Greens Restaurant — Nary a sprout in sight

in Local and Slow Food, Restaurants

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Views don’t get much better than this: from the floor-to-ceiling windows of this former waterfront warehouse, you’ll gaze past yachts bobbing in the harbor to the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond to Marin County’s serene headlands. Greens‘ interior is pretty smashing, too: sunny and high-ceilinged, with huge black walnut entrance doors, solid walnut dining tables, and modern paintings and sculpture everywhere you look.

But that’s just a precursor to some of the nation’s most delectable vegetarian cuisine, which is what you’d expect from the restaurant that, according to the New York Times, “brought vegetarian food out from sprout-infested health food stores and established it as a cuisine in America.”

Influenced by Mediterranean, Mexican, and American Southwestern cuisines, Chef Annie Sommerville works her magic on just-picked produce from the Green Gulch Zen Center’s organic farm at Stinson Beach. The result? Dishes like Gratin Provencal (ronde squash, Japanese eggplant, peppers, onions, tomatoes, basil, asiago and goat cheese custard); Summer Squash and Torpedo Onion Pizza; and Peach Blueberry Galette with Almond Streusel. The superb wine list centers around small, high-quality, sustainable west coast wineries.

Did you know? Greens was founded in 1979 and is still owned by the San Francisco Zen Center. Greens is in building A at Ft. Mason Center (next to the boats in the marina).

Fields of Greens cookbookWant more greens? Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes From The Celebrated Greens Restaurant presents more than 300 inventive recipes, including appetizing creations like Grilled New Potato Salad, Mushroom Risotto with Leeks and Fennel, and Lemon Pots de Creme, along with lots of beautiful soups, pastas and pizzas, delicious sandwiches, and a variety of sauces and condiments.

In the chapter on salads, each combination of greens, vegetables, grains or beans (“corn and bulgur salad with cilantro and lime” and “winter greens with pears, walnuts and warm Roquefort croutons”) is conveniently accompanied by its own dressing recipe. Framed with an introduction about organic gardening at nearby Green Gulch farm and a glossary on produce, the recipes emphasize simplicity of preparation and clarity of taste.

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