Best American Food - 2005
The Blue Plate
The very appealing menu of the Blue Plate, self-described as a "new American restaurant," reveals just how globally influenced and sophisticated today's square meals are: Alongside the excellent meatloaf (with mashed potatoes and a fresh seasonal vegetable), a standard on the frequently changing lineup, you might find a hunky Niman Ranch pork porterhouse sided with herbed spaetzle, English peas, pancetta, and Meyer lemon jus, or duck confit with a rainbow assortment of vegetables and watercress in a snappy cardamom vinaigrette, or wild nettle ravioli with asparagus and grated tuma cheese. Starters could be roasted marrow bones with parsley salad or fennel-roasted pork belly with minted, crushed fava beans. Prices are reasonable for such interesting, well-cooked (and generously portioned) fare, even served on wooden tables sans tablecloths in densely packed, noisy rooms. There's an eclectic, eccentric wine list (the 50 rotating choices are divided into such categories as "risqué" and "chic") and a pleasant back garden for balmy nights.