Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Plum Bistro, Seattle

On our last night in Seattle, we had reservations at Plum Bistro in the Capitol Hill area. Plum Bistro consistently shows up as a restaurant in the running for the best vegan fine dining restaurant in the nationwide VegNews survey right next to Candle 79 and Millennium so I was expecting a very upscale restaurant. Boy, was I mistaken. From a distance, we noticed people dressed in shorts and t-shirts eating there and immediately realized that this was no Candle 79.  When we walked in, we were greeted by the hostess and noticed we were one of three reservations. I guess reservations are not required. She asked if we wanted to sit at a private table or the communal one. We chose the private 2-person table. The restaurant is very small and was very crowded when we got there. It also has an open facade so you feel like you are eating outside.

As I looked around, I was amazed at the casual dress of not only the patrons, but the staff. One of the waitresses was actually wearing a mini skirt and flip flops. It was then when I realized this wasn't an upscale restaurant at all.

The wine list was a complete joke. Of the ten or so wines, all of them could be ordered by the glass or by the bottle and there wasn't a bottle priced at more than approximately $30. I was so disappointed. One of them was just called, "Pinot Noir," with no indication of the region or winemaker. Really? The waitress allowed us to taste a couple and we ultimately went with a Cotes du Rhone. The funny part was that it was spelled as "Cotes du Rhode" on the menu and I was telling Zach that I'd never heard of that appellation only to find out it was just misspelled.  That's a pretty significant misspelling.

The menu is incredibly detailed as it lists each dish as well as their side dishes. It was divided into sections for burgers, salads, and entrees. They allow no substitutions on the sides that come with the entrees so you have to choose your entree with your sides in mind. That made the decision much harder. The entrees were either seitan, tofu, or tempeh based. They also offer raw entrees, mushroom-based entrees, and pizza.

We started with the Sauteed Cauliflower appetizer, which was cauliflower sauteed with garlic, chili flakes, and lemon. While it had a nice taste to it, the cauliflower was undercooked. It was way too crunchy for this dish.

For my entree, I ordered the Tempeh Vermouth, which was tempeh marinated in vermouth with an olive sauce, topped with olives and garlic. It was served over mashed potatoes and with grilled green beans. The tempeh had a light, but spicy taste to it and the sauce was a great compliment. I was pretty happy with my dish.

Zach ordered the Chipotle Glazed Peach Tofu, which was exactly as described. It had a peach sauce, a couple pieces of avocado, and grilled green beans on the side. It was one of the few entrees that didn't technically have two side dishes and Zach was disappointed with having a plate full of green beans. That said, the tofu itself was really good.

We asked for the dessert menu and was told there was only one dessert that night - a German chocolate cake so German chocolate it was. Unfortunately, it did not taste like German chocolate cake at all. It was okay, but we were so put off by the bad chocolate syrup and the random rosemary sprig that we didn't give it much of a chance. Why would you put a sprig of rosemary on a "German chocolate cake." When we inquired about the cheap chocolate sauce, we were informed that they used Hershey's brand chocolate sauce. Wow.

The entrees were priced at about $18 each and in the end the entire meal for both of us was about $77 so it was appropriately priced for the quality of the meal. In sum, we enjoyed the entrees, but were disappointed with aspects of the appetizer and dessert. The wine list is a complete joke. The ambiance leaves much to be desired and the waitstaff aren't very professional. In fact, they let a child crawl across the table next to us for most of our meal. For a place that is listed as a vegan fine dining establishment in Seattle, I would say that it is not. It is a fine casual restaurant. Just don't go with high expectations and your experience will likely be better than ours.

Plum Bistro
1429 12th Avenue E
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 838-5333

Plum Bistro on Urbanspoon

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