We went to Blue Plate last night, after not having been for a good probably 10 years (they’ve been around for 17 this year!) and had an exceptionally wonderful dinner.
The BF and I shared 4 “small” plates (at least a couple of them could have served as an entree): the pastrami-cured beet salad with a caraway thousand island dressing; burrata with walnut levain, stinging nettle puree and chili oil; a slow poached egg over farro with parmesan, porcini and meyer lemon pistou; brandade gnocchi, with batons of finocchiona salami,pickled golden raisins, toasted almonds, preserved lemon; and one entree: the porchetta, stuffed with walnut and wild rice, a Seville orange juice sauce and basil.
A dish of very good focaccia starts everyone off. We sat at the counter to watch all the action, but they also have a long, very pretty dining room, and a lovely patio out back with heat lamps.
The beet salad may have stolen the show for me, if only by a hair. The beets were really smoky, and a mouthful of the beets, shaved Gruyere, frisee, 1000 dressing and a Rangpur lime vinaigrette was like biting into a Reuben. Fantastic.
The burrata was great too, tarted up with the creamy nettle puree and meyer lemon chili oil, and smoked walnuts, and toasted walnut levain. Hit all the right flavor and texture notes.
The slow cooked egg could easily have sufficed as a main, it was so rich and filling. Savory, oozy, and slightly cheesy, with little bright bites of the meyer lemon pistou, and more grilled bread. Dreamy.
The dorade gnocchi were a big surprise - the gnocchi were made with a pâte à choux, only my second time ever (in two weeks, no less) encountering this gnocchi prep, and these smooth pillows only hinted at salted cod (good for the fish-not-loving BF). the assertive bites of thick cut salami contrasted nicely, as did the sultanas and toasted almonds.
Finally, the porchetta. I do believe this is my first actual porchetta, and it was a wonderful introduction, with it’s ring of crispy/crackly skin, and stuffed with the less-sweet-than-I’d-imagined prunes, watercress and wild rice. it was a gorgeous piece of meat, napped in a Seville orange chimichurri and its own roasted juices.
I had an Oloroso sherry, and a nice rosé flight (a Cinsault, a Chinon, and a Matthiasson from Napa) and the BF had two glasses of a Spanish wine made with the Bobal grape, from Valencia, Spain. He almost never orders a second glass.
At the end, the BF asked me, so, is this better than Garcon? Oh yeah, blew it away. Better than Hoffman’s? Yes. How about Lolinda? Hmm… Yes, definitely. Lolinda is consistently great, but Blue Plate offers what feel like personal touches to me, more surprises, and more refinement, even in that warm, very casual & down-to-earth setting.