April 26, 2006 - Joanne

sign at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco

Greens Restaurant

Bldg A, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
Visited March 16, 2006

interior Greens Restaurant

Greens Restaurant was established in 1979 at the San Francisco Zen center but is now located in one of the Ft. Mason buildings. They support local growers and purveyors and feature the produce of the Zen center’s (in Marin) Green Gulch farm.

Before a Fort Mason tasting we nipped into the all vegetarian Greens for a lunch. As on our previous experiences we had a mixed impression. Some good and some bad. The host/hostess with attitude is a turn off and the menu is a little hit or miss.  They expect you to make reservations but we’ve gotten a table many times without one – you probably need one if there’s a big Fort Mason event. Overall, it’s an overrated restaurant but seems fine for lunch and pretty much your only sit-down choice at Fort Mason.

If you happen to get a window table the views of the Golden Gate bridge and marina are worth some food mistakes – be sure to request a window table when you make a reservation. We had the best service we’ve ever had on this visit. Other times it was hard to get service – or the check. Don’t plan on it being a quick lunch even if that’s your design. Recommended with some reservations.

View from Greens

2004 Vision Cellars “White” $8.50/glass
A lot of acids for a California White. Undecided about it. (- Jack)

Mesquite Grilled Asparagus
Mesquite Grilled Asparagus with shaved Capricious goat cheese, watercress and meyer lemon vinaigrette. $9.50

The asparagus was undercooked - too crispy – read as barely cooked – I like raw asparagus but this dish would have been vastly improved if the asparagus had been grilled a minute or two more. Okay. Would not order again.

Sweet Potato & Coconut Milk Soup with Thai Basil. $5.50
Thick gooey. Not appealing. Gluey. Didn’t notice the basil. Not recommended.

Mediterranean Sampler: Filo turnover with fromage blanc, leeks and thyme; Israeli couscous salad with Michigan cherries, apricots, pistachios, citrus and ginger; Hummus, golden and Chioggia beets with mâche; olives; grilled pita bread; spicy tomato jam. $13.75

Pretty presentation. Very good - Jack would order again. Fresh ingredients. The couscous had pistachio and re-hydrated cherries and was delicious (would even convert a non-couscous liker). Filo turnover the lowest point of the dish – a bit on the greasy side with unexciting filling.

Yukon Gold Potato and Poblano Chili Griddle Cakes
Yukon Gold Potato and Poblano Chili Griddle Cakes with masa harina, scallions, cilantro, smoked and cheddar cheese. Served with fire roasted salsa, crème fraiche, escarole, mizuna, watermelon radish, pumpkin seeds and citrus vinaigrette. $12.75

The lettuces in the salad were not torn well – pieces far too big requiring a knife to cut them. Small pumpkin seeds were a nice touch to salad. Cakes were well made and tasty with good accompaniments. Good.
Greens Restuarant entrance

Menu at Greens

Minty Herbal Tea Service
Minty Herbal Tea with farm and forest grown mint $3.75
Despite the cast iron pot, the water was not hot enough and made a poor cup of tea.

Mary Elke's Apple Juice
Mary Elke’s Warm Apple Juice $4
I ordered it warm and it was presented with a cinnamon stick on top – it was served very hot!

Meyer Lemon Coconut Cake
Meyer Lemon Coconut Cake with Huckleberry Sauce. $7.50
A Wonderful surprise. Layers of sponge cake and meyer lemon curd  and jam with whipped cream coconut icing on a bed of huckleberry sauce. The icing is coated in fresh coconut curls. Light and fresh – not too rich. I could take or leave the huckleberry sauce, but the cake was great! Recommended.

Note: We’ve also had take-out a few times from Greens-To-Go with mixed results. It’s at the front of the restaurant and offers only counter service, with pre-made sandwiches, soup and salads. They are open for dinner but often at the end of the day there are very limited choices left and what’s left is not the best – better to go earlier for better selection.

Dessert menu at Greens

Wine menu at Greens

Jack's Summation: This was our best meal ever at Greens, and that is encouraging. We'll go back only when it's very convenient – we would not go out of our way to go there otherwise.

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