A First Look at Plin, Opening on Valencia Street Friday August 1st

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The bar at Plin. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The dining room and entry, as seen from the bar area. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The communal table at Plin, with a floating fish light fixture. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Eastland. As noted on tablehopper back in June, chef-restaurateur Alexander Alioto is opening an Italian restaurant called ~PLIN~ on Valencia Street in the former home of Conduit and Another Monkey. It’s opening on Friday August 1st, and we got a first look into the interior.

Alioto has his whole family involved in the project (after all, he is a fourth generation restaurateur), and his mother, Joanne, helped with the interior design (Architects II designed the restaurant). It’s a large space, with seating for 100 in the 3,700-square-foot space. There is also a glass-walled private dining room in back, with seating for twelve. The bar area has about ten seats at the bar, with additional tall tables nearby. In the dining room, a long communal table stretches from the entrance back to the kitchen, while banquettes divide the room into two dining areas, with leather upholstery and walnut tabletops.

The light fixtures are a nod the restaurant’s focus on seafood, with organic shapes that reflect the ocean and its inhabitants. Over the communal table, three lit wire pieces from Jan Pauwels are designed to evoke floating fish, while blown glass pendants over the bar resemble bubbles. The whole front wall is lined with wood-sashed square windows that allow light to stream in, while also providing some distance from the busy street. The back wall, which has a large picture window into the kitchen, has been done in small, iridescent tile that resembles the scales of a particularly fabulous fish (or mermaid, really).

The seafood- and pasta-focused menu includes Alioto’s much-discussed raviolo uovo, as well as the namesake agnolotti dal plin stuffed with chicken, lemon zest, brown butter, and chicken skin. There is also a raw tuna dish with figs, mascarpone cream, and balsamic vinegar, as well as a fried lobster dish with onion and mushroom consommé. (The menu should be posted on the site soon.)

At the bar, Daniel Federico (of Harvard & Stone in Los Angeles) has created a selection of Italian-inspired and seasonal drinks, like the Americano Sour with rye whiskey, Carpano Antica, Cappelletti Aperitivo, lemon, and egg white. Nunzio Alioto Jr., Alexander’s father, and Chuck Furuya are responsible for the wine list, which will include a selection of wines by the glass and half glass, as well as a reserve list.

The restaurant’s hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-11pm. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-655-9510.