One of the places I desperately wanted to go while we were in Portland was Blueplate in downtown. The problem was that its normal hours weren't going to coincide with when were available to go eat. The Diner Gods smiled on us and made the weekend we were there the first weekend Blueplate was open for dinner service.
I knew it was a small place and I actually thought we might need reservations. It was only the second night of dinner service--I thought that was a big deal--but when we walked in things were very low-key. Then I remembered that this is Portland and Portland is a laid-back town. It was silly to think we would need reservations.
There were a few tables occupied and the counter was completely open. Antoinette and I took seats at the counter. Antoinette appreciated that each had its own step-stool to get up onto the seats. My wife is short.
It's almost a gimmick the way things are cooked at Blueplate. It's a tiny place without an actual kitchen. It's all done on this tiny cook top (supplemented by electric griddles during peak times). Out of necessity, the menu is about as small as the restaurant. It's all modern gourmet takes on classic comfort food: things like shepherds pie, sliders and meatloaf.
The special that night was a chicken and waffle sandwich.
Okay, this is going to sound just a little snobby but--I'm from LA, trick! Chicken and waffles is kind of played out, but I wanted to give it a shot.
Okay, this sandwich was bomb. Yep, I called it BOMB! It actually worked as a sandwich. I assumed it was going to be like a pancake sandwich which is never actually a sandwich. This had two savory waffles holding a delicious piece of chicken breast, lightly battered and fried--it could not have worked if it had been the least bit greasy--with shredded apple and a honey mustard sauce. Bomb, right?
The sandwich and the candied carrot side were phenomenal tasting.
Blueplate is known for its meatloaf so Antoinette had to order that. If she hadn't, I would have had to order that to take back to the hotel for later. Now, for the dinner that night, they were only serving the meatloaf sandwich as they didn't have any gravy. Antoinette didn't mind, she just wanted mashed potatoes and meatloaf. The meatloaf was very moist and delicious, and the potatoes were creamy and perfectly seasoned.
Along with the delicious food, Blueplate serves up homemade sodas and milkshakes. I ordered the R.P. McMurphy, named for Jack Nicholson's character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
I have a deep love for butterscotch and when you add to that some honey roasted peanuts and toffee covered cashews, it becomes heavenly.
We talked with the owner--who was also our cook--after we finished eating. We asked him to recommend some other places to eat in town. He said where he goes for breakfast was a little place called Byways Cafe. A review of this place is coming soon.
Blueplate completely lived up to my expectations. I do wish we had been able to make it there during the day, I would have loved to see it at the height of business at lunch. A full counter and tables I think would have made the atmosphere really pop. The next time we are in Portland, we'll make that happen.
Pie: Sadly, no.