What’s drawing crowds to Al’s Place? For one, the fact that this airy space looks like it should be in a fancy beach town rather than in the middle of the city. Or maybe it’s the fact that the food is really good.
The schtick of this Mission spot is that meats are sides—as in, you can order a side of hangar steak. This could seem cutesy, and we’d probably be less forgiving if almost every single dish we’d had—meat or otherwise—wasn’t extremely delicious.
There’s a pescetarian slant to the menu, so ideally you hit this place with people who are into the sea meats too. Even though everything is under $20, the plates aren’t big and you need to order lots of stuff, so you can end up spending money pretty quickly. Every table of assorted humans around us seemed to be enjoying their dinner more than the usual Friday night go-to meal, and the energy carries from table to table in an addictive way.
The plating and delivery are beautiful, so if you get excited about dishes that feature pretty colors and could illustrate a cookbook, you’ll be psyched. Somehow, despite the modern art-style platings, Al’s doesn’t feel precious. There’s a relaxed, friendly, flip-flops-on attitude that we, and pretty much anyone, should be able to get behind.
The menu at Al’s Place changes with what’s in season. But here’s what you can expect.
Brine Pickled French Fries, Smoked Apple Sauce
Brined for 96 hours with a vegan barbecue sauce, served up on a little metal tray. The sauce was delightful, but the fries were a bit too dense and chewy.
Baby Lettuces, Herbed Avocado, Pistachio Crumble
The citrus dressing on this one is amazing, and the herbed avocado puree is super good too. We would like to suggest that all salads be served on top of an avocado base.
Sunchoke Curry, Black-Lime Cod, Grapefruit
The creamy curry gets artfully poured at the table over the cod and grapefruit. Get this and it’ll be the runaway hit of the night.
Tonnarelli, Green Garlic
Ideal al dente pasta with a strong green garlic sauce. We love this.
Asparagus, Burrata, Currant Sofrito, Potato Chips & Skin Puree
The asparagus (or whatever vegetable’s seasonal) come straight out of the garden, and served up fresh with some quality burrata. You’ll want to get this for the cheese alone. Also, the fancy take on potato chips is not messing around.
Jowl Ham, Seaweed, Anchovies
The jowl is similar to pork belly, which we can definitely get down with. It’s super rich and buttery, and the combo with the seaweed and anchovies tastes amazing.