[MetroActive Dining]

[ Dining Index | San Francisco | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

[whitespace] Owner Gordon Drysdale and his extremely dry wine.

Bipolar Disorder

Gordon's hits the high and low notes with equal aplomb

By Michael Stabile

Can I call Gordon's House of Fine Eats "Emulsion Cuisine?" Fusion is dead. Over. Tired. And currently served everywhere but Marie Callender's. Gordon's, on the other hand, is oil and water. Mood-swing chic in an era of swing dancing. A restaurant that, thankfully, didn't take its Librium. With a menu including both a personal pepperoni pizza and beluga caviar et sa garni, it made my head spin. Very Linda Blair. Who expects such diversity in this era of minimalism?

Gordon's divides and separates dishes into neat categories somewhat akin to a Chinese menu (a dish from "A," a dish from "B"). The small plate/large plate division is easy enough to translate into the more familiar appetizers/entrees. But the man behind the curtain--Gordon, I presume--isn't satisfied with such a pedestrian split. No, no, no, no, Nanette! Gordon must have comfort food and health food and luxury cuisine and continental cuisine and, last but not least, showcase dishes from local farms. But enough con-fusion--I think you get the idea: in cliché, it's everything for everybody.

Eat the thyme cut fries--a house specialty that goes well with both wine and mojitos. By the time the lobster bisque with crème fraîche ($7.50) arrives, I'm ready to give up my sacred lamb altogether. But I needn't, since Gordon's offers a large lamb T-bone with baby fennel and roasted potatoes ($25.75). It's a "luxury" item, sure, but if you're feeling less than flush there's always the hardwood-grilled hamburger with spud puppies ($8.75).

Gordon's House gets packed early and stays that way until the late evening, and with good reason. Despite the schizophrenic menu, the staff knows its way around the wine list and is happy to slap your hand if you choose something that may not fit your needs. Forget search engines, ask one of Gordon's minions a question and you've got a ticker tape of responses.

So I sat in Gordon's and ate dayboat scallops presented on tourist-quality seashells while those at the table next to me oooohed and ahhhhed over the phat pile of osetra caviar piled on top. "Get the seared gnocchi," one cooed. "Don't miss the lamb," yelled someone two tables away. "For dessert, try the 'Fondue Me,' " another suggested. Everyone was either really drunk or, more likely, in that ecstatic state produced by truly fine eats. Everyone wanted to talk. Everyone wanted to share. In any other restaurant, I would have found this disconcerting. But at Gordon's, with so much else mixed up and curiously paired, group conversation seemed highly appropriate. I basked. I paid the bill. And if I hadn't been so delightfully full, I would have been ready to rage.

[ San Francisco | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

From the April 17, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc.