Blue Plate offers a diverse menu and seating options this summer
You can call Blue Plate global, or eclectic, or international — it all amounts to the same thing to Chef-Owner Adam Roustom, and he has a different word for it: Americana.
“Almost all the foods that are ‘classic American’ came from someplace else,” he says. “America is a melting pot, and that’s what we are. Blue Plate is Americana.”
And it starts with the chef and his wife, Elli, who manages the front of the house. He spent his childhood in Syria until moving to the East Coast in grade school. Elli hales from Austria. The pair met in Vail, had a brief and feisty courtship, then married and opened up Blue Plate a dozen years ago. And though the concept today is basically what they started with, every year they add a little more, do a little more. Blue Plate is practically a lifestyle.
Summer is a special time at Blue Plate for a lot of reasons — especially the patio seating off of one of the eatery’s two dining rooms. “It’s the only place in the valley where you can sit under an apple canopy or order from an outside bar.” Inside or out, it’s a great time to sample one of Elli’s refreshing teas or lemonades — made fresh daily with all-natural ingredients, including blue butterfly pea flower tea, which brings a vivid hue. Or go for a fruit-forward summer cocktail created by Bar Manager Alex Siles.
And they’ve just opened their gondola seating: cozy up in the newly refurbished Hansel or Gretel cars and enjoy the entirely customized Chef’s Tasting Menu or the Traditional Alpine Menu. With beautiful interior woodwork and seamless service, the gondola cars seat a foursome comfortably, and offer a magical experience that takes you outside of time.
But you don’t have to sit in a gondola car to experience Chef Adam’s culinary chops. Whether you’re heading in for lunch, Happy Hour or dinner, there’s a solid backbone of Blue Plate’s tried-and-trues, embellished with enough new items to keep the chef jazzed.
For a place that has developed a cult following for both meatloaf and schnitzel, there sure are a lot of inventive vegan options “just because.” Case in point, the red lentil Kibbe Nayeh served with fresh mint, chili and onion, the classic set-up for Middle Eastern raw lamb kibbe. “It makes it pop, and the lentils are really reminiscent of raw lamb — it rocks,” enthuses Adam. Or go for his spin on Papas Bravas: “Instead of potatoes we’re using sweet potato tater tots — for me, a tater tot is the epitome of Americana, I fell in love with them in 5th grade when we moved to America.” Doused with a chipotle sauce and served with an almond “vegannaise” instead of the normal aioli, it’s a fun little tapa. Other newbies to the menu include Asian Pork Osso Bucco — braised shanks, panang (red) curry sauce, Asian broccoli and mango — as well as shrimp and scallop ceviche tostadas, topped with guava foam, and Adam’s own take on liver and onions a la the Ottomans, with crispy veal liver, hummus, Syrian cabbage and sumac onions. The menu is truly a wild ride through Adam’s own interests and influences. With his flavors and execution, and Elli’s attention to the details of consistency and hospitality, they’ve cultivated a clientele that will happily follow along.