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First look: GG’s Earth and Surf

Author: | posted 03/5/09 | Print This Post Print This Post |

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ggs2.jpgI’m looking forward to taking a deeper dive at the newly opened GG’s Earth and Surf in downtown Santa Rosa — the long awaited vegetarian/pescatarian eatery opened by former Lisa Hemenway collaborator Suzan Fleissner.

Fleissner is taking her commitment to local and sustainable foods very seriously, which can make for a challenge when folks want out-of-season strawberries or shrimp to show up on the menu.

The former Worth Our Weight space has been thoughtfully renovated with warm, cheerful touches and sunny decor, though the jury’s still out on the legacy atrium windows that make the space feel like a giant fishbowl.

Fleissner’s menu shows that she’s put some serious time and thought

in. Vegetarian dishes have broad appeal: bean fritters with avocado

cream ($6), a tasty sweet potato soup with curried granola and yogurt

($7) or simple, seasonal salads with warm spinach and lentils.

The

kitchen still seems to be getting its sea legs with the steamed clams

in young garlic broth, which though a bit bland, had potential as a

spring favorite.

Polenta fries are a crispy, hearty alternative

to potatoes, especially with a side of aioli and dishes like Pistachio

Ricotta Pancakes with Fresh Mandarin Ginger Honey ($8) or Chai-spiced

french toast have BiteClub jonesing for a brunch return.

The

warm crab salad with fennel and blood orange ($9) slightly missed the

mark, lacking flavor, though the presentation was spot-on. I’ll chalk

it up to opening jitters.

Kitchen and service are still working

out kinks, but there’s a desire to please that’s palpable. The

restaurant will be open for lunch (M,W,Th,F), dinner (closed Tuesday)

and Sunday brunch. Gluten-free and vegan diners will find an

accommodating environment.

It’s refreshing to find a commitment

to seafood and vegetarian dishes with such broad appeal and mastery in

the kitchen. Though there’s still fine tuning to be done when it comes

to seasoning and timing, GG’s should be a welcome addition to the

downtown dining scene.

GG’s Earth and Surf Restaurant, 630 3rd St., Santa Rosa, 528.1445.

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