Fresh, seasonal vegetables and seafood headline this fantastic Mission District restaurant, where Chef Aaron London has managed to deftly recast proteins in a supporting role. Straddling a sunny corner, Al's Place sports a bright blue façade and a kind of cheery, seaside, and retro-chic interior where tables are set with kitchen towel napkins and pendant lights glint against the natural light flooding into every corner. The service staff is friendly and attentive, but delightfully unfussy. The restaurant's mix-and-match menu is easily shared, and dishes are light, incredibly flavorful and informal in all the right ways. Chef London combines thought-provoking flavors (think sunchoke and black lime) with ease, layering dimensions you didn't know existed. A soft and creamy plate of burrata finds its match in a coat of crunchy potato chips, and is plated with nutty potato skin mousse, grilled young asparagus, currant soffritto, and Miner's lettuce; while tonnarelli is paired with vibrant green garlic purée, citrusy bergamot and briny, grated bottarga. For dessert, don't miss the buttery Meyer lemon tart, studded with sweet strawberries and served with creamy lavender ice cream.
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