Actually Pretty Awesome: Scallops With Cucumber at AQ

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Cucumber with scallops, purslane, wild fennel, and almonds. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

On the summer menu at AQ are a few new playful dishes from chef Mark Lieberman that represent the season at its most easygoing and airy. Our favorite is this dish, which in keeping with the latest vegetable-focused trends is listed on the menu with cucumber as the star. But really, the barely seared and ultra-tender day boat scallops are the star, seasoned with espelette chile powder and aided by an excellent quenelle of scallop mousse, with the cucumber playing an important but supporting role.

The freshness of the cucumber, with its mild, sweet greenness of flavor, complements the mild sweetness of the scallop in an unexpected way, and the dish is pulled together with some even greener purslane, wild fennel, and roasted Marcona almonds. It's a mildly spicy, brilliantly balanced dish, and as simple as all the components are, the combination still seemed unexpected and new.

As for that scallop mousse, our dining companion put it best, saying, "I'd like a pastry bag of that stuff to go so I can just squirt it in my mouth while watching TV."

AQ - 1085 Mission between 6th and 7th - 415-341-9000

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
Beggar's Chicken at Betelnut
Lobster Bread Pudding and Smoked Cod at Maverick
Sand Dabs at Bar Jules
Green Farro-Sausage Risotto at RN74
Vegan Charctuerie at Gather
Pickled Eggs at St. Vincent
Beef Tongue at Namu Gaji
Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken at Brasa
Green Garlic Bread at State Bird Provisions
A Dinner of Small Plates and the Duck Confit Salad at Frances
Duck Fat Chex Mix at Truck Stop Caf
The Lamb Tongue Salad at Txoko
The Branzino at AQ
Dinner at Local Mission Eatery
Suckling Pig Sandwich at Sweet Woodruff
Crudités at Saison
The Roasted Broccoli Sandwich at Split Pea Seduction
George Mendess Partridge in a Pear Tree
The Buffalo Burger at Double Decker
A Preview of Dishes at Haven
Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas
The Cocktails at Outerlands
The Meatball Gigante and the Honey Pie at Tonys Pizza
Three New Gins from St. George Spirits
The Date Night at Sneaky's BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare