Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dessert at The Blue Plate

This review is a bit old, as I was waiting to post it until I went back to The Blue Plate for a full dinner, but, I realized that I have no idea when that will happen, so I might as well post this now :)

The Blue Plate is one of very few full service restaurants using LevelUp (doh, correction, they used to be on LevelUp, but it looks like they are no longer listed.  They didn't seem all that familiar with it when I was there, so I'm guessing it just wasn't a big hit).  Anyway, Blue Plate is a casual, neighborhood, "New American" restaurant located in Bernal Heights.

I didn't take much notice of the interior of the restaurant, because it was a rare, ridiculously warm day in San Francisco, and I was seated out in their spectacular outside garden.  If I recall correctly, inside was a bar area, and some regular tables.  Nice enough, but nothing compared to the amazing outdoor garden!
Backyard Garden.
They have a beautiful backyard garden, with only 4 tables.  The tables have heat lamps built-in them, but apparently they are no longer allowed to run them, so most of the time, they do not seat people outside.  But I lucked out and was there during the indian summer, and it was ridiculously warm.  The garden was full of trees and other plants, and since I was there early, no one else.  I had this beautiful outdoor space all to myself!
House Filtered Water.  Free!
To start, they offer house filtered still or sparkling water, served in Strass Dairy jugs ... and at no extra charge.  I love when places do this!
Peach and Blueberry Bread Pudding / Candied Pecans / Crème Anglaise.  $8. 
My visit occurred after a set of LevelUp failures left me grumpy, and near Bernal Heights wanting something "to make me happy".  And being the dessert girl that I am, I knew that a great dessert had that potential.  When I saw their dessert menu, I was instantly sold: I love bread pudding, and I'd had a rather disappointing chocolate and banana bread pudding earlier in the day, which made this sound even more appealing.  (And don't judge, it is totally ok to have multiple servings of bread pudding in a single day!)

The presentation was far fancier than I was expecting for a place with such a neighborhood feel, with a peach puree on one half of the plate, and crème anglaise on the other. The peach puree was very sweet, but really helped enhance the flavor of the overall dish.  The crème anglaise had flecks of black in it, which I'm guessing was vanilla bean, but it didn't really have any vanilla flavor.  It was fairly disappointing, not really offering up any creaminess nor flavor.  I think whipped cream would have paired better.

The bread pudding itself was served lukewarm.  I would have liked it hotter, as only the edges were warm, and the center was still cold.  The top was nice and crispy, but the interior was kinda just there.  It wasn't dry, but it also didn't have the moistness I like in a good bread pudding.  It also seemed to be solid, rather than made up of chunks of bread, although the top did seem like bread cubes, so I'm not really sure what was going on there.  It had a few blueberries and nectarine sliced baked into it, but not many.  They were moist and flavorful, but the rest of the pudding didn't have a lot of flavor.  It had some cinnamon spicing to it as well.

On top were a few candied pecans and thin slices of peach.  The peaches were actually the best part of the dessert, perfectly ripe, really flavorful.

Overall, this was just mediocre.  I can't really pinpoint what was off about it, I think the consistency and temperature of the pudding were the biggest issues.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great.  It was leagues better than the horrible bread pudding I had at Soma Inn Cafe though!

The size of the dessert was perfect.  If I'd just had dinner, I could have easily split it with someone and been satisfied.  As I was alone and just wanting a "snack", it was slightly bigger than I wanted, but just barely.  I really appreciated that it wasn't too dainty nor jumbo sized.  And $8 for a dessert of this calibre was totally justified.  I wouldn't get this again, but I'd like to try more of these desserts.
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