As much as I love cooking meals at home with TC, it’s also nice to go out every now and then to a nice restaurant. Birthdays definitely call for a bit of celebration and indulgence, so a few weeks ago, I took TC to Greens in San Francisco for his birthday. Why Greens? First, being that it’s in Fort Mason, the dining room has a gorgeous view of the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands. Second, it’s one of the oldest higher-end vegetarian restaurants in the city, if not the country. Third (and related to #2), it sources all of its produce from local farmers and vendors, whom we like to support. Finally, a friend had given a strong recommendation, saying that Greens was one of his favorites. So, reservations were made and off we went!
We arrived 30 minutes early, but there was plenty of seating in the waiting area where we could also order drinks. We sat down next to a man in fishnets, high boots, no pants (that we could see), and an Under Armour mock turtleneck under a long blazer. Only in San Francisco!! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture, but trust me when I say it was a sight to behold.
I ordered a glass of prosecco (it was a celebration, after all) and TC opted for the raspberry mojito, which was sweet (but not too sweet) and potent.
We were seated promptly at 7:30, our reservation time. Fresh bread, toasted almonds, and water were brought to our table almost instantly. After our server introduced herself, I informed her that it was TC’s birthday. She gave him a quick glance and asked, “Don’t I know you…?” Well, as fate would have it, our server E dated one of TC’s good friends almost 10 years ago. After catching up a little, she took our orders and remained friendly, yet professional, for the remainder of the evening.
We had heard great things about the appetizers, so we ordered three. Yes, we’re pigs.
– Roasted wild mushrooms with olive oil, salt, thyme, and sage. This was my favorite out of the appetizers.
– Sampler: Italian butter beans with pickled red onions, meyer lemon, and tarragon; spring pea and radish salad with arugula and mint; grilled artichoke with lemon oil; three beet salad; grilled herb slab; fromage blanc; olives. The butter beans were amazing, and I enjoyed the beets and cheese too. The artichokes were disappointing.
– Artisan cheese plate. Nothing to write home about. Even TC wasn’t a huge fan.
Oh yeah, did I mention the view?
OK, on to the main course! TC ordered the butternut squash and sweet potato gratin, with poblano chilies, green onions, smoked cheddar, fromage blanc custard, and cilantro. It was served with tomatillo sauce, cashew cream, grilled polenta, and chard and kale with pumpkin seeds. If you go to Yelp, this dish is very polarizing; people either love it or hate it. TC absolutely fell in the former category. In fact, I think he’d eat this every day if he had the choice. It was very tasty — just the right blend of spices and textures.
I ordered the farro risotto with wild mushrooms, spring peas, fava leaves, leeks, green garlic, and shaved Pantaleo (cheese). It was good, but definitely not as tasty as TC’s gratin.
What’s a birthday celebration without dessert? I ordered the chocolate torte with salted caramel ice cream and cocoa nibs. I loved the combination of flavors and textures. I also got a cup of decaf coffee, which was the most excellent coffee I’ve had in a long, long time. To me, it was how coffee should taste, if that makes any sense. Anyway, I’m sure it was like $5 or $6 (I didn’t look at the check before throwing down my credit card), but it was worth it.
TC triumphed again with the ordering. (Luck of the birthday boy?) He got the butterscotch pot de creme with pecan brittle and chantilly cream. It was amazing and I don’t even like butterscotch! Very creamy and rich, but without going overboard.
Our server E surprised us with two complimentary glasses of sauterne, in honor of TC’s birthday. So sweet! (Literally and figuratively.) All in all, we both had a great time at Greens. The atmosphere and service were great, and the food was wonderful. Even though the dining room was quite crowded, noise and neighboring conversations were never bothersome. I’d definitely go back again.
Happy birthday TC! xoxo