The place is busier than this, honest. But it's really nice looking.

Dinner tonight atPlum, a new restaurant in Oakland run by Daniel Patterson, celebrity chef and owner of Coi in San Francisco.

This place is so hip it hurts.  Open only 4 weeks, it’s a hit.  So cool it doesn’t even have a sign in front–you just have to know it’s there.

Very beautiful.  The walls are covered in hand dyed muslin.  The tables are large, seating 6 or 10, but you may well be seated with strangers as no seat goes unfilled.  “Seat” is sort of an overstatement, since there are benches and stools, but not chairs.  Even at the chef’s counter, they have cleverly placed coat hooks under the counter because there are no chairbacks to hang you coat on.

Oh, the food.  I guess it’s important, even if this is more a place to be seen than to eat.

The menu is small plates, very very small plates–designed to share, designed for you to order at least 3 dishes per person.  We had deviled eggs, artichoke terrine, carrots, farm egg and fried faro, and the pork salad.  That’s only 5 dishes–and I stopped for a large frozen yogurt on the way home.

Not that the food isn’t great–we scarfed every last morsel.  My “pork salad” in particular was fantastic.  The people we were with had the mushroom appetizer, and seemed to like it.  Or maybe they were just happy that the mushrooms didn’t kill them; I don’t understand people who love fungus.

As always, there is a full letter grade penalty for restaurants that don’t have decent sweetener for my iced tea.  Having only Stevia is just too precious for me.  Further, they have the strange practice of tacking on a 16% service charge “split between the servers and the kitchen staff”.  Well, lah-di-dah. That’s not only insulting, it’s stupid–we would have tipped more than 16%, but if that’s all they want, that’s all they get.

So, the food is good, the decor is nice, the attitude is pretentious and the price is high.  Counting the included service charge, a very light dinner was $121.98, plus $5.40 for my yogurt later.  If the food wasn’t so darned good I’d be really cranky, but the truth is we have a reservation for next Wednesday (you really need reservations at this place, look on their website).  Next time I’m ordering one more dish.  And the yogurt place is right on the way home…………………


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