Globe (Pacific/Battery, SF)
Celebrated World Environment Day (five days here) by visiting Globe on Sunday when--purportedly--the chef makes prix fixe (currently $29) four-course dinners from all-organic items purchased at Ferry Plaza FM.
Two of us ordered very good fresh minestrone; pleasant citrus cured local sardines, Armenian cukes, and curly cress; ricotta ravioli w. peas and squash blossoms, unnecessarily rich for my taste and for the individual flavors to shine, though the peas were the best I've had outside my own garden or France; crushed favas and fettuccine, the latter undercooked by two minutes; salmon (I had to ask to determine it was local, something the menu should, IMO, brag about, since not everyone has done homework ahead of time) with Yukons, mussels (one of four bad) and undetectable aioli; pan-roasted local halibut with too al dente fennel, garlic scapes, and saffron broth (we both wondered why the waiter brought a sharp knife with that course till my friend looked puzzled after the first bite and I looked carefully and we both realized the halibut had been magically transformed into pork, just about the same time the waiter came to make the exchange!); apricot galette featuring barely cooked, phenomenonally flavorful for early June fruit and a buttermilk? sour cream? flavored pastry that was superb.
Along with fixing the few relatively small lapses noted above, the spirit of the sustainable, organic meal--never mind the flavor, texture, and healthfulness--would have been greatly enhanced by wholegrain bread; the restaurant served some kind of uninteresting focaccia and white, not particularly crusty soft rolls. I didn't taste the butter, but the olive oil I requested was extremely flavorful.
Servers wielding huge pepper grinders followed immediately the arrival of each savory course without ever allowing us to taste first; that and the embarrassing misspellings of both gnocchi and prosciutto on the regular menu (not served on Sundays, but looking far more interesting than I recall from the past) lent an unfortunate amateurish aspect to what should by now be a mature restaurant. Since I seem to recall that the owner is of Italian ancestry, I found it particularly sloppy that such common Italian food items would be spelled on the edge of North Beach as they might be in the Heartland.(The waiter claimed the staff was aware of the errors, but he apparently didn't seem to understand or care that at least some of us consider such errors a red flag.)
We ate quite early (7) but before long the place was jammed and folks were waiting. Will I go back? Yes--considering we usually prefer to eat quite late and Globe stays open past midnight, much of the food was above average, and the house seems fairly committed to values I consider worthy of support.
I brought a half bottle of '86 Joseph Swan Zin ($15 corkage--same as for a full), the 3rd Sonoma Zin from that vintage we've tasted in the past few weeks. All three were flourishing.
The 1986 Joseph Swan Zin is one of the greatest Zinfandels ever made. It hasn't hit peak yet, so I imagine that a half bottle would be drinking quite nicely now. Most of the fruit was from Frati vineyard, just up the road from Swan winery, in Russian River Valley and has a beautiful expression of black raspberry with the site's characteristic tarry notes.
The late Joe Swan's step-daughter, Lynn, was married in 1986 so a lot of this went into large format bottles to be laid down and enjoyed at future anniversaries. I've been fortunate to taste it many times and have a few bottles in my own cellar.
(disclaimer: Lynn, the current owner of the winery, is a personal friend.)