Blue Plate serves up a culinary tour of global flavor
One look at the Blue Plate menu, and you’ll take a trip not just around the globe, but through culinary styles.
“People tell you that you should focus on one thing and do it really well,” Adam Roustom says, who owns Blue Plate with his wife, Elli.
But what if that one thing is the ability to encapsulate all the different parts of your history and heritage into a variety of dishes? It’s like that at Blue Plate; each and every dish on the eclectic menu connects back to Adam. A childhood spent in both Syria and New England. A feisty and passionate Austrian wife. An early career in East Coast Greek joints. A mother from Long Island, stages in classical restaurants. Cape Cod, Las Vegas, New York City, Boston, La Jolla — this is all Adam. And you can see it on Blue Plate’s menu: yogurt sauces, meatloaf, Mediterranean skewers, fish and chips, fondue, linguine and Bolognese, lobster mac and cheese, apple strudel …
In Blue Plate’s early days, it was the schnitzel that put it on the map. A nod to Elli’s childhood, the Roustoms ran it as a special — and suddenly they had a group of regulars clamoring for it. Adam’s is “like grandma makes it.” Served with potato salad, green salad and lingonberry sauce, the meat is succulent, the breading buttery and crisp.
“If you’re going to do it, do it right,” he says.
But the restaurant has cultivated a variety of fans, each group honing in on a different aspect. The meatloaf is a best seller, incorporating both beef and pork sausage as well as pomegranate and peas. Trust me, it works. The New England-style fish and chips uses scrod, a young cod that is so tender and flavorful. And Blue Plate’s skinny fries are legendary. The Casablanca Mussels come from Prince Edward Island and are rich with Moroccan spices, pickled lemons and a garlicky white wine broth.
“If I changed the mussels, people would kill me,” Adam says.
But don’t miss out on Adam’s Middle Eastern offerings — easily the best hummus in the valley, and he has a deft hand when incorporating warm yogurt sauces that don’t break. Case in point, the local lamb shank with a Syrian yogurt sauce, roasted nuts and jasmine rice: tender, comforting and decadent. For perhaps a more virtuous dish, “The Med” chicken skewer has an exclamatory flavor profile that’s highlighted by grilled onions, tomatoes and jalapenos. Served with a “secret” garlic dipping sauce, it’s ideal for anyone who likes big flavors and healthy options.
And though it’s easy to talk endlessly about the menu, it’s the whole experience that makes repeat visitors out of first-timers. Elli runs a tight ship in the front of the house, making sure the dining room is spotless and no guest goes un-greeted. Some summers she’s cultivated tomatoes in patio planters, and is responsible for the overall comfort of the dining room, as well as the wine list.
“The beauty of Blue Plate is you can look in the dining room and there’s a local plumber sitting at a table next to a multimillionaire,” says Adam.
And what are they ordering?
“Frog legs. Schnitzel. Everything!” he answers.