|Plum Bistro in Seattle, Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: 1429 12th Ave Seattle, WA|
|Hours: M-W, Sun 8am-10pm, Thurs-Sat 8am-12am||Times Visited: 1|
The Stumptown Vegans Travel!
The exciting lunch menu at Plum Bistro in Seattle features smoked seitan, tempeh filled crepes, sweet and spicy Jamaican tofu, creative salads, and Southern style small plates, such as crunchy Cajun fried okra and Louisiana-style collard greens. As I perused, I thought the entire menu sounded kick ass and I was torn on what to order. Dining as a vegan tourist can be awesomely overwhelming, but suddenly! -I had a recommendation and an entrée calling out to me. Just over an hour later, with a to-go container in hand, I realized this review was going to be brash.
Plum Bistro is fairly new to Seattle’s Capitol Hill district, and I say that with potential. It’s run by the owners of the casual Hillside Quickie establishments, and is a sleek, classy bistro serving predominately Southern and Caribbean influenced vegan dishes. Hillside Quickies are known for greasy, indulgent, quick dishes, and the menu at Plum seemed to have stepped up with their offerings. There are many similar dishes, but across the board – from the classy atmosphere, thanks to the shiny wood floors, the sleek square tables with unique chairs, to the well-trained, courteous young waiter pouring a glass of cucumber infused water – the presentation comes across as impressive. You’d want someone to take you on a date here.
The restaurant describes itself as a 100% organic, gourmet vegan dining. And it’s the actual food, outside of the polished dining experience, that was the problem. Starting off, Plum was out of a couple small plates, the enticing fried okra dish, for one. Later on during my meal, I overheard staff mention they couldn’t use a fryer because of building issues, and were working on this. This is not a complaint, simply a note about that affecting the printed menu. The entrée I decided on was the Smoked Northwest Portobello & Tempeh Crepes ($11). Cost-wise, it was on the lower side of the entrees ($10-13). I wouldn’t typically order crepes, but it was a dining adventure and I adore great mushrooms. I was presented with two thin, wheat style, yieldable crepes, filled with a mixture of browned, crumbling chunks of somewhat seasoned tempeh and very thin strips of portobello. Depressingly, nothing about the mushrooms lived up to the title of “smoked”. The most flavorful elements of the plate were the almost too-thick, lemony, herbed squeeze of vegenaise-type sauce decorating the plate and sitting under the crepes, and grease. I’m not scared of oil, but it was the overwhelming attitude in each bite of crepe and filling. The crepes themselves packed more grease in each thin bite than you’d think possible. A desire for a side of greens started to hit during the first ¼ crepe. It was uncomfortable relying on the sauce for flavor.
The Spicy Mac ‘N’ Yease ($7) I took to-go was decently sized and lived up to its name. It was better than most vegan mac & cheeses I’ve had in restaurants (which isn’t to say many great ones), predominately flavored with creamy nutritional yeast, a big helping of crushed red pepper and evidently, even more oil. This was more so appropriately greasy than the crepes, but I’ll warn you, the orange grease that leaked out of my to-go container could have drowned a small army of ants. No one wants that. If this was on my table again, I’d seriously indulge in a few bites, and dreamily beg for a side of green vegetables, minus the oil. It was far too indulgent to order again myself!
There is something positive to be said on the promise of Southern vegan style homecookin’ menu vs. the fine dining atmosphere, and I would actually return to Plum Bistro. For one, I’m devoted to second visits, as documented in the Stumptown Vegans by-laws, and two, it’s an all-vegan establishment I’d want to re-explore and support. However, it would be months down the road, with trepidation, and napkins.