1499 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Why did we dine here? – Its hot hot hot! Al’s Place is a small 54 seat, one Michelin Star Restaurant from Aaron London (Ubuntu). We had previous dined at Ubuntu in Napa, so we were familiar with his cooking. He focuses on veggies but has several meat dishes on the menu for carnivores. Seating is definitely on the cramped side. The music is Very loud and features their special playlist. You can easily see what your neighbors are getting though!
We have tried lining up to snag one of the tables, but found we had to arrive 30-60 minutes early.. ouch. Aster was our second choice that time. Our last visit was in the summer of 2019.
Insider Tip – Line up and hour early, or make reservations way in advance
Cuisine – American – Vegetable Focus
Location – Mission District
Opened – 2015
Service – Al’s Place had solid service. Servers and helps were patrolling all the time. This restaurant is small, so they need to stay in sync. No issues with recommendations, pacing, and the like.
Verdict – Al’s Place is definitely inventive. The dishes are unique and well made. About the only dishes that are easily identifiable are the Steak and Steak Tartare. Definitely a great place for vegetarians.
5% for SF Mandated health care.
Is this restaurant worth a 5 minute drive? Yes. 30 minute? Maybe. 1 Hour? No.
Al’s Place Signature Dishes – yellow eye bean stew, trout.
Al’s Place’s Menu includes 7 snackles ($8 each), 4 cold dishes, 4 warm dishes, and 4 side dishes. There were 3 limited availability items on our visit fish mullet, fish comb over, and steak. You can also order a Family style tasting menu for $79/per person. The entire table must partake in it. The menu has not changed very much in 3 years.
Al’s Place Food Picks:
Be sure to ask for the awesome Josey Baker table bread.
Mr. Blue Cocktail ($10) La Quintinye, Umushu, Wormwood contained a huge ice cube. An interesting cocktail that was not particularly strong. Ice Town cocktail ($12) was had a lot of licorice flavor.
Fava’d Mushroom Broth Chawanmushi, Cherry, Pistachio ($8) is a great value. A modern American spin on a Japanese dish.
baby lettuces, herbed avocado, pistachio crumble ($18/35 for double sized) looked like a slightly arranged mess of greens and flowers. You eat with your hands, making this a messy but fun dish. The greens were definitely very fresh and included a wide variety.
Blistered Squash, Fava Hummus, Minted Raspberry, Hawaij Crunch ($17) was a good dish with a crunchy bite in each serving.
blistered and smoked brassicas, brocamole, burrata, quince vinegar ($17) is another unique vegetarian dish. Nice seared greed on top of a broccoli guacamole sauce. The smooth burrata seemed out of place though.
yellow eye bean stew, torn bread ($17) was a highlight of the evening. A must get warm, earthy stew perfect for a rainy night on our visit. Josey Baker bread is some of the best.
grits, goat’s milk curds, green peach, pickled beets, broccoli, yellowfeet ($16) is a rich vegetarian dish. Great for those folks. For others, it was a mish mash of flavors and textures.
smoked brisket, sieved egg, pickled mirepoix, maple mustard ($17) has interesting without BBQ sauce! It was pretty tender and fatty. Interesting combination with the other items on the plate. With the vegetable emphasis, this surprised us.
Steak Tartare, Pickled Kohlrabi, Black Mandarin, Horseradish ($18) was a well done classic. Bread was bit burnt.
35-Day Dry Aged Ribeye, Schug/ Tahini/ Labneh ($61 for 15oz) was available in 3 sizes. Certain to satisfy carnivores, but not particularly pretty. Comes with 3 different dipping sauces. Edge was a bit over spiced.
Hanger Steak, Smoked Salmon Butter Chimichurri, uni-balsamic ($17) was the better of the two meats. It looked pale but proved to be pretty good. Meat eaters must order this.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
brine pickled french fries, smoked apple sauce ($8) were fine, but nothing special. A little pedestrian for this high end place. The dipping sauce tasted weird!
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?