blue plate SF report
went to blue plate tonight for a farewell dinner. we were seated in the lovely outside garden with heat lamps. i've eaten here quite a few times and never bothered reporting, mainly because blue plate is just such a staple. but it's always recommended when people ask about dining in the area, so i thought i'd do an update report.
we had quite a few appetizers:
grilled romaine: still crisp grilled romaine topped with a bacon dressing and cherry tomatoes. if we still had some of the house made focaccia, this would have made a wonderful take on a great BLT.
sardine bruschetta: on toasted bread with a fava bean puree. considering how strong sardines can taste, i have to say that i can't even remember how this tasted. least memorable dish.
grilled monterey calamari with lemon and sorrel: i find it impossible to say negative things about calamari that is cooked well, and this was cooked well.
fatted calf mortadella: served with grilled plums, frisee lettuce, and pistachio crumbs, echoing the pistachios in the mortadella. i finished this myself. enjoyed it very much.
free serving of padron peppers with goat cheese and marcona almonds. great starter snack. we were warned that some of the chiles would be spicy, but most would be mild. these were mild, brightly roasted and tempered by the richness of the cheese and almonds.
i had the hanger steak for my entree, which was described as "chile marinated," above a wonderful potato salad and watercress. another of our party was worried about the spiciness, and we were told that it was mildly spicy, based on a korean approach to meat. i started laughing and said "leave it to me to gravitate to the korean style steak," but make no mistake, this was not spicy at all, and didn't even suggest "korean" to me. but it was good, if not memorable. i was more into the two sides of their wonderful mac'n cheese. didn't taste the other dishes, which included roasted halibut, a black summer truffle gnocchi with arugula, cherry tomatoes, and ricotta salata (my second choice), a roasted chicken on....i'm sorry, i don't remember...and the famous meatloaf, which i had a bite of, and realized that bacon must make all the difference in that immutable standard. oh, i did have a bit of chicken breast, and it was very tender, and juicy, but i'm just not a fan of that bit of meat.
we had two banana cream pies, a nectarine and blackberry pie, and a hazelnut creme brulee that was quite astonishing, garnished with figs and rasberries.
wines? i took a picture of the label of one of the whites, but i can't remember wines at all. it's like asking me to do my multiplication tables. l can't do it.
so the next time someone inquires about dining in the mission, especially past cesar chavez, i hope this gives a decent idea of what to expect. blue plate is absolutely one of my favorite local restaurants.
i'm usually open to trying the newer items on the menu, but i know people who cannot steer clear of the meatloaf. i like it, and will sneak a bite off of someone's plate, but i don't get the devotion. i do always make sure to get a side of their macaroni and cheese, which comes still bubbling in an earthernware crock, sharp from the drunken goat cheese, but tempered by the milder cheeses. it's creamy and never grainy.
the appetizers always seem to appeal more to me than the mains, which are usually based on classic american dishes. the outdoor seating is really lovely and intimate, and it's just down the street!
i love the food here, and stop in regularly.
that said, the service is without fail terrible. the food always takes forever to come out and the wait staff are often running around in a panic, in my experience. you could sit in the garden and be forgotten, you could sit inside and spend all night trying to get your entrees.
as long as you are in a leisurely mood, it's a great choice. i really do enjoy eating here, but i would never do it with an uptight friend or before the theater or anything...
Thanks Aug as Blue Plate is on my 'short list' for the "go to dinner" when we visit Sonoma and your great city mid October and based on your review as well as others these past few months, tells me that this is probably the "one" (maybe my pocketbook will allow for Gary Danko.....who knows???).
Having said that, you have one GREAT forum going on here. It's civil, informative, with the locals who participate here regularly, contributing beautifuly for this East Coaster.
If I may......suggestions as to places in the Mission that could serve as a 'primer" (say from mid afternoon) prior to dinner that we could get a better taste of this cool neighborhood. Staying at the Boheme, so anyone with a quick mass transit connections in order to get into the Mission expediently would also be much appreciated.