Mme. Rkatsiteli and I dined at Plum’s on a quiet Wednesday evening in July. We didn’t have any expectations; in fact, we had never heard of the place.
Ascending the dark staircase was intriguing, and we were pleasantly surprised to find an inviting, spacious room. All the window seats were occupied, so we took a table underneath the big chalkboard. The menu that night was limited, only a half-dozen entrees; Mme. chose the meatloaf, whilst I elected to try the duck. I must add that the presence of duck on a menu distracts me from most other choices, so there might have been other dishes but I didn’t notice. I inquired about the preparation of the duck; it is a breast, cooked sous vide, then finished under the broiler to crisp up the edges, and presented with a sauce of mushrooms and juices. There is a crispy bit of crackling atop the duck. The garnish included a frisee lettuce with a light dressing enhanced with horseradish, unusual but very tasty. Mme’s meatloaf was laced with fennel, imparting a different taste that we will try to reproduce in our own kitchen. She described the meatloaf as almost fluffy; we suspect it was blended gently by hand, or by someone with a delicate touch on the food processor, making it flavorful but not heavy.
Reflecting on the meat loaf, we recalled that the bread had been unusual; since I bake bread myself, I thought it had less salt than most bread. (In fact, the chef told us it has no salt at all!) The horseradish is another way of seasoning without salt. Though neither of us has any dietary restrictions, we appreciated the low-sodium diet, and enjoyed the creativity displayed in enhancing other tastes to make up for the absence of salt.
Service was prompt and attentive; the bar menu though not extensive was fascinating. I pay attention to beer, and the Plum beer selection was eclectic and very high quality across all categories. The wine card was also broad and of interest to anyone who appreciates wine that isn’t mass marketed.
The chef was relatively new (only a couple of months at Plum’s) and very happy to talk shop. We took home a dessert (a bourbon-sauced apple turnover) that made a superb breakfast pastry.
Overall, we were happy we obeyed the impulse to ascend the staircase and check this place out. It was our first visit, so we cannot comment on the consistency of the experience, but our experience was uniformly pleasant and we look forward to dining at Plum’s again.
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