This past weekend I’ve been busy trying new places with friends and out of towners. Saturday night I finally got to try Plaj in San Francisco. It’s a Scandanavian Restaurant and bar and I’ve been hearing rave reviews from people about this place and have been dying to try it. And I’ll be honest, Scandanavian food is something I have not tried before and I so I was going in with an open mind to trying new things and being enlightened as well as inspired. So what’s the verdict was I inspired, enlightened and satisfied? Yes, yes, and Yes. The food is rather different from the typical California Inspired cuisine you get from most restaurants in SF and is very much fancified comfort food in my opinion. It’s food that I would like to say feeds the soul. Thus I would highly highly recommend trying this place as I will be adding this restaurant onto my list of regularly visited restaurants in the city.
Here are some photos I took from the lovely evening I had which actually started with some cocktails and none other than some whiskey. Could the evening be any better? Pre-dinner cocktails, amazing dinner with great company, and a sweet ending with Pinkberry:)
Pre-Dinner Drinks at Hardwater SF where you can order Whiskey/Bourbon/Scotch from an extremely extensive list. Everything is priced out at one ounce or two ounce shots. Great pre-dinner spot as well as a spot to end your night with if you have an early dinner. The food menu is very limited and quite honestly nothing appealed to me off the food menu. But the drinks list is amazing. Here is their vast and massive bar holding all the goodies.
The Cocktail was refreshing but what really stole the show here is this bourbon called “Campfire.” Oh my goodness, it had an incredibly nice smokey hint upon your first sip and finishes off slightly sweet, clean and super smooth. I”m still thinking about that first sip:)
After the lovely drinks, we headed off to Plaj. Here is the entrance to the restaurant which is located in a hotel in Hayes Valley. The location is a little irregular in that it’s in a hotel but don’t let that detour you. It seems a bit hidden but I actually find that aspect to be charming and rather lovely.
Potato dumpling kumla, onion ragout, lingonberry, brown butter, lardon. Hmm where do I begin on this dish. Every part of this dish was executed perfectly. I can’t think of any better way to serve a potato dumpling. Definitely one of my favorite dishes of the night and I will be replicating it at home one of these days and posting it on my blog. The fluffy potato dumpling had such a smooth and rich texture to it which was then panfried to give it a contrasting texture of crispy. Pairing it with the savory onion ragout and the sweet and slight tartness of the lingonberry made this dish very well balanced in flavors. Those dumplings are definitely heavenly)
This was a special of theirs. It had crab, apples, creamy risotto like base, lemon, and rosemary. Again a play on the sweet and savory and tart with the sweet apples, tart lemon and creamy savory crab risotto. Great dish
House caraway smoked salmon, roasted radishes,shaved fennel bulb, watercress, lemon crema. The salmon was perfectly cooked here and the herbs were great. I’m not sure if it’s because the heartier dishes were absolutely amazing that they outshined the seafood dishes but I found this dish to be like non memorable. The flavors here did not pop like the potato dumpling of the meatballs which you will see in the pic below.
Swedish meat balls, potato puree, pan gravy, lingonberry, pickled cucumber. Ok my mouth is watering just thinking about this dish. This dish is very much like the potato dumpling in flavor. The savory meatballs paired with the velvety potato puree, pan gravy, and the sweetness of the lingonberry and the tartness of the cucumber equals AMAZING. The balance here again is on spot and this dish I will be definitely making in the future.
Dessert was not jumping out to us much and since the dinner itself was so great, ending on those lovely meatballs is not a bad way to close out the meal at Plaj. Instead we opted for something lighter to end our evening: Pinkberry!
Overall I was extremely impressed and pleased with Plaj. It’s going on my restaurant weekly rotation and you can bet I’ll be having the potato dumplings and the meatballs for sure.