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Monday, February 23, 2015

AL's Place Offers Vegetarians and Their Meat-Loving Friends an Unusual Meal

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 10:52 AM

click to enlarge Mixed Brassicas, Sudachi, Pickled Radish, Wild mushrooms came in a delicious savory broth, and was one of our favorite dishes of the night. - ALIX WALL
  • Alix Wall
  • Mixed Brassicas, Sudachi, Pickled Radish, Wild mushrooms came in a delicious savory broth, and was one of our favorite dishes of the night.

A few days later,  we’re still not sure what we think about titling a menu section “Snackles.” But besides that, we enjoyed an early meal at AL’s Place, the new restaurant from Chef Aaron London, who took over when Chef Jeremy Fox left Ubuntu, the outstanding vegetable-celebrating restaurant in Napa that closed in 2012.

With its teal exterior and not-too-clinical white interior, the restaurant gives off a bit of a beach-y vibe, all the more noticeable in this outer Mission corner spot.

The servers are appropriately tattooed for this part of town, but we found them present and not hipster aloof, as so often can be the case.

Given that Ubuntu became known for being a Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant whose chefs weren’t vegetarians themselves, the menu at AL’s Place puts meat in the "Sides" section of the menu,  though fish does appear in some of the larger dishes. The plates are, of course, meant for sharing.

We found the quince romesco in the "snackle" of chickpeas a la Catalan to be sweeter than we're familiar with, and the dish to be an unusual starter.

The theme of unusual was carried out throughout our meal, as I can’t say I ever had combinations like the ones I had at AL’s Place.

A brassica dish with wild mushrooms, pickled radishes, and sudachi, a Japanese citrus, featured brightly-hued roasted romanesco, baby broccoli and cauliflower in an savory mushroomy broth. A yellow-eye bean stew with torn Josey Baker Bread was more soup-like than stew, with a rich red base that was both sweet and spicy. Burrata came with artichoke hearts, currant sofrito, and potato two ways: skin coating the creamy dairy bomb, and a puree below.

While we didn’t fall in love with every dish, we definitely felt that this place is one to watch, especially as the seasons change.

AL’s Place, 1499 Valencia.
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About The Author

Alix Wall

Alix Wall

Alix Wall is an Oakland-based freelance writer and certified natural foods chef. Her web site is


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