Kale is well and good, but we've been noticing a new leafy green finding its way into San Francisco's hottest restaurants: seaweed. That's right--it's not just for sushi anymore. Here, a few of the inventive--and decidedly tasty--ways to get your algae on.
As an appetizer At Bar Tartine, salty wild laver seaweed from Mendocino is served on earthy smoked goat cheese with fresh peas and sesame crackers ($14). 561 Valencia St.; 415-487-1600 or bartartine.com
In a cracker A crisp, saline seaweed cracker is topped with a mild, buttery tombo tuna and avocado in this light appetizer at State Bird Provisions ($9). 1529 Fillmore St.; 415-795-1272 or statebirdsf.com
In a salad Fish in Sausalito serves a rock cod bathed in green curry, accompanied by black rice and a roe-on-kelp cucumber salad that gets a pop from the fish eggs ($28). 350 Harbor Dr., Sausalito; 415-331-3474 or 331fish.com
In a cocktail The bar at the Exploratorium's new Seaglass restaurant makes a Seawater Martini, which combines flavors of juniper and plum with a briny Mendocino kelp known as sea grapes ($9). Pier 15 at the Exploratorium; 415-528-4444 or seaglassrestaurantsf.com
Over oysters At Manresa in Los Gatos, raw oysters are topped with chilly, salty seaweed ice (you read that right), which is balanced with the tang of Meyer lemon (five bites for $48). 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos; 408-354-4330 or manresarestaurant.com