Blue Plate, a place for high caliber, organic, free-range comfort food, popular among the San Francisco hipster foodies who whisper its name in reverence. An understated front with an old-fashioned neon EAT sign underlines its coolness: business is good enough that no advertising is necessary. A place to see and be seen, its tight seating arrangement especially in the front section is not conducive for Monster gatherings (or even human parties with kids); luckily, the back dining section over-looking a backyard offers a few tables for large groups. Reservation is essential, as there is no waiting area, and one can only look cool and hip and nonchalant for so long while shivering in the cold outside its entrance, shooting longing glances at the clipboard wait list on the wall.
Food quality is definitely very good, though perhaps menu options are not what one may consider fine dining: think meatloaf instead of foie gras.
- Macaroni and drunken Spanish goat cheese (side dish): a must. Perfectly cooked macaroni with cheese so finger-licking-delicious you’ll be wiping the dish clean.
- Brussels sprouts (side dish): None of the main dishes comes with a healthy serving of vegetables. If you’re a fan of brussel sprouts (everyone seems to either love them or hate them), get the side dish here. It comes with just the right amount of garlic and a pinch of chili to make it interesting. The bread crumbs bring a hint of crunchiness and makes it pair very well with the Mac & Cheese (see above).
- Meatloaf: Their signature dish, Monster-sized, or, large enough for two humans. Not your mom’s meatloaf — in a good way. It comes with mashed potatoes that hold their own. The green beans are so few one might wonder if the kitchen were running low.
- Ribeye steak: Again, Monster-sized portions. Excellent meat, though the kitchen tends to overcook slightly: the rare looks more like medium-rare to me, the medium a tad well-done — not the best way to treat a top cut of meat.
- Fried chicken: Nothing to complain about, but if that’s your thing, head over to The Front Porch a mere block away, which does it better. Or, there’s always Farmer Brown’s Little Skillet in Soma, where the food is so good the restaurant operates without tables or even cloth napkins.
Save room for dessert: chocolate cake with melted caramel, creme brulee, etc. Excellent wine list. Service is a bit hit & miss. The place is positively hopping and requests for more water or another glass of wine may take a while to get fulfilled. Can get loud.