Alimento | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Alimento

photo by Anne Fishbein

Zach Pollack’s new Silver Lake Italian joint masquerades as a small neighborhood hangout, but really there’s more than enough ambition on Alimento’s menu to qualify it as a destination. The chef — who gained renown as one half of the culinary team at Sotto — traveled extensively in Northern Italy to prepare for his first solo venture (both as chef and restaurateur), and the research shows. Pollack veers from highly traditional dishes, such as a gorgeously decadent maccheroncini pasta with chicken livers and Marsala, to playful takes on Americana, such as his “pig in a blanket”: A fat hunk of mortadella is sandwiched between two layers of flaky spelt pastry, then brightened up with three kinds of tang: pickled mustard seeds, Italian sauerkraut and a melty cow’s milk cheese called stracchinata. The space is spare, the wine list is great, and there are some truly standout things to eat from this kitchen — would that all neighborhood hangouts were this accomplished.  —Besha Rodell