Last Saturday we ate at Al's place in the outer Mission. We loved it.
I often am perplexed by the design and decor of restaurants. But I love the design of this place which feels stylish, clean and warm with well balanced lighting. Service was friendly and warm.
Here is what we ate:
Snacks: pickled shiitake mushroom tempura with quince mayonnaise. More like a fritter than tempura. I didn't like this. The mushrooms were a bit bland and mushy. Husband liked it more than me.
Black kale, chanterelle, fig leaf/miso, eggplant mayo, yuzu. Excellent. Fig leaf imparts a very unusual woodsy distinctive flavor. It really shines and elevates this dish. I wish I could recreate an approximation of this delicious salad at home.
grits, goat's milk curds, fried brussels sprouts, quince, chanterelle. We were a fan of chef Aaron's grits dishes from when he was back at Ubuntu in Napa. I am happy to say this dish was as good if not better than I remember from the Ubuntu days. We had it with the addition of a poached egg which I recommend.
Porkbelly with kimchee, Galangal soda and bok choy. Excellent bold flavors and tender pork belly. The porkbelly tasted vaguely pastrami-ish, smokey and spicy.
Mullet fish- this was on the specials menu. We ordered it thinking it was the fish red mullet which we love but mullet was actually a reference to the haircut which is vaguely how the dish looks. The fish is actually a sustainably farmed local trout. In any case we were really glad we ordered it because it was the star dish of the evening. Served with a tasty garlic dip. Simply prepared and presented, in our mouth it added up to more than the sum of its parts. It was delicious, rich and deeply flavored, one of the most memorable things we have eaten all year.
Parmesan congee with truffle. A splurge for us ($49). Pricy though the serving of truffles was generous. It was very tasty.
A Loire Valley Cabernet franc from their wine list was a great match with the food.