Zach Pollack hopes to add to Silver Lake's already burgeoning restaurant scene with Thursday's opening of his first solo restaurant, Alimento.
Pollack's style is regional Italian with a twist. In past projects, Pollack formed his menus by relying on strict southern Italian traditions. With Alimento, Pollack will pull from all regions and update them into something less traditional and more loosely inspired.
"I have the utmost respect for classic Italian cuisine," said Pollack, "and for that reason I'm going to tinker with it."
He hopes to bring the flair he learned through his studies in Italy to Alimento, which translates to "food" or "nourishment." Pollack found his deep connection to the cuisine of Italy while studying abroad in Florence, finding inspiration through the Florentine open-air markets.
Pollack returned to America with a completely altered career path, and headed to L.A. to get in the kitchen. After working for Neal Fraser at Grace, Pollack reaffirmed his passion for all things Italian. He spent two years working in every region of Italy, eventually coming back to Los Angeles and finding Steve Samson as a partner. Together they opened Sotto, which was almost instantly popular.
Now Pollack is on his own for the first time with Alimento. "Of course, I'm nervous," he said. "Being on your own is a totally new, multifaceted experience."
Alimento features locally sourced ingredients. The menu includes small plates, pastas and family-style platters. Alimento's menu includes chopped salad amigliorata, cotechino, pig in a blanket (the grown-up version), mackerel conserva, maccheroncini, rye tagliatelle, whole wheat bigoli, bone-in pork shank affumicato, and whole snapper spacata.
"I want this place to have something for everyone," Pollack said, "You could have a multi-course extravaganza, or just a fun night with friends."
The restaurant will also offer an extensive wine list. Pollack insists that the wines available are made from small producers, and are rare and eclectic. The wine selection rotates, featuring winemakers from the United States, Italy and elsewhere.
In keeping with a cuisine that walks the line between classic and modern, Alimento's decor has rustic and modern elements. The restaurant uses repurposed and recycled materials to be ecologically minded, but takes inspiration from Silver Lake's culture with pops of color and a Mid-Century design. Pollack decided to be a bit unconventional with the restaurant's design.
“The benches in here are old church pews that I got on EBay,” Pollack added. “The ceiling is just plywood!”
Alimento is small, seating only 48 people, but Pollack hopes it makes a big impression.
For reservations, visit Alimento's website.