If there’s one dish you have to try at Alimento – an Italian restaurant in Silver Lake, just minutes from Downtown LA – it’s the Tortellini in Brodo “al contrario”. While the traditional version of this dish showcases delicious meaty tortellini pasta floating in broth, at Alimento Zach Pollack (of Sotto fame) flips the gastronomic tables on you. The handmade tortellini is there, nestled in a sauce and covered in finely grated imported parmigiano, but it’s only when you take a bite that you realise the broth is inside the pasta. Not unlike a Shanghai soup dumpling in style, this is a playful interpretation of a northern Italian classic.
And that’s what the food at Alimento is all about; embracing Italian cuisine without being slavishly beholden to it. Take the “Pig in Blanket”; a typically American dish given an Italian makeover featuring rich, meaty mortadella, flaky spelt pastry, and a piquant hit of thin slices of brovada (pickled turnips). Other standouts on the tempting menu include the chicken liver crostone, served artistically deconstructed, and basically any of the pasta dishes; Chef Pollack knows good pasta.
While the space itself is minimal, it’s flooded with light and the ambience is relaxed. In fact, in the early evening, before the crowds pour in looking to chow down on Pollack’s creative dishes, Alimento feels like a quiet neighbourhood joint. While you’re there, don’t forget to sample the delights of the diverse wine list; it’s been assembled with international offerings, many biodynamic, and from both the small producers and heavy hitters. There’s also a decent selection of microbrews for those whose tastes lean towards the hoppy end of the booze spectrum.