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Aug 14, 2008 02:46 AM

Plumpjack Cafe -- Comprehensive Report

I call this comprehensive because of how much different food we went through.

I will start a seperate thread tomorrow on the wines, all but one of which we brought. The wine we ordered off the list was the 1996 Salon for $295, which is about $50 SOUTH of retail. Relative to my expectations, it was a let down, though still an awesome bottle of Champagne. More on that in my thread coming tomorrow...

We started with the corn soup with bacon and wild mushrooms -- one of the best soups I've had in SF, and a serious value @ $9. The corn gave real sweetness, but the saltyness from the corn kept the dish fresh, as did the earthy mushrooms.

The other two then had the fois gras which they seemed to enjoy very much.

We then had the cod with pork belly. Excellent. The fish was not "fishy" at all. It was fresh and, again, the mushrooms and pork belly played perfectly with it. The beans provided a hint of green. The dish was able to stand up to the 1991 Leroy Clos de la Roche we were drinking with it and, in fact, I would reccomend against any medium or lighter-bodied white with this dish as the prok belly really does add a rich component without masking the cod.

Next was the duck served several ways. This was unquestionably the food-star of the evening. The seared breast was excellent, but the orange skin and breast preperation (I forget exactly what it was) served with it was nothing short of phenomenal. One of the three best duck preperations I've had in the US. Just spectacular. This was a perfect pairing both for the Leroy and for the 1997 DRC La Tache.

Next was the beef short ribs. There isn't much to write about here. The dish was impressive, but how many times do you order braised short ribs at a nice restaurant and get let down? My friend found his to be slightly tough, though I did not find mine so, though I have had less stringy preperations. This might have slightly overwhelmed the Leroy, which was finished just before this was presented, but both the La Tache and the richer-than-expected 2001 Spinetta Barolo Campe were terrific matches.

Two terrific cheese plates were presented to finish the evening with the Barolo. The only service tick wasw when a server (not our main server) said that one of the cheeses on our plate was a cow's milk cheese when I am quite positive it was goat's milk. But that is a *seriouly* minor point and not the type of thing I would hold against anyone.

Service was absolutely expert. Wine service as well. Corkage was $15/bottle. They charged 2 x menu price for each dish on the menu despite there being three of us as they gave us slightly smaller portions (because, you know, we wanted so many main course courses). VERY accomodating. And, to be honest, after ordering a bottle of Salon, and having so many courses, getting out for $260/person (other than the wines we brought) after a very nice tip seemed like a good deal.

All-in-all I would not say that this is a cutting-edge restaurant. But it is deffinitely very good, and the type of place I think everyone would be able to agree on. This should be on people's RADAR for a fairly casual, but very nice, meal when adventuresness ought to be taking back seat to comfort.

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    1. Thanks for the great review, whiner. I'm glad you had a nice experience at Plumpjack. They seem to have been changing chef's every six to eight months over the past few years. Hopefully, things have settled down.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bobpantzer

        Yes. A friend whom I went with said lasttime he as there (2 years ago) he was unimpressed. This was very last minute-y and we just sorta wound up there. But the food was *really* impressive. As I said, not earth shattering -- I just ate at Ame and Boulevard 2 weeks ago and this is not in that league. But it is very good, relaxed, easy, *anyone* could find things on the menu to order, they were very accomodating to our particular needs... overall, just a really great dining experience.

      2. They have a nice-looking summer tasting menu on the website currently ... 4 courses for $45. Wine pairing $21. Seems like a deal.

        Plumpjack Cafe - closed for remodel
        3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

        4 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          This seems much more "casual" than $250+/person (I understand that's before wine).

          1. re: mofo313

            It was $260/person AFTER the bottle of Salon! Total food bill with 6 courses including 3 mains and 2 people getting fois gras was just over $75/person before wine, tax and tip.

            1. re: whiner

              Ah, that makes much more sense. My bad.

              1. re: mofo313

                Sorry for the confusion. As you can see from the link just below, if you aren't criminally insane like we are, apps are either $8-$11 or $15-$19, depending upon what 'type' of appetizer you are in the mood for, and main courses are all in the mid or upper twenties. With its insanely well priced wine list up and down the price spectrum (Merry Edwards SB for $35?!?!) and very reasonable corkage policy, it actually makes for one of the better overall values around, if you are a wine lover and want some place 'easy'.

        2. Never eaten here, but the menu sounds great and the corkage policy is SUPER at 15 bucks a bottle.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chicago Mike

            Yes, and they gave us terrific wine service as well. All fresh glasses for each wine -- Schott Zweisel Tritans -- they were going to serve the Barolo in the Bordeaux glasses but I asked for it to be served in the Pinot glasses. They offered for everything to be decanted, asked when we wanted them opened, etc. We ot there just after 7pm and we closed out the restaurant, but they did not rush us. This is the regular menu we were presented with:

            1. re: whiner

              What night of the week did you go?

              And thanks for the tip on the Salon. I've got some bottles of the '96 stashed away that I've been dying to try, and Plumpjack's price for theirs is stellar.