Thursday, March 12, 2009

Staying True To Your Concept

Jimmy Carter occupied the White House. Everybody was listening to the Village People's megahit "YMCA," and Paul Prudhomme opened his K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans and popularized blackened catfish.

That year, 1979, also saw the usual opening of dozens of restaurants in San Francisco, most long gone and forgotten - except for at least three oases of fine dining that not only survived some harrowing times (the Loma Prieta earthquake, 9/11, the dot-com bust), but have become icons in an urban food scene studded with stars.

At first glance, the three seem vastly different - Green's, possibly the nation's most celebrated vegetarian venue; Zuni Cafe, the eclectic gathering place of artists, writers, culinary professionals and politicians; and Hayes Street Grill, mecca for local politicos, patrons of the performing arts and lovers of fresh, unadulterated seafood.

But scratch the surface and find that these three have much in common.

First and foremost, all are dedicated to the best local provender. Second, all three have kept their focus over the decades, never trying to be hot or trendy.

Read the SF Gate story here.

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