MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Vegetables are the star of the menu at this bright blue oasis on busy Valencia Street, even though it adheres to a mostly pescatarian philosophy, with meat options also available on the side. Chef/owner Aaron London (a.k.a. AL) is wildly adept with the seasons’ bounty, making a dish of blistered squash with pickled kohlrabi, hummus and creamy burrata feel as complex and luxurious as the offerings at a steakhouse. London’s menu is chockablock with creativity, from the brine-pickled French fries and flavorful ras el hanout olives that kick off each meal, to the silky grits topped with tangy goat’s milk curds, Brussels sprouts, chanterelles and yuzu. At times, the combinations can read like a five-car pile-up—cured trout, mashed turnips and bagna cauda? But the crew always manages to smoothly navigate the layers of flavor, blazing new trails in diners’ imaginations. Like the menu, Al's space is bright, open and cheerful, with plenty of natural light, bold colors and a casual but engaging staff. Embrace this energy, perhaps with a glass of French wine or a craft beer, and let the boisterous, creative spirit of the restaurant win you over.