Thanks to you, Boss is now a regular at Sotto. You, on the other hand, are more East Side inclined – the further you get from Century City, the better it tastes. Maybe that’s why Sotto’s Zach Pollack opened Alimento – a homey Italian spot with a reasonable, flush wine list.
Nestled just south of the Silver Lake reservoir, Alimento is appropriately situated near all-caps locales like LAMILL, OK and MILK. Less suits, comb-overs and button-downs, more raw denim, top buns and sleeve tattoos (pretty much the same amount of suspenders). Alimento is Sotto’s hip, millennial nephew.
Pollack cherry-picks favorite dishes from all over Italy for his constantly changing menu. He folds authentic, Italian flavors into meals that are light, airy and… well… Californian. We’re talking Creamy Vitello Tonnato from Piedmont, re-envisioned as thinly sliced veal tongue with a light tuna puree dressing and an acidic pickle slaw. And Tortellini en Brodo from Emilia-Romagna, turned inside out into bite-size soup-dumplings with grilled mortadella accents and a Parmesan garnish. Expect fights over ordering, because there are almost too many dreamy dishes to choose from, and table space is limited.
If push comes to shove, be obstinate about the Chicken Liver Crostone. The thick, rich liver is whipped, then painted onto the plate alongside charred bread and candied quince. It’s so close to foie gras it’s criminal. If you’re really hungry, try the Whole Grilled Orata, served over a chickpea puree and covered head-to-tail in spicy Calabrian chile pesto. FOMO when the clam fusilli go down on the table to your left. FOMO when the pigs in a blanket go down on the table to your right. Even the chopped salad will catch you looking – and you don’t even like chopped salad. You will have to come back on a cheat-day, when you know to save room for the chocolate budino – because wasting a single spoonful is heartbreaking.
When it comes to washing it down, you’re better off gambling in the restaurant than paying corkage and going rogue in SilverLake Liquor Shop. After all, Sottos’ sommelier Rory Harrington has been up-selling Boss on incredibly, heavy hitting limited vintages of Emidio Pepe for years. Alimento, on the other hand, has Ryan Wenger – Pollack’s east-side somm, who you can trust to get you out of your wheelhouse with some funky barnyard bangers.
The takeaway: enjoy Alimento while you can – before West Hollywood eats Silver Lake, the $5 valet jumps to $15, and Boss buttons his shirt… all the way to the top.
By Jeff Iloulian