Daniel Patterson The Great may have opened Plum in late September but he's still got a next-door Scott Beattie cocktail lounge and a young and talented chef named Charlie Parker on the way. So obviously this Downtown Oakland debut is still in the development phase. Still, why don't we check in on the sprightly newcomer and see where the popular inter web opinions lie. If you've been -- and even if you haven't tried this oxtail burger and white chocolate dessert everyone's buzzing about -- remember to share your thoughts in the comments.
The Good News: Foodhoe writes a mostly glowing review: "I greatly enjoyed the creative and artistic fare and look forward to exploring the menu as it changes with the seasons." And Tasting Table was impressed by D-Patt's vegetable cookery the most, "celebrating the boundless possibilities of edible horticulture." Chowhounder bbulkow adds: "The tastes here are overwhelmingly light and delicate. I think it's a very light hand with the salt that does it, and frankly it's rather welcome." [Foodhoe, Tasting Table, Chowhound]
The $$$ News: From Chowhound's abstractpoet: "At just about $50 a person (after tax and tip, plus additional tip, and including some wine), we all agreed that this was a great value for the money. That's still more than my wife and I can afford to spend on a regular basis, but, as I believe someone else also said, it's easy to imagine getting out for much less." And Sara Hirsch of UrbanSpoon thinks: "Small portions at city prices, but hey I thought it was worth it but I just can't go as frequently." [Chowhound, Urbandspoon]
The Chicharrones News: But Single Guy didn't think D-Patt's chicharrones were all that: "Of course, I only tried just one piece because I don’t like to eat deep-fried foods, and I wasn’t tempted to eat more. Foodhoe and I agreed that while the pepper and lime spice sprinkled on the chicharrones was a perfect seasoning, the texture seemed a bit off, almost stale." But Foodhoe's actual post doesn't mention that not-so-fresh feeling: "I found the spice mixture and crunchy surround sound sensation to be irresistable." [Single Guy, Foodhoe]
The Burger News: Single Guy weighs in favorably on Plum's beef cheek and oxtail burger: "This amazing burger had a unique texture that was slightly rich and flakey [sic], darkened by the cooked cheeks and oxtail meat. It wasn’t the typical bloody hamburger, but this unique combination created a different flavor that was surprising and so satisfying." And Tom L. of Yelp thinks, "the beef cheek and oxtail burger deserves a special mention - must try if you like beef." [Single Guy, Yelp]
The Just Okay News: Single Guy's final answer is a little here, a little there: "The food at Plum is a mix bag of amazing (artichoke terrine, beef cheek/oxtail burger) to ordinary (chicory salad), but the effort is always appreciated, especially in the emerging dining experience of Uptown...He wants Plum to be a neighborhood restaurant, and I think he’s done just that while still throwing in a few culinary surprises." The EBX seconds this middle-of-the-road stance: "The mood is fun and festive, the service is affable yet professional, and if you order right you can have yourself a pleasant if not world-rocking meal."
The Tipping News: Plum's tipping policy threw off ABO: "The one thing that bugged me about the meal was that when the bill came, they had added a 16% service fee. I really hate it when restaurants do that. I mean, I get why you have to do it for big parties or whatever, but for a normal table? That is obnoxious. And also, it’s confusing. Am I supposed to tip again on top of that? I mean, I can’t think of where I would go that I’m only going to tip 16% on a meal." [A Better Oakland]
The News About Brains On The Menu: A Better Oakland takes a break from political talk to post on Plum and she's miffed about the menu: "A lot of people really do not like mayonnaise. DEAR ALL RESTAURANTS: IF THERE IS MAYONNAISE ON A DISH, YOU SHOULD SAY SO ON THE MENU. Also, I’m personally not squeamish about these things, but it really does seem only fair to let people know if you’re feeding them brains, which was also not indicated on the menu...The whole mayonnaise thing really threw me off my game. It was just so unexpected."
The Interior News: Michel S. of Yelp was feeling the decor: "Beautifully appointed minimalism added to the rich, deep tones of the interior and the exciting tempo of the open kitchen." But Foodhoe found the ambiance "dark and moody" and "vaguely creepy like something from the set of a horror movie." [Yelp, Foodhoe]
The Dessert News: Many have raved about the white chocolate dessert, and Fawn P. agrees: "Absolutely divine. The white chocolate roasted so it didn't even taste like white chocolate. Plus the tartness of the huckleberry. Outstanding. MeanwhileA Better Oakland gets with the milk chocolate cream: "I’m not really a pudding person, so looking at the menu this was not something I would have ever ordered if the waitress had not been so insistent that it was the best, but I’m so glad we got it. If you go to Plum and order dessert, order this! [A Better Oakland]
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