Authenticity, one of the top factors driving consumer cravability, is also one of the key elements of Al Bacio Ristorante, a new restaurant located on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, California, at the site formerly occupied by Osteria Drago. Al Bacio offers menu items that are scratch made using top-shelf ingredients imported from Italy, prepared by a chef from Venice (Italy, not California).
Focused on authentic Italian cuisine, dishes are created with ingredients such as Acquerello rice, Mulino Sobrino flour, Mozzarella di Bufala, and fresh truffles. All of the dishes are made on premise, including its pastas and sorbets.
Christian Simionato, Executive Chef of Al Bacio, began his career as Chef de Partie at the Hotel Casale in Aosta, Italy and later held the same position at the Michelin two-star Piccolo Lago in Verbania, Italy. Relocating to London, Simionato honed his talents at the renowned Italian bakery, Princi, and later at L’Anima under Chef Francesco Mazzei. In 2010, Chef Marco Sacco (Piccolo Lago) and Chef Andera Tranchero approached Simionato to open the River Club restaurant in Beijing, creating a menu that bridged Asian and Italian cultures and earned the restaurant critical acclaim. Simionato came to the U.S. at the invitation of Chef Jean Pierre Dubray to serve as sous chef at Andrea, the five-star dining establishment at The Resort at Pelican Hill, a luxury resort located in Newport Beach, California.
Simionato’s kitchen philosophy, which he shares with owner Roberto Saracino, emphasizes authenticity, and is focused on quality and execution. In addition to Italian products imported from small specialized farms, Simionato uses ingredients from trusted local West Coast farmers. Al Bacio means “kiss of approval,” as in the gesture Italians commonly make to indicate approval of a delicious dish.
Pasta entrees include Bucatini, with Pork Cheek Amatriciana and Baked Ricotta Cheese; 1-Year Aged Acquerello Risotto, with Quail Braised Ragu; and Orecchiette with Sausage Rapini Sauce. Main courses include Seared Dover Sole, served with Butternut Squash Puree and Roasted Artichokes; Lamb Chops, served with Rustic Roasted Potatoes, Pecorino Cheese, and “Salmoriglio“ Sauce; and Chicken Cacciatora with Chanterelle Mushrooms.
For Saracino, Al Bacio Ristorante represents the culmination of a lifelong passion. He owns a high-end Italian foods import business, Liaison West, in nearby Huntington Beach that supplies premium-grade imported food products and ingredients for a number of top restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Saracino’s partners include long-time collaborators Gennaro Pirozzi, owner of Casearia Casabianca, the company that hand makes the Mozzarella di Bufala, and Antonio Galdiero.
By Joann Whitcher