The more party-hearty Provençale sauce — of tomatoes, black olives, capers, and garlic, a combination reminiscent of Neapolitan puttanesca — made a nice match with grilled mahimahi ($13.95), a fish that, like chicken, welcomes a little help and usually benefits from it. Platters of fish (not too little, not too much) were served with brown rice pilaf and a mélange of sautéed vegetables, among pattypan squash, zucchini, carrots, and button mushrooms; none of this quite matched good French fries for excitement, but it was all pretty tasty and much lower in fat.
The kitchen handles nonfish dishes with equal aplomb, from an amuse of wild-mushroom pottage spiked with a little balsamic vinegar and presented in demitasses to a fabulous salad of shredded romaine hearts ($6.75) tossed with crisp lardons, slivers of carrot and French radish, garlic croutons, blue cheese, and lemon oil. A soup ($6.25) of artichoke and fennel topped with pipings of curry oil was desperately underseasoned — all we could taste was the sweetness of the fennel — but a few good pinches from the tabletop salt dish coaxed the artichoke flavor forth.
There was even an occasional flash of wit, as in a tarte tatin ($5) made with pears instead of apples and presented in the au courant, deconstructed style: the pear slices were fanned over a floor of pastry. It looked a little like a pear pastry lasagna the chef hadn't quite finished putting together. On the side, a pat of vanilla ice cream nodded to tradition.
As we left, we noted the Marina couple chattering away in their little surveillance box and the Aston Martin still sitting in the bus stop, ticketless. We gave the restaurant pretty good grades, in the A to A- range, for both overall experience and sustainability. Maybe the place can use one of those As to get the sign fixed. SFBG
ALAMO SQUARE SEAFOOD GRILL
Dinner: Mon.–Sat., 5:30–10 p.m.; Sun., 5–9:30 p.m.
803 Fillmore, SF
Beer and wine
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