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Novelty is exciting until it wears off, leaving nothing more than a bad taste. Such is the case with Globar, a restaurant and lounge at the corner of 13th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia, opened in the spring by local attorney Jimmy Binns. The neon lights buzzing inside might entice passers-by to wander in, but when the novelty wears thin, little attraction is left. Booth seats glow orange, green and blue, the bar is illuminated by electric tubes, the contemporary bathrooms erupt in club music after the door is shut, and the metal and balsam tables and chairs emit Scandinavian chic. But the environment quickly deteriorates into that of an IKEA during a sale. Trendy waiters, clad in black, rely on their good looks and charm, not their ability to efficiently deliver a meal. While the service could be worse, trying to get what was ordered delivered was a bit like trying to coddle a toddler into putting away his toys. On a recent visit, pureed raspberry soup ($4.95), served cold, did its job. Whipped tangy berries were served in a bowl that could have been a trough, and the mix went down easy. Shrimp pizza ($9.95), was filling and large. Two could easily make a meal out of this appetizer, covered in cheese and plump shrimp. However, the dish lacked kick, and the flaccid crust did a satisfactory job of allowing the toppings to slide off and plop onto laps, tables and floors. The entree offerings, primarily meat and fish, looked like modern art, but appearances can be deceiving, and some dishes fell short of the mark. The house spiced salmon fillet ($14), a generous portion of fish served with polenta, grilled zucchini and tomatillo sauce, is coated in a peppery-sweet combo of spices. However, bites of bland zucchini take away from the success of the fillet. The roasted chicken breast ($15) is itself standard fare, but the bed of bleu cheese-mashed potatoes served with it knocks this dish up a notch, giving it a gourmet flair. Macadamia-crusted sea scallops ($14) with brie and warm pineapple vinaigrette at first appear to be a near-perfect combination. But after a few bites, mental images of sweet-and-sour chicken, cheap Chinese takeout style, surface. Fajitas ($9) are served with typical sides — salsa, tomatoes, shredded cheese and sour cream. Instead of the traditional round, soft tortillas, pita triangles are served, necessitating the use of fingers, forks and knives to shovel the chicken and beef onto the pitas. However, the massive plate is filled with meat medallions, pita and veggies, making the mess worth it. Vegetarians, frequently regulated to concocting their own feast out of a series of side dishes, are catered to at Globar. The old menu included braised tofu and portabella mushrooms ($13), served with a medley of vegetables. While the mushrooms were run-of-the-mill, the tofu was crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and actually had taste, something that tofu dishes frequently lack. The tofu-portabella dish has apparently been replaced on the latest Globar menu by the vegetarian hot pot ($14), with tofu, glass noodles and ginger soy broth. A late-night snack could be made out of the side-dish offerings. A seemingly bottomless pit of crispy Globar fries ($4), paella rice ($5), stir-fried vegetables ($5) and roasted garlic-mashed potatoes ($4) are a delightfully far cry from the after-midnight bowl of Chex mix and pretzels offered at other local pubs. Globar pushes its drinks the way George W. Bush pushes tax breaks, and rightfully so. Exploring the cocktail menu is worth the time and the money. Even old standbys like the cosmopolitan are better than average. When the electricity at Globar goes out, not much is left. However, with some fine-tuning and with the confidence to rely on its food to carry it instead of gimmicks, the restaurant and lounge should be able to hold its own. Globar, 13th and Locust Sts., Philadelphia, (215) 732-1800. Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner seven nights; Sunday-Thursday until 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 1 a.m. Late-night menu available.

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