This week, Jonathan Gold hits Hollywood to review Alma at the Standard Hollywood, Ari Taymor's temporary rebirth of his now shuttered Downtown restaurant. Remember, Taymor alleged that the enormous windfall of praise that he was awarded, everything from Bon Appétit's best new U.S. restaurant of 2013 and Food and Wine's Best New Chef, "may have set up unreasonable expectations in the minds of its customers," and contributed to the restaurant's ultimate downfall.
Controversy aside, Jonathan Gold exclaims:
But while the idea might make half the creative chefs in the world grind their teeth in rage — Alma at the Standard is probably a better restaurant than Alma: more consistent, more evenly paced and more fun. It is filled with people who want to have a great dinner rather than with gourmands looking to tick another famous restaurant off their list. You can have a cocktail if you want one. You don't have to reserve a month in advance.
Taymor's cooking is less precious than it was at his last restaurant — still technical, still digging deep flavors out of plants you have never once bought at Whole Foods, but less fussy somehow, more direct. His clam chowder may be basically an earthy root veloute where the clams (two) share space with cubed celery root and diced ham, but the diced vegetable has the hint of tartness and texture the soup needs. [LAT]
The Goldster recommends the English muffin with uni and burrata, cabbage and crushed avocado salad, roasted carrots and maitake, New York steak with sunchoke and pickled chanterelles, and parsley root and Fernet sundae.
The Elsewhere: Darin Dines enjoys a solid dineLA dinner at The Arthur J, Eddie Lin eats brains and trotters at Huolala in Monterey Park, and The Offalo revisits Tar & Roses.