L.A. has always been a great burger town — some would say the burger capital of the universe — but in recent years, we're making a dedicated push to become a truly stellar chicken sandwich town.
The march to chicken sandwich greatness has been gaining steam for many years. The Hungry Cat was certainly on the forefront of the chicken sandwich movement. When Son of a Gun opened in early 2011, the chicken sandwich there wowed diners and media alike. Later that year, Plan Check opened with a chicken sandwich that would become the stuff of legend.
More recently, the chicken sandwich at Night + Market Song has gained its own loyal following. Like many of these sandwiches, Night + Market Song's version is remarkable in part because it's a way to eat very well for not much money at all. At $9, you can fill up, even have a glass of wine and still get out for under $20.
Now Alimento has entered the race with a hulking beauty of a chicken milanese sandwich. Alimento chef Zach Pollack explains the ingredients and composition: "The bun is a gloriously light brioche that subs olive oil for butter; the chicken, a whole, boned thigh, is breaded in the style of a milanese cutlet rather than the batter-fried versions that dominate the market; a nest of thinly sliced prosciutto cotto makes it richer; pickles and a peperoncini slaw make it lighter; and a Calabrian chile mayo makes it devilishly spicy."
The result is a sandwich that absolutely belongs in the L.A. chicken sandwich hall of fame. At $14, it's also a way to stop by Alimento, sit at the bar and get what is basically a full meal for a decent price at what can otherwise be a pretty pricy restaurant.
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Pollack is honest about why he put it on the menu — it was because he wanted to eat it: "It's clearly not traditional Italian, but then neither is Alimento. The main reason, candidly, was selfish. It was not a case of my saying, 'What do people want when they come to Alimento? Let's give them precisely that!' But rather, 'What would I want to eat here?' and then, 'Can I make a badass version of it that I'm proud to put my name on?'"
Pollack says he has been a long fan of the chicken sandwiches at Canele and also Son of a Gun. "By the time I put one on the menu, the fried chicken sandwich was already a hot trend," he says, "but I don't believe a trend should be eschewed for the mere fact that it's trendy. If something is delicious and fills a niche that really no other food item quite does, why resist it?"