Best American Restaurant - 2000
The Blue Plate
What do you think of when you think of good, down-home American cooking? Fried chicken? Thick steaks? Pork chops? Garden salads? French fries? Hominy grits? Berry cobbler? Chocolate cake? Banana cream pie? The stuff served up at the Blue Plate is delicious, but it isn't exactly down-home: The salads are lively with mizuma and grilled peaches, the potatoes are ribboned with huckleberries, and the cobbler's topped off with granola. But chef/owners Ian Wolff and Cory Obenour also know when to leave a dish alone -- the incredible Niman-Schell pork chop is simplicity itself -- and their more experimental forays can be remarkably good (a crusty polenta studded with thick chunks of bacon and strands of arugula is delectable). Best of all, the atmosphere is as warm and friendly as a farmer's handshake.