The Vagrancy Project launches at Allston Yacht Club
A pop-up restaurant called the Vagrancy Project has taken up long-term residence at Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park every Monday and Tuesday night through Labor Day. The chef is Miles Thompson, a former executive sous chef at Son of a Gun. Joining him is mixologist Nathan Oliver, who mixed at Ink before decamping to Harvard & Stone.
Monday night was the first night so I swung by to check it out. Two seatings are offered each night, one at 6:30 p.m. and one at 9 p.m. The menu changes daily and is presented as a five-course prix-fixe with optional drink pairings. There is also a bar menu with a separate list of large and small plates.
Last night's menu consisted of oysters; smoked trout with cherry, cress and lettuce; octopus with hibiscus, cucumber and honey; loup de mer with boba, miso and shitake; and cheesecake with walnut, maple and sour cream.
On offer at the bar: Chorizo with grapefruit and Robiola on toast (kind of like a bizarro Welsh rarebit and my favorite of the bunch); cuttlefish salad with flageolet, peppers and purslane; rillettes de porc with romaine, Caesar and pretzel; and quail with rhubarb, kuromitsu and lime.
Oliver's creative cocktail list included several home-bottled offerings including a classic Frisco-Rittenhouse 100, Benedictine that he encouraged patrons to pour and garnish themselves--a fun DIY approach to bartending. There was also a delicious cocktail of rum, coconut, lime Angostura bitters and almond that tasted toasted and summery.
Thompson is using Vagrancy at AYC as a stepping stone toward his dream of opening his own restaurant, which he wants to call Cottage.
"Miles is my best friend, we met acting together and he left acting to go to cooking," said server Jarrett Sleeper, who worked at Lindy & Grundy, adding that they had butchered the suckling pig used on that night's menu themselves. "And he's one of those frustratingly genius people. We would do small dinners for friends and then it just took off from there."
Photos: Top, Chorizo with grapefruit and Robiola on toast; bottom, cocktail of rum, coconut, lime Angostura bitters and almond. Credit: Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times