I was lucky to start with the best entrée, braised short-ribs — not sublime, but tender and edible, accompanied by my favorite healthy fake-starch, mashed celery root (most likely mixed with a majority of potato and definitely with enough dairy to enrich it), plus a pleasant, crispy shallot persillade (sautéed shallots blasted with a confetti of minced flat-leaf parsley). When Lynne got it, she noticed its flaw: “This chef underseasons everything!” She proceeded to compare and contrast the admirable short-ribs she’d recently adored at Quarter Kitchen’s “early-bird” prix-fixe. I passed her the salt-shaker, but some foods — meats, especially — need salting early, during cooking, not just at the table.

A vegetarian assembly of seasonal grilled and roasted vegetables encompassed zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell peppers. These actually overdid the salt and gained further salinity from a dusting of reggiano cheese and a nippy surrounding sauce of spicy chile romesco. The “creamy white polenta” that inspired us to order the dish wasn’t creamy at all, merely a lean, softly lumpy, undersalted porridge, lacking sufficient dairy enrichment to smooth it out. “That’s not polenta,” said Fred, “that’s so-so Southern grits.”

Passing up the menu’s “crispy-skin salmon,” we chose the evening’s alternative fish special, white sea bass in an Asian-inspired sauce with rice noodles and gai lan (“chicken greens” in Cantonese, aka a dark leafy green sometimes called “Chinese broccoli” or “Chinese kale”). I didn’t much mind the undersalted liquid and veggies (my Russian mom thought salt and pepper caused high blood pressure, so I’m used to this), while the nice goopy noodles and mild sauce were okay with Fred and Sue, too. But the desiccated sea bass was more sere sawdust that none of us could swallow. (I didn’t even bother taking it home for the neighbors’ visiting kitties. They’re picky about fish, too.) We skipped desserts, a minimal selection in any case.

As for wines, if you’re going to eat here: Seek and ye shall find. It’s a decent list with some nice, affordable bottles. As usual, the better red bottles can push the budget.

So what’s the good of Glass Door? Well, look at what we walked into: a full house of cheerful young people, with or without new babies, socializing at a lively hangout with bargain drinks and grazes — and then vanishing en masse the very minute that happy hour was over. (Maybe the place should be called Revolving Door.) If price, views, good cheap drinks, and fun right after work matter more than cuisine, it’s a find. And if you’re looking for serious dinner food, it isn’t.

Glass Door
**
(Fair to Good)
Porto Vista Hotel, 1835 Columbia Street (at Fir Street), Little Italy, 619-544-0164, theglassdoorsd.com/littleitaly/.
HOURS: Monday–Friday, breakfast 6:00–10:30 a.m.; lunch 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; dinner 5:00–10:00 p.m.; bar menu until 1:00 a.m.; happy-hour grazing menu 3:00–7:00 p.m. Brunch Saturday–Sunday, 7:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
PRICES: Dinner starters, $7–$12; entrées, $12–$34; desserts, $6–$8; happy-hour grazes, $6 and $10.
CUISINE AND BEVERAGES: New American–global food with local ingredients. Elastic wine list stretching over many regions, tastes, prices; premium beers; creative cocktails.
PICK HITS: Fried calamari (happy-hour graze); pomme frites; mojito; margarita.
NEED TO KNOW: No reservations required. Parking $7 with validation. Youthful crowd scene during happy hours; very noisy inside until 7:01 p.m. (end of happy hour), semi-loud (canned music) afterwards. Three lacto-vegetarian grazes/starters, one entrée.

More from SDReader

Comments

lajollaseal Aug. 1, 2009 @ 4:48 p.m.

I have personally ate there 2x loved it. Service was great, food was great...hmmm...just sayin'. I even bought restaurant.com coupons for the place I enjoyed it so much.

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Burbclaver Aug. 10, 2009 @ 8:15 a.m.

Don't know how everyone managed to escape by 7:01. This place has the slowest elevator in town apart from the one in Horton Plaza.

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SDaniels Aug. 10, 2009 @ 3:52 p.m.

"(Lynne and I both favor Italian olive oil–packed canned tuna in our homemade niçoises.)"

Naomi, can you share what imported brands you prefer? Willing to share your nicoise recipe? :)

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witchdoctorwithdogma Aug. 16, 2009 @ 9:45 p.m.

I GENUINELY NO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT NAOMI WISE'S PSYCHOLOGICAL MAKE-UP OR FEELINGS TOWARD THE OPPOSITE SEX, AND ACTUALLY I'M GUESSING HER REMARKS AS TO THE (IMPLIED BY THE SPECIFIC FELLINI REFERENCE)ARE SOMEWHAT SENSIBLE IF NOT DEFENSIBLE.

JUST THE SAME, HER PUBLIC REMARKS CARRY AN ELEMENT OF LIMITATION, WHICH COMBINE WITH MY OWN WEBSITE'S FORECAST OF ARRESTED GROWTH IN YOUR FAIR CITY.

GOT ARRESTED GROWTH?
DUMBED DOWN BROKEN DOWN

Make boys not outgrow boyhood because of their childhood inclinations protect their masculine identities.

Feed them science based on dogma despite mythology's typical separation for the real world.

Equate miscellaneous forms of non-conformity, difference, or association with a political underdog with the demonized, such as liberals with communists, opponents with the religious right with gays (making straights afraid of being wrongly ferreted out in itself serves the dumbing down process.)

ET VOILA! ET QUE VOTRE RECETTE DE LA CORRUPTION ET DE PUISSANCE. SA TRÈS LE VIEIL. (and there you have it: a recipe for corruption & power)

Limitations of men are the initial consequence of making straight guys afraid of being wrongly ferreted out as gay.

The holocaust was indeed preceded by scapegoating of immigrants, but prior to that of gays.

That is the original inquisition.

The purpose is to demonize a class so as to associate political foes with that class (liberals as communists.) So the inquisition against gays is to make straight guys afraid of being wrongly ferreted out as gay.

I argue as to the science that this CAUSED THE PROPAGATION OF GAYS. So it is the most masculine insecure, the homicidal religious paranoids, who murder gays, who almost universally turn out being conflicted gays themselves, and/or, they run to where the scapegoaters congregate.

In San Diego, attacked Australian tourist John Schneider was mistaken for being gay, the attackers ran to Lou Dobbs / Sarah Palin country (only saying from whence they emanate–I do not know the nature of their psyches or their intentions) in Idaho (I don’t know if the attackers were gay / sorry Idahoans: I’m sure the overwhelming percentage of you are decent, kind, compassionate, loving people who only want happy families with well educated children.)

And those of you who understood already that attacking gays might be aimed at increasing population by making straights afraid of being wrongly ferreted out as gay though that was all that was about.

It all enabled ancient despots to rumble.

http://sites.google.com/site/holychanges

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David Dodd Aug. 16, 2009 @ 10:29 p.m.

What's not to understand, russl?

First, make boys not outgrow boyhood because of their childhood inclinations protect their masculine identities by feeding them science based on dogma despite mythology's typical separation for the real world.

Second, you have to equate miscellaneous forms of non-conformity, difference, or association with a political underdog with the demonized.

The result? Enabling ancient despots to rumble.

Damn, he practically spelled it right out for you!

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SDaniels Aug. 16, 2009 @ 11:04 p.m.

Yeah, just like s/he said!

SA TRÈS LE VIEIL.

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antigeekess Aug. 16, 2009 @ 11:04 p.m.

Heehee, Gringo. :)

Gosh, these blogs would be a lot less interesting without little things like paranoid psychosis and obvious schizophrenia, wouldn't they?

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David Dodd Aug. 16, 2009 @ 11:22 p.m.

Anti & SD: Especially in a food critic blog. Some people think that gravity and the moon are responsible for the tides, but it is probably more THIS than anything else. This, and that guy who goes to AM-PM and purchases thirteen dollars worth of Slim-Jims, nachos, and Gatorade, and then puts it all on a credit card.

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antigeekess Aug. 16, 2009 @ 11:38 p.m.

"This, and that guy who goes to AM-PM and purchases thirteen dollars worth of Slim-Jims, nachos, and Gatorade, and then puts it all on a credit card."

Hey, I'm that guy!

Mmmmmm, Slim Jims...

How do you say "Slim Jims" in French, Daniels?

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antigeekess Aug. 17, 2009 @ 12:35 a.m.

These would be fun in either French or Spanish:

There are more. One of the guys involved in the creaation of the ads has them up. I've never seen these before.

Let's see...what other kind of crap food can we talk about on this restaurant blog?

And more importantly, how would the chef at the Glass Door ruin a Slim Jim?

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SDaniels Aug. 17, 2009 @ 12:43 a.m.

I like the way the guy is chomping on a Slim Jim just before the porn nurse gives him Diprivan.

Technically, a Slim Jim is already ruined. Ingredients seem very similar to cat and dog food, minus the added taurine:

beef, mechanically separated chicken [wtf], water, salt, corn syrup, flavorings, dextrose, paprika, hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy and wheat gluten proteins, sodium nitrite, lactic acid starter culture

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antigeekess Aug. 17, 2009 @ 12:54 a.m.

"beef, mechanically separated chicken [wtf], water, salt, corn syrup, flavorings, dextrose, paprika, hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy and wheat gluten proteins, sodium nitrite, lactic acid starter culture"

MmmmmMMM!!! Bet it still tastes better than most of the stuff mentioned in this review.

:)

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SDaniels Aug. 17, 2009 @ 1:03 a.m.

Not much of a choice! I guess I'd go for the one-shrimp rolls if I had to make that choice. Slim Jims contain cow, so that's verboten. I wonder how they'd taste without the cow and chicken.

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SDaniels Aug. 17, 2009 @ 1:11 a.m.

Yeah, they could make them with Mexican flavoring, and call them "Yo Soy Jims."

Any enthusiastic investors out there for my new product?

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antigeekess Aug. 17, 2009 @ 1:17 a.m.

"Yo Soy Jims." Good one, Daniels.

Jalapeno, Chipotle, and Habanero flavors.

Excellent.

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Josh Board Aug. 17, 2009 @ 1:17 a.m.

Hey...Slim Jim talk. If there was more of this in the food section, I'd be posting in here.

I hate the really, really spicy ones. Sometimes I'm not looking if I grab one with a soda, and it burns the hell out of my mouth.

I also hate the times you get one that is really hard to open. You're driving away, trying to bite the end off, and it's a slippery mess that I try so hard to work on, it probably looks like I'm some starving Ethopian that hasn't had food in days.

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Russ Lewis Aug. 17, 2009 @ 12:18 p.m.

Soy Jims? They probably got 'em right now at Whole Foods.

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Fred Williams Aug. 17, 2009 @ 10:44 p.m.

Slim Jim Ramen Recipe

Ingredients: 1 Package Beef Flavor Ramen Noodles (any brand), 1 Slim Jim (spicy or regular), Water.

Steps:

  1. Boil two cups of water in a pan or pot, and mix in the ramen noodles. Crumble noodles if necessary to fit into pan or pot.

Note: If you have no pan or pot, you may use a plastic bowl and a microwave to boil the noodles. If you have no microwave, wait for a sunny day and fill your plastic bowl and the noodles with hose-water or beer. Put the bowl in the sun for at least one hour, or until the noodles are soft.

  1. Cut Slim Jim into small pieces. Add to pot or pan. Stir.

Note: If you have no knife, you can chew your Slim Jim into small pieces and spit them into the pot, pan, or plastic bowl in the sun next to the shopping cart with your clothes.

  1. Remove from heat, add seasoning packet to taste.

Note: You may choose to add an egg, vegetables, or other ingredients before removing from heat.

WARNING: If you're "cooking" at 17th & Island, DO NOT add egg to your plastic bowl in the sun.

WARNING: When "cooking" in the open air, beware of San Diego Police Officers who have the discretion to arrest you for this infraction of the city code.

  1. Serve.

Note: Vegetarians may substitute Soy Jims for Slim Jims. Mexican food aficionados may opt for Yo Soy Jaime, Extra Picante.

Enjoy, everyone!

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