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Thursday, January 31, 2002

A new spin

Posted on Thu, Jan 31, 2002 at 4:00 AM

Among the litany of clubs and nightspots that have occupied downtown's Wall Str eet Plaza, only one stood out for food. The Globe's arrival represented a huge transformation of the former Go Lounge site back when Wall Street was walled off, and "dark and dirty" were the bywords.

Now there is no wall, a rather pleasant park, and a new owner and direction for The Globe and its adjoining compatriots, Slingapour's and the Tuk Tuk Room. All are connected by beautiful Indonesian carved-wood doorways, impressive decor and Joel Springman, whose holdings at the other end of Wall Street include Wall Street Cantina, Loaded Hog and One Eyed Jack's.

So how does the new Globe compare with the old? It doesn't. Gone are the sporadic 24-hour service, the organic food, the sprouts and the globes. "Globe" now refers to a menu that includes Cuban sandwiches, Hawaiian pizza and Thai chicken -- a collection that is being called "all-around food with an Asian twist." The twist even extends to a sushi bar in the Tuk Tuk Room, called Wright & Wong's. All the related businesses (with three bars among them) share not only walkways but menus, so one can order food from The Globe and get sushi on the same bill, even in Slingapour's nightclub.

The food is partly hit, occasional miss. The big Chinese noodle bowls ($6.95 to $8.95) are by far the best "hit," particularly the "Buddha's best" of sautéed vegetables and spicy broth on lo mein. Conch fritters ($5.95), doughnut-hole-sized appetizers of seafood and breading, are tender and fresh, with an oddly textured mango chutney. The no-fuss ahi tuna ($7.50) -- sushi-grade fish, lightly seared and coated with sesame seeds -- also is a winner.

Chef Sherry Bertucelli comes from Art's Café, and she's probably glad to be away from the cigars. She prepares a different soup every day, and the one I tried, chicken artichoke ($3.95), was excellent. The sourdough bread, however, was closer to Marita than San Francisco; it marred an otherwise flavorful turkey-salad sandwich. And the chicken Marsala, while made with plenty of moist chicken, was bland, bland, bland.

It's daring to open a sushi bar within walking distance of three of the area's best, but Wright & Wong's does sushi very well indeed. I particularly recommend the spicy tuna basket ($3.75), tiny sweet chunks topped with a peppery dressing, and the nigihama roll ($4.75), delicious yellowtail with a tang of raw scallion.

The kitchen is open for lunch and closes at midnight; late-night and breakfast menus are being considered. Think of The Globe as part of a food-and-drink "complex," and enjoy.


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