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First look: GG’s Earth and Surf

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.

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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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17 thoughts on “First look: GG’s Earth and Surf

  1. Sorry to report that our Mother’s Day Brunch was tasteless and boring. I tried the bean fritters w/avocado cream which could have been anything fried into balls w/no flavor with thick green glop underneath. Hubby had watery poached eggs that dripped into nobby fingerling potatoes, making the whole dish – as appetizing as dishwater! Disappointing to say the least!

  2. Had lunch yesterday with my Mom for her 83rd birthday. We had reservations and were seated right away (even though we arrived early) in a booth. We both enjoyed the bean fritters and the fabulous *crab bisque*. Unbelievably delicious. We topped that off with the most wonderful cheesecake (I must admit that I order it every time -three times now- and it never disappoints). Thank you GG’s for a memorable lunch!

  3. Had lunch Monday at GG’s and enjoyed my dining experience. We started with the mushroom “pate” and found it to be a bit boring but tasty. I had the Mahi Fish Sandwich which was a very small portion but delightful. It came with ample fries that allowed me to leave quite full. The female server was a little over attentive but definately was trying hard to please. She committed my “cardinal sin” of serving by asking us when taking our cash was “do you want any change”. That is so annoying and rude – one should always bring back the change and allow the customer to tip appropriately. I definately will return – more good food for downtown.

  4. Mac and Cheese is on the menu of many of San Francisco’s top places, at least the ones loved by locals who are real foodies. Lets start with Blue Plate and Luna Park to name a few. Whoever thinks Mac and Cheese is just for TGIFriday’s clearly has no clue about restaurants in the Bay Area. GG’s is catering to high minded foodies who are not pretentious enough to dis one of the worlds favorite dishes.

  5. I went to GG’s for cocktails the other night and ordered off the bar menu. I ordered the Macaroni Bites, and have to say that there were unique! I thought they were tasty.

  6. I went to GG’s for cocktails the other night and ordered off the bar menu. I ordered the Macaroni Bites, and have to say that there were unique! I thought they were tasty.

  7. I went to GG’s for cocktails the other night and ordered off the bar menu. I ordered the Macaroni Bites, and have to say that there were unique! I thought they were tasty.

  8. GG’s is simply fabulous. Dishes are very creative and delicious,especially the minestrone and the clams. The chick pea fries are to die for. My only complaint is that the portions are way too small. For a vegetarian restaurant they sure dont give you much by way of vegetables in the entrees. With that said, there is a nice assortent of side dishes such as roasted brussel sprouts, cauliflower,polenta fries, etc. The desserts are wonderful, worth saving room for.

  9. perhaps, but it is unique for those of us who have never been to TGI Fridays and have no plan to in the future.

  10. Went there for lunch and had the brie flatbread which was delicious. Also had the rock fish which was cooked perfectly, but the fried potato balls were frozen inside. Everything else was great, but very slow lunch service.

  11. Went to dinner with the fam tonight and was impressed. Great kids menu. My 10 year old ordered the mac and cheese bites, which are fried balls of macaroni and cheese – delish and not something you’d find elsewhere. I ordered the steamed clams with polenta fries. It was a good size portion of clams for the price ($10.00) and the polenta fries were crisp on the outside and softish on the inside, I thought they were great. Husband ordered a cod dish with these fried mashed potatoe balls. I thought the portion was pretty small, but he thought it was fine and very much enjoyed it, and it was only $11.00! My 13 year old had the brie flatbread ($9.00), good crust and tasty. We also ordered the crostini appetizer ($5.00) which had really unique toppings – one had this creamy-ricotta style cheese with dried peaches and almonds, and the other had goat cheese and mushrooms – both were good sized slices of crostini and they really pile the toppings on. We all had to take bites of everyone else’s food because we all thought our dishes were so good. Afterwards, everyone was dipping the bread in the sauce from the steamed clams. Service was good. I appreciate the reasonable prices and hope that GG’s does well. Our son has become a vegetarian so finding places where we’re all equally satisfied is sometimes a challenge.

  12. We had a good dinner @ GGs, except for one thing: I ordered the half dozen oysters appetizer for $10, and when it arrived, there were only five. I pointed this out to the waiter, who hadn’t said anything, and he said, “Well, the oysters are bigger than usual so we gave you five instead of 6.” What?? Wrong answer. The menu says half dozen. And the oysters were maybe teaspoon size, so not exactly gargantuan. That kind of spoiled the meal for us, though everything else was fine.

  13. We had a good dinner @ GGs, except for one thing: I ordered the half dozen oysters appetizer for $10, and when it arrived, there were only five. I pointed this out to the waiter, who hadn’t said anything, and he said, “Well, the oysters are bigger than usual so we gave you five instead of 6.” What?? Wrong answer. The menu says half dozen. And the oysters were maybe teaspoon size, so not exactly gargantuan. That kind of spoiled the meal for us, though everything else was fine.

  14. I went to GGs with my hubby and we had a phenomenal meal there. And it was even on the first night they were open!
    We had oysters on the half shell with lemon ice, steamed sea bass with artichoke ravioli, the clams in garlic broth with polenta fries, and the crab and fennel salad. We also had a bottle of wine, and the whole bill came to 65 dollars including tax. Amazing!
    Such fresh food, clean flavores, great service, and very local. Let’s just hope that the location is better to GGs than it has been to the last 4 or 5 restaurants there…

  15. Had lunch there yesterday with my wife and 3-year-old daughter. Great food, and better service!
    My wife had the clam chowder which was pretty guiltless overall (not loaded down with cream). I had the flatbread with brie, sundried peaches, and carmelized onions…delish, and my daughter had the macaroni and cheese bites from the surprisingly healthy kids’ menu. We took a chance bringing a little kid into this place for lunch, but she was welcomed with open arms, a great kids’ menu, and the coolest crayons I’ve ever seen!
    Can’t wait to go back for Sunday brunch for the granola-crusted french toast with vanilla-chai butter.
    BTW, we actually sprung for dessert after lunch, enjoying the honeycomb cheesecake and the polenta cake with chocolate ganache and orange sorbet…other than the cake tasting like it would be more at home toasted with some jam, it was great!
    The whole bill, including desserts and coffee, was only $45!
    We will definitely go back, and not hesitate to bring the kids.

  16. I had dinner at GG’s with a few girl friends last weekend, and it was phenomenal! The plates were priced extremely well, we were all able to order several dishes and try a taste of everything , it was all so healthy yet savory and yummy, I like the idea of everything being local…Also we were happy to hear they had a full bar, try the Tangerine Mojito, amazing!
    I love what they did with the space, as i remember being the old Swenson’s. I will be going back for sure!

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