A classic happy-hour spot, with complimentary hors d’ouvres and drink specials Mondays through Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. You’ll find more than one “suit’’ sipping a Bellini at this upscale bar. Its menu boasts a great selection of rare wines and delicacies like the conch fritters, chilled gazpacho and walnut-crusted salmon. There is live jazz on Saturday nights by great local and visiting artists. Note to single ladies: most of the guys you meet here, you can actually bring home to mom!
The Globe, rising hot spot in the Gables for live jazz with your food, is two hemispheres: cafe and bar. Are they worlds apart? Not quite. Is one side more fully developed than the other? Definitely.
Nestled alongside a travel agency on upscale Alhambra Circle, The Globe fits in nicely to the Gables demimonde. Oils of and by artistes, in frames of gold leaf, adorn walls painted in warm colors. Tables are arranged to point eyes and ears toward a center stage, on which jazz players do their thing on weekend nights. Bustling, happy crowd is dressed in casual chic. Wine list has breadth and depth without steep price, and there's interesting beer too. No question, The Globe, now 4 months old, is a classy pub at which to draw your evening pint and sing along to the swing.
Fusion-confusion menu dances between finger foods and nouveau gourmet; chicken fingers and a sturdy Reuben can share the same ticket with walnut-crusted salmon or a lobster club. Some entrees are borrowed from fancy European, South American and Asian hotels; others from the Betty Crocker Cookbook . The mix is appealing, though; whatever you're in the mood for, you can find it here.
Less appealing confusion reigns with the service, which handled our visit on a busy Saturday night with minimal skill. Menus, silverware and water were finally brought after repeated reminders, a wine order was neglected until the meal was done, and our server showed a particularly annoying combination of incompetence and indifference. This must not be the norm, or the throngs flocking here are in possession of an extremely high level of tolerance.
A cooling start
Food is pretty good for a bar, sometimes even interesting. Soup of the day, gazpacho ($2.50) was a cooling start, pureed more finely than usual, mildly spiced, strongly flavored with celery.
Crab salmon cakes ($6.95) are presented with fanfare, three cakes afloat on a bright lake of red-pepper coulis. An equal mix, more or less, of salmon and imitation crab, the cakes are pan-sauteed to a golden-brown. They look sensational and taste like almost nothing, bereft of seasoning, even salt. The coulis is virtually flavorless, as well.
Much better is a grand platter of grilled portobello mushroom salad ($7.95). Beefy mushrooms, the vegetarian filet mignon, are arranged like strips of sirloin on a bed of greens, flecked with creamy goat cheese. Plum tomatoes, ruby red and wonderfully juicy, add color and flavor. A nit: Menu says the salad is ``baby field greens,'' but it is primarily Romaine, Bibb and red leaf lettuces lightly dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.
Pizzas are among the best buys on the menu. We tried a designer pizza, grilled chicken with gorgonzola ($8.95). This is a big, puffy, Boboli-style crust, rubbed with pesto and sprinkled with chopped walnuts. Chicken and the pungent cheese were both good, but the pie needs more of a sauce to hold it together; predominant flavor was dough.
A simple sirloin steak ($11.95) was handled well, grilled to order. Here, the minimal seasoning, just pepper and salt, is appropriate for the quality cut of meat. Mashed potatoes on the side (you can have rice, too, but it is not American to turn down mashed potatoes) are good and homey, and you get a vegetable of the day, too.
Sandwiches include a B.L.T., Reuben and a tuna melt; for more local flavor, go with the grilled dolphin sandwich ($7.95). Filet is flaky and fresh, and the bun is smeared with pesto aioli and augmented with more of that ruby-red ripe tomato. Good.
Desserts are mostly familiar stuff but homemade -- tiramisu, Key lime pie, guava cheesecake, apple cobbler and creme brulee. More adult palates might prefer a port or dessert wine and another set of jazz.