Italian, All Grown Up
Seasoned chef? Check. An arsenal of solid handmade pastas? Check. Prime Silver Lake location? Check.
The Westside (and Downtown, for that matter) better watch its back: Alimento, Zach Pollack's new venture, checks off all the requisite boxes for a successful new restaurant.
But it's also got a few tricks up its sleeve. The menu may list familiar rustic fare—chicken liver crostone, ragu-sauced tagliatelle—but Pollack, also the chef-owner of Sotto, fuses homespun comfort with thoughtful refinement and tongue-and-cheek originality, making Italian food feel completely new.
For instance, what's described as a "pig in a blanket" ($11) layers a thick cut of mortadella, gooey stracchino cheese, kraut-like shreds of turnip, mustard seeds and tomato jam between buttery, flaky spelt pastry—one of the best things we tasted. Tortellini en brodo "al contrario" ($14) are pillowy handmade dumplings bathed in a pool of melted butter that burst with a mouthful of meaty broth—an unorthodox riff on xiao long bao.
From top, clockwise: Escolar crudo, pig in a blanket, Alimento's cozy interior
Even chopped salad "amigliorata" ($14) improves the ho-hum standard with a mix of little gems, kale, escarole and radicchio topped with chickpea crumble and feta-chickpea fritters. A few bites remind you that this ain't the usual red sauce joint—this is Italian cooking all grown up.
Alimento also has the trappings of a neighborhood restaurant—an intimate, light-filled, white-walled dining room; friendly and knowledgeable staff; unfussy, closely set tables. Date nighters can slide into a spot at the eight-seat marble bar and dip thick slices of house-made bread and vegetables into Bagna Caoda ($29)—unapologetic chunks of garlic and anchovy steeping in butter served in a warm fondue pot. Groups can share elegant pastas, like squid ink radiatori ($16), ribbed ringlets dressed with red-wine braised squid slices, mussels, sliced snap peas, tangy dried tomatoes and toasted breadcrumbs.
Even the desserts have a few surprises, such as a chocolate budino ($7) layered caramel, whipped cream and sweetened bread cubes.
If this is what grown-up Italian tastes like, we're fine with being a little more adult.
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