Ayala has just checked into the Union Square Hotel G, arriving with a handsome cocktail bar, a high-ceilinged dining room, and an inviting raw bar at 398 Geary Boulevard this evening. Chef-partner Bill Montagne (Le Bernardin, Nico Osteria, Snaggletooth) and executive chef Melissa Perfit (Bar Crudo, Top Chef) have room for 94 diners across the whole, 1,400-square foot, white-tiled and wood-floored space.
Montagne and Perfit’s whole menu of oysters, chilled seafood platters, and larger prepared dishes is below. Some highlights include a section of seafood charcuterie, like octopus with preserved lemon, and larger dishes to be shared (or selfishly hoarded) like nori spaghettini (with Dungeness crab, white miso, Buddha’s hand citrus, and furikake) and a cioppino verde (with lots of crab, mussels, and lobster butter toast in a green, tomatillo-poblano broth). To drink, bar director Julian Cox (Tartine Manufactory) has a list of nautically-inspired cocktails and three Martini variations, while wine director Nick Tilly has focused on wines from coastal regions.
The Ayala team designed the space themselves, with white, hand plastered walls and arches that convey a modern Mediterranean feel. The “oysterette,” a lounge and bar area to the front and side of the space, is separated from the dining room by a frosted glass barrier. The raw bar, at the back of the dining room, offers a communal bar and views of the kitchen and the Ayala team shucking oysters.
Ayala is open nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., with online reservations available for the dining room.