Blue Plate

3218 Mission St. b/t 29th & Valencia
phone: 415.282.6777
hours: Tues-Sat 6-11pm
Californian-Mediterranean
Beer and Wine
blueplatesf.com

What a find! A little funky restaurant deep in the unsuspecting Mission steps up and serves brilliant, fresh, creative food. Everyone is friendly and knowledgable. The timing is perfect. It seems like they've raised the bar on what I can expect from my dining experiences.

The Ambience:
Two rooms. The front room has an open kitchen, high-backed faux antique seats, wooden booths and an enormous modern painting (that has something to do with music notes, though I'm no art critic...). It's well lit on account of the kitchen I suppose, but has a noisy, rustic, funky feel. The back room is painted all red with hanging ole English-style latern chandeliers. It's a little calmer and classier in the back, but more difficult to get a seat there. The front had walk-in tables available until about 8pm.

The Menu:
"Printed fresh daily," we were told. Upon further questioning, that doesn't mean a new menu every day, but new items based on produce selection. Basically, they're flexible, creative and interested in serving you fresh, seasonal foods. The menu itself is somewhat small, but terrifically interesting and written with mouth-watering poetic description. The highlight is not what foods they offer, but what they combine them with and how it's put together. Appetizers $8-$10, entrees $17-$20.

The Food:
Wow. Fresh, exciting, perfect. Our scallops (all three of them) were resilient and flavorful. So were the apple-root strings that came with them. My pork chop was on the bone and embarrassingly enormous, but cooked to perfection with delicious cheddar grits and some kind of green bean. Doesn't sound good? Don't trust the menu, trust the chef. My interlocutor had a paprika chicken with smoked sausage that infused the entire dish with a deep smoky flavor. It was served with two manilla clams. Clams! With chicken! Wow.

The Service:
Our waiter was the smartest guy in the world. Okay, probably not, but he did seem to know everything, from why the soup was name si melone (we didn't ask, but found out anyway) to how the dessert wine was pressed. His wine service was impeccable in the beginning, and we served ourselves wine throughout the meal, which is fine with me. I don't need a waiter hovering every five minutes. Our food was correct and on time; our waiter was on hand. They gave me an appetizer fork for my main course, but, people, that is my only complaint about the entire experience. And that fork did the job just fine.

Reservations:
Suggested, but not necessary before 8pm. You probably need to reserve early for the back room. Day-of reservations are fine for the front.

Overall: A
What a great experience. I doubt you can go wrong here.

 

Reviewed : Dec 2003



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