February, seven nights a week: Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 to 11 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to midnight.
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