After solely offering takeout and delivery service during the pandemic, AL’S PLACE has reopened with table service on a new and revamped patio (takeout is on hold for now). I had a chance to check it out at a preview last week, and was so impressed with the stylish and safe atmosphere—there are eight tables along the side of the building, with transparent, suspended Plexi dividers between guests that are wiped down between table turns. There’s also punchy artwork and bright colors, along with the always-cool music they play at AL’s, which all energize the vibe—plus there are heaters. You’ll find hand sanitizer on the table (the new salt and pepper), and in order to turn the tables in a timely manner, you’ll be informed of a time limit at the beginning of your meal. They plan to add more seating with an outdoor parklet, but for now, those tables are their sole breadwinners, so be respectful of the reservations coming after you.
Chef-owner Aaron London has unleashed a new menu, with dishes that will rotate weekly, and boy, after doing a fair amount of cooking at home and eating mostly comfort food around town, it was such a treat to have a full-on flavor explosion! No one layers and plays with ingredients like Aaron and his team, with so much technique in play.
I chuckled over the ultra-moist (LOL) cornbread ($8) in the Snackles: the quenelle of peanut butter butter on the side is pure creamy creativity—inspired by a spicy satay sauce, it features peanuts cooked in pineapple skin oil, galangal, tamari, pickled chile, and garlic, and is melded in a Robo Coupe with butter. Yeah, like I’m gonna make that for my toast at home. So, get it—along with the stone fruit curry bright with Makrut lime and poha berries, the decadent yet summery king salmon in a divine allium broth/fumé with fish sauce, and the steak tartare with pickled kohlrabi was incredible paired with one of their low-ABV cocktails, same goes for their trademark brine-pickled French fries. Just tell your server the kinds of cocktails you like and they’ll matchmake you with a good one. (Whiskey lovers, try the Nod ‘n’ Mob with fino, Bonal, and campfire bitters.)
Enjoy the Indian summer weather while you can (since it’s in the Mission, evenings are extra-nice), with the final salute to summer ingredients (like the fig and Meyer lemon tart for dessert). Kudos to the team for their exquisite care and keeping it fun while we all smile from under our masks. Patio service Thu-Sun 5:30pm-10pm. Reserve online. 1499 Valencia St. at 26th St.
Here’s some unexpected news: the HOUSE OF NANKING in Chinatown (a new Legacy business!) is reopening today, Thursday October 1st, and for the first time in the restaurant’s 32-year history, they will be offering takeout and delivery, seven days a week. Chef Peter Fang’s menu will span some classics and new dishes, and family meals serving 4-6 people are also available. You can pick up some merch while you’re at it. Outdoor seating is also in the works. Open daily 11:30am-8:30pm. 919 Kearny St. at Jackson.
If you follow me on Instagram at @tablehopper, then you already saw my recap of the new TERRACE AT PALETTE in SoMa. Chef Peter J. Hemsley’s Cal-coastal menu is an extensive one, full of bites, starters, mains, and desserts. Begin with their awesome nori chips and glistening cubes of California big-eye tuna, and I know we have all been missing oysters. Peak season Fully Belly Farm tomatoes with salsa macha and grilled Bay halibut with baby fennel, peppers, and confit potatoes keep the summer vibes going. Save room for the Ortiz Farms strawberry confit with ricotta cheesecake, which comes with a divine sablé Breton for dessert.
Everything comes out on beautiful plateware and custom serveware, even the glassware is custom (there’s also a new cocktail list from Trevin Hutchins). The 60-foot Terrace has plants and good lighting, and there are some very thoughtful touches to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience, from heaters to hand sanitizer, and it will be ready for winter weather.
You’ll notice the eye-catching mural on the exterior of the building from artist Nathan Richard Phelps that extends out to the parklet, and there’s also a new gallery show you should be sure to check out, debuting October 2nd: Flavors of Photography, an exhibit dedicated to the work of Bay Area food photographers, including Caren Alpert, Ed Anderson, Maren Caruso, Molly DeCoudreaux, Aubrie Pick, Kelly Puleio, Eric Wolfinger, and more, 19 in all. On display until November 28th, open Tue-Sat 4pm-9pm.
The Palette at Home delivery service continues, with five percent of every to-go or delivery order going to the Bay Area Arts Worker Relief Funds. Open Tue-Sat 5pm-9pm. 816 Folsom St. at 4th St.
Just wanted to be sure you knew ~PERBACCO~ is back from their two-month break, and have reopened for sidewalk seating Mon-Fri 11:30am-8pm, takeout, and delivery.
If you’re looking for a new outdoor adventure, check out the Undiscovered SF Sunday Streets with Kultivate Labs, starting this Sunday October 4th, and running every Sunday for the month of October, 11am-4pm. There will be two blocks of car-free, daytime outdoor dining, artisan stands, a farmers’ market, and street art in SOMA Pilipinas, running along Folsom St. between 6th-8th Streets. Highlights include food and drinks from Mestiza Taqueria, Ox & Tiger, Uncle Tito, Basil Thai, Cat Club, Trademark & Copyright, and Decant SF. Sanitized and supervised public dining tables will be available, with sanitation stations, health screenings, and other proactive safety measures. Check out their site for more info and help support local business, artists, and more.
Last weekend, there were also streets closed in the Tenderloin in order for restaurants, merchants, and locals to be able to sit outside and enjoy some open space (I was so happy to see Vacation’s sidewalk sale of vintage clothes!). Streets will be closed to cars every Thursday-Sunday 8am-11pm, including parts of Golden Gate and Larkin. Read more here
The ultra-moist cornbread with peanut butter butter at AL’s Place. Photo: © tablehopper.com.