Purple Plum in Oakland
- Paul C
I went to Purple Plum on Park Blvd in Oakland a few nights ago for the first time. Not sure when it opened, but I assume it's very new since there was a sign up sheet for their official grand opening by the door.
It was a very good meal. They bill themselves as "California Soul Kitchen Seasonal Comfort Food" and while that makes it sound sort of contrived and annoying, the food was very good. I had a grilled pork chop with an apple cider glaze that came with sweet potatoes and braised greens. The chop was cooked just right, and had just a hint of smokiness that went well with the not too sweet glaze. The sweet potatoes and green were well done too - seasoned perfectly, and the greens even had yummy little chunks of bacon in them. My partner had fried chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans (that tasted of a hint of pork too.) The crust on the chicken was excellent, and the meat was juicy and flavourful (he is a salt fiend, and he didn't need to season the meat any further - a good sign.) Desserts were pretty good, if not remarkable. I had nilla wafer banana pudding, and he had apple crisp.
The best part was the prices, the entrees were almost all under $15. It's the kind of place one can comfortably go to on a week night, and not break the bank. The down side is a pretty short menu, that makes repeat eating less exciting (although I assume that they are going to change the menu seasonly.)
I would reccomend the place to people who want something like Rick & Ann's, with a bit more southern flair, and with better food.
They mentioned that they've been reviewed recently (EB Express or Guardian???) and that there will be a review in the chronical in the next week or two.
While I agree with you about the food, pricing, and atmosphere, be forewarned that the service is amateur. The staff is very sincere and sweet, but every course was accompanied by well-earned apologies. We asked 3 times for a beer before receiving one, two entrees came out of the kitchen a good five minutes before the third, one of our salads was forgotten, and on and on. The first mistake was fine, the second a bit trying, and the rest downright irritating. I've heard similar complaints from a number of other people, so make sure you go with plenty of time and a benevolent attitude.
I did enjoy the food and will probably return, but the service really detracted from the experience.