Eating: Al’s Place
CRAVE: The stew, pasta, and steak dishes. And their dessert.
I’ve always been a planner, and I’ve always been an eater.
In that way, I’m always making reservations for restaurants even if I don’t have a dinner date, hoping I can pull in a friend or my boyfriend to go with me.
Al’s Place got rave reviews throughout 2015 and was named the Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit, so naturally reservations were slim to come by and 2-hour waiting times for walk-ins a plenty.
I managed to snag a reservation 2 months out, which gave me ample time to eagerly check the menu weekly, monitor Yelp reviews, and stalk Instagram photos to know exactly what I was getting into.
My boyfriend graciously stepped in to fill the role of dining companion, even when I told him it was veggie focused (men = like meat).
The menu is divided into 4 sections:
- Snackables (cute): Small veggie appetizer plates.
- Hot: Warm veggie based dishes.
- Cold: Chilled veggie based dishes.
- Sides: Your meats and fishes. Protein.
Prices range from $11-19 for most plates, so you really can mix and match to try anything.
To start, a “snackable:” mushroom and pepper tempura with a spicy aioli.
Next we tried a cold dish of blistered and smoked brassicas, brocamole, and burrata drizzled with quince vinegar.
A pleasant surprise: a bonus dish from the chef (love it when luck works in your favor like that!). Lightly cured trout with crispy potato and smashed turnip, with a few smears of bagna cauda, a sauce of garlic, anchovies, olive oil, and butter.
Sometimes I’m nice and even though I usually have a menu selection in my head beforehand, I’ll let my co-diner pick a few dishes. I can’t take credit for picking this item out, but it was so delicious: yellow eye bean stew with pieces of torn bread.
You’ll see those little bread chunks floating on top there. Comes with two little cups for serving.
Another hot dish, the pasta. This pasta was on par with the likes of flour + water (with bigger portions #yes): campanelle pasta with a turnip-kale stem pesto and smoked fumet sauce, topped with shavings of goat’s gouda.
Our last “side” for the evening was the hangar steak, with smoked salmon butter and uni-balsamic. The smoky flavor is charred right into the edges and the whole taste is extremely rich.
At this point, we were full enough to walk away without dessert, but I’d heard enough about their brownie dessert I felt it was something we had to try.
Nothing beats a delectably warm brownie and ice cream.
Except when the brownie has a “Payday” filling. This means completely unexpected warm caramel sauce with peanuts that will ooze out from your brownie once you spoon into it. And the ice cream is peanut butter flavored. PEA-NUT BUT-TER.
Well-played Al’s Place.
I recommend my full-proof method of using your late-night insomnia (or quick mid-sleep bathroom break) to snag a reservation and check this spot out for yourself. And get the brownie.
Learn more about this place on the Al’s Place website.