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Rapid Reviews: Four Hot New Restaurants to Try Right Now

Go this weekend. 

Beef tongue bao at Liholiho Yacht Clu


Al’s Place
This vegetarian-hybrid restaurant from chef Aaron London, formerly of Michelin-starred Ubuntu, espouses the thoroughly modern philosophy “eat meat, but not a lot.” Vegetable-based dishes are the stars here, including a peasant-worthy yellow-eye bean stew and an artfully plated dish of asparagus, currant soffritto, burrata, and puréed potato chips and skin. The small, stylish space offers seats at a counter overlooking the extra-open kitchen—snag one if you can. Sara Deseran 1499 Valencia St. (At 26th St.), 415-416-6136

Hawker Fare
Fish sauce reaches critical mass at this Mission outpost of James Syhabout’s renowned Oakland Thai restaurant. Both the space, done up in jewel tones and pop- culture ephemera, and the menu, focused on the food of Thailand’s northeast Isan region, are bigger here. That means a surplus of funk and spice, used to bold, vibrant effect in dishes like a squid salad made feisty with chilies, nam pla, and lemongrass, and an earthy catfish jungle curry that begs to be sopped up with warm sticky rice. Rebecca Flint Marx 680 Valencia St. (Near 18th St.), 415-400-5699

Dragon Beaux
Outer Richmond
Expect lines at this expansive and ornate dim sum and hot pot restaurant from the owners of Daly City’s Koi Palace. The massive menu includes everything from “herbal chicken paw” to sea cucumber congee. Typical dim sum items abound, but don’t miss the baked barbecue pork bao, a cloudlike sweet-and-savory version of a traditional pork bun. S.D. 5700 Geary Blvd. (At 21st Ave.), 415-333-8899

Liholiho Yacht Club
Union Square
Outfitted with bright yellow tiles and an enormous photo of a beatific lady, this restaurant from chef Ravi Kapur and the Nopa team is a puddle of sunshine on Sutter Street. The Hawaiian-accented food includes tuna poke—the bracingly fresh fish strewn over a crisp nori cracker—and supple Manila clams adrift in coconut curry. For dessert, baked Hawaii shelters pineapple ice cream under caramelized boiled icing, telegraphing another blast of island radiance. R.F.M. 871 Sutter St. (Near Leavenworth St.), 415-440-5446


Originally published in the May issue of San Francisco

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