Top of the Class   4 comments


The distinction between a dining experience and consuming a meal is more than semantics. At Alma, Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant in America 2013, it’s an obvious dissimilarity.

Consider: the five- or seven-course menu are the only choices. Although asked about dietary restrictions, none were tested to see how they’d be resolved. For example, the New Zealand lamb is cooked to medium rare. If that was an issue, we were told, a substitution would be made. It was the chef’s way or not at all. Ultimately, the lamb, only a heartbeat away from a baahh, was melt-in-your mouth rich and tender enhanced by an almond milk sauce and new potatoes. Wait, I’m jumping ahead.


The repast comes with snacks: one-bite morsels worthy of larger plates. Mega-flavors are infused in pint-size portions. The first two snacks were previews of the creativity and range of textures/tastes awaiting our palates. My favorite was the quarter-size English muffin topped with burrata, uni and caviar. One bite wasn’t enough.

The meal featured smoked cod with Myer lemon and asparagus sauce; root vegetable soup poured over an egg yolk and Shitake mushrooms; octopus; the aforementioned lamb; and white chocolate semi-freddo with grapefruit and bitters. The final snack was a warm, glazed lemon curd-filled donut hole.

Alma exterior

Alma is inconspicuous; our server was vibrant and knowledgeable. The open kitchen is the size of a walk-in closet. Six chefs with varying duties choreographed a meal that will never be replicated. There’s no real menu.

The experience was enjoyable and enlightening; I ate everything. Still, it’s unlikely I’ll return. In a few weeks Alma will only offer a nine-course menu, further reducing the choices.

Four-and-a-half Plates
952 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, Calif.


4 responses to “Top of the Class

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  1. What a fun dining experience!

  2. thanks for sharing! alma is on our list of places to try soon!

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