We don’t typically write about individual Bay Area restaurant visits. There are so many good restaurants that we would spend almost as much time writing as we do eating.
We will make an exception for Plaj. Although we’ve read much about the joys of Scandinavian cooking, we haven’t had much of a chance to explore it. We haven’t been to Scandinavia in a number of years and Marcus Samuelson has moved beyond this cuisine over recent years.
But after a visit to Plaj, we will pay more attention. On our recent visit, we shared four dishes:
- Krondill poached lobster white fish caviar, horseradish, avocado and chili;
- Halibut with chanterelle cream, shaved asparagus and salmon roe;
- House caraway smoked salmon with roasted radishes, shaved fennel bulb, watercress and lemon crema; and then, to add a little meat to our seafood diet, we had the
- Swedish meat balls with potato puree, pan gravy, lingonberry and pickled cucumber.
We paired the meal with a 2011 William Fevre Chablis.
All three of the seafood dishes were wonderful. The fish was fresh and perfectly cooked, the accompaniments worked very well with it and the combination of tastes and textures were fun and interesting. Our only disappointment was with the meat balls. Although the accompaniments were very good, the meatballs, although slightly crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, had little if any taste. But three and a half dishes out of four ain’t bad!
Meanwhile, the service was prompt, professional and knowledgeable, without being intrusive or pretentious. Since we arrived late for our reservations, and needed a quick turnaround to arrive at the theater on time, we told our server the time at which we had to leave. She changed the timing she had planned for bringing the dishes to accommodate our needs and brought new dishes out just as we were ready for them. Then, five minutes before the time we told her we had to leave, she asked if we were ready for the check.
Although we will have to return before making a real pronouncement on Plaj, we were extremely impressed by our first visit. It is well on its way to becoming one of our favorite dinner restaurants, in the proud company of other standouts such as AQ and State Bird Provisions.
We are anxious to return.