Silver Lake diner makes room for fine-dining pop up

Young Garlic Soup. Photo by Valentina Silva

Duck with mushrooms & fava beans. Photo by Valentina Silva

By Valentina Silva

Millie’s has gone fine dining. Well, sort of. Alma, a pop-up concept by Chef Ari Taymor and Front-of-the-House manager Dinelle Lucchesi, has taken over the Silver Lake diner after hours on 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 featuring 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 27, and the menu changes constantly. It’s cash only and BYOB. You can make a reservation at Urbanspoon.

Valentina Silva writes about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her blog, Eastside Food Bites.


  1. Jeezy H Christy-Christ

    that doesn’t look the least bit appetizing.
    i think i’ll just get a pizza at Masa or a burrito at any of the lunchtrucks and save me 50 dollars for some topshelf greens or dranks.

  2. Definitely pricey for a sitting at Millie’s. But it’s new and everybody loves a pop-up.

  3. “How fallen are the mighty”… whence the populist Millie’s of old…

  4. Pretentious, overpriced, unappetizing food in a tiny, pop-up setting.

    The hipster sheep will be happy to use a little bit of the scratch that gets deposited into their checking account by mommy and daddy to support this lame trend.

    What sort of niceties do theses restaurants provide for Valentina’s “support” anyway? I think we’d all be pretty interested.

  5. Considering that dinner here’s gonna cost you at least $100 bucks for 2 people, a cash-only policy is not very accommodating. Aggressive, almost.

    Food looks good, though.

  6. Sheesh whys everybody so uptight. We all love the $ 5 dollar burrito truck but its a fun once and a while thing to try good, thoughtful well prepared fresh food. If you can’t afford it don’t go but don’t hate because its out of your price range. I think its sounds delish I say good luck! Not crazy about the fact its at Millies though.

  7. @djbentobox, I’ve never been given anything by any restaurants for any of my reviews here. I always pay my own hard-earned money as I did for this meal.

    Also, I don’t see what’s wrong with splurging for a nice meal made with top-notch ingredients by a talented young chef. Is culinary school only for hipsters now too? Give me a break.

    • oh yea u must be new. Bento is the resident crank. “Hipster Sheep” is his favorite phrase. Hes mainly here for a sorta politically incorrect comic relief but don’t bother taking him too seriously, no one else here does.

  8. @valentina – – – don’t be discouraged be commenters that inevitably refer to anything new or different in the neighborhood as being that dreaded purview of ‘hipsters’ (the most boring, played-out, catch-all insult there is at this point). Thanks for the heads- up on this – of course there’s nothing wrong with good food in our neighborhood. It’s not like anyone is taking away all the other choices we have, this is just one more. Why would anyone be against more variety in EP?

  9. I think the young garlic soup needs more time to grow before I’d eat it. That’s either a very small portion – or a very big bowl.

  10. thanks for covering this! these naysayers do not represent our community who are supportive of artists and experimentalists. $55 is an amazing price to pay for an evening of artistic expression that fills your belly. if you need any proof, wait 2 hours for a table at Black Hogg down the street on any given night. good luck to Chef Ari and continue sharing our hood’s bounty, Valentina! taking credit cards may not be a bad idea – suck up the merchant fees and sign up for a square account.

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