Sunday, July 4, 2010

Plum: perfect!

Saturday night, we fell in love with Capitol Hill's Plum Bistro, an elegant all-vegan restaurant. How exciting to have a full menu we could feel good about! How delightful to have so many delicious, inspiring tastes and combinations! This is meatless/animal-protein-less dining at its best, with local ingredients, creative presentations, chic decor, and a gorgeous cocktail list, too.
We each picked a cocktail for the evening: a jalapeno margarita for J, with a nice kick of spice and tequila, and "Oh My Goddess" alcoholic strawberry lemonade with basil and vodka for me. (This would be heavenly virgin, too.)

We picked the "Spicy Mac-n-Yease" appetizer at the recommendation of our server. I don't think she was exaggerating when she said that some people come to Plum just for this appetizer. It was a good-sized serving of pasta in an I-can't-believe-it's-not-cheese creamy, zesty sauce. Seems like everyone's been trying an upscale mac and cheese on their menu in the last few years, but I think this may be my favorite! (And it's VEGAN?!?) Breadcrumbs add a touch of crunch, but it all went down way, way too easily for something so rich. We weren't kidding when we asked if they sold this in bulk. (Well, I wasn't.)

My entree was the one currently pictured on the restaurant's home page: orange-balsamic glazed tempeh served over Thai-spiced mashed yams, with bitter greens. The tempeh was a firm consistency, with a crispy almost grilled feel to the edges. The glaze was a perfect blend of acidic and sweet, and the spicy (gingery, peppery) yams were the ideal partner. Soft, simple, flavorful greens (not bitter, but savory) filled out the plate. The portion was large and oh so satisfying.

Jordan ordered the "el besito caliente" burger. He was impressed that even though the menu described the filling as "tofustrami," it wasn't really trying to be pastrami, nor was the sandwich battling for burger dominance-- it was a delicious, balanced sandwich on its own terms. It did look a little messy, so I didn't try to swoop in for a bite. It was served with fries (not potato, but I'm not quite sure what root veggie they were)-- good, but not the best, as they were a little flaccid for my taste.

Many other intriguing items on the menu mean that we need to come back again and again. We're both very excited about the Zen Plate, "rice noodles in a ginger-shiitake mushrom broth
served with sautéed black pepper parsley, fresh cabbage, soft tofu & edamame w/ hot chili oil," and the Black Pepper-Battered Red Potato Parmesan, plus seitan steak with mushroom gravy, the "crazy Jamaican burger" served with plantains, and individual pan pizzas. There are also whole lunch and breakfast menus I haven't even seen yet! All is vegan, and several choices are also gluten-free. (N&B: we're going here next time you visit!!!)

A great night out often ends with dessert, and this was no exception. Tofu cheesecake for me, mango frozen soy treat for J. Yum! Although I thought it funny that the waiter couldn't use air quotes when he delivered our "ice cream" and "cheesecake" (his hands were too full).

Also kind of funny: the many typos on the cocktail menu, as if it had been typed up after sampling many, many choices, and having to finally pick and describe the favorites. "Agave necteer," "strawberies," and "lemmons" all put in an appearance. It says a lot when I smile at typos and think they just add to the charm of a place-- everything Plum did put me in that kind of a good mood.

Word to the wise: EAT HERE. But when you go, know that Plum is to the right (Suite B), and La Spiga is to the left (Suite A) at the same address (1429 12th Ave).

Warning to friends: If you ask me, "Where should we go out to eat?," if I'm feeling capable of leaving the Hill, I'll want to go to Plum.

Even if you aren't vegan, try Plum-- they are cooking delicious, creative food for everyone; it just happens to not have any animal proteins.

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