Even though I have written about Plow and Anchor a couple of times, I feel like this is almost a new post because they have a new chef in the kitchen—Toby Moreno. He took over this winter after John Adams left. Apparently he came from Restaurant Tallent in Bloomington.
I was excited to see all the cold meat and seafood dishes listed as appetizers on the menu—there was a tuna crudo, beef tartare, and rock shrimp ceviche on the night we were there. These kinds of offerings just get me excited. I was also happy to see a few changes that have been made to the restaurant and the menu. They have taken out those too low, and too hard to get in and out of, church pews that looked cool but just were not user friendly. They have replaced them with regular chairs. They have also added fries to go with their burger, which was something I have heard a lot of complaints about from people.
If I wasn’t going to get the beef tartare ($13), I would have tried the burger, but that seemed like a bit of overkill. The beef tartare though? It was awesome. Really super delicious. One of those things that when I think of it, I want to eat it again right now. It had a lot of the classic tartare ingredients—the raw beef, capers, mustard and a quail egg on top, which were all great and all things I love in tartare, but they also included some other more unique ingredients that pushed it over the top in deliciousness. There were little dices of Ol’ Kentucky Tomme cheese, bits of bread and butter pickles and bacon all mixed in there. I’m telling you, it was a great combination of flavors and textures. The cheese sort of stands in for the egg that is often included, but gave it some softness and creaminess and the bacon lent some smokiness and a little chewiness that was nice. Plus all the kick and salt from the capers and mustard and it was just great. They’re still doing the little fried fingerling potato chips, which are very tasty and very crunchy, but still a little challenging to use for stacking a hearty topping such as this.
We also shared the rock shrimp ceviche ($13), which was also very delicious and very different from the tartare. The little rock shrimp were marinated in orange instead of the more traditional lime or lemon, giving it a little bit of a sweeter flavor. There were pieces of smoked jalapenos, radish and grilled knob onions mixed in with it. It was all served on top of a black sesame tostada, which gave the whole dish a slightly Asian bent. I wished for a bit more of the tostada part, because you started to run out of it before you ran out of the toppings and the crunch of it was one of the things that made it so good. I loved the smoky flavor of the peppers, taking some of the edge off of them. I also appreciate the pieces of orange to add more acid, which the dish needed. Honestly, I would have liked even a bit more, maybe a squeeze of lime. But all in all, a really great, unique and creative dish. Hubby and I went back and forth about which we liked best. In the end I think this was his fave, while the tartare was mine.
I was so enamored with the appetizer part of the menu that I went ahead and ordered another one for my main dish—the octopus ($13). This was long tentacle pieces, smoked potatoes, fava beans (yay spring!), romesco, pickled chilis and crispy onions. Again, another beautiful and complex dish. I love that this chef integrates some acid in almost everything and the pickled chilis made the dish for me. The smoky potatoes were also creative and added a nice flavor with the grilled octopus. Lots of texture going on here too, which makes me happy.
Hubby was in the mood for a steak and was intrigued by the ribeye ($38), which is one of his favorite cuts when it’s done properly. This was one of those times. The meat is well marbled but was cooked just right allowing it to remain tender. There was also this really awesome broccoli side dish with the steak—“Brianna broccoli.” So I actually really like broccoli, but I would never get excited about it at a restaurant. Usually I find restaurant broccoli to be barely cooked and boring. This was delicious. I’m not sure what “Brianna” means when it comes to broccoli, but it was creamy and cheesy and had some onions mixed in there. Hubby and are still talking about the broccoli. There were also potato hash and housemade steak sauce. It was a top-notch dish.
Things were going so well, we really felt like we needed to try a dessert too and see if the kithen could carry through such a great meal. As it turns out, it did. We had the ice cream sandwich with blood orange confit and semifreddo, Melomakarona and candied walnuts ($8). I was just sort of intrigued by the fact that I couldn’t remember having a dessert like this. The outside of the sandwich was sort of the texture of a graham cracker and I loved the sweetness of it and the candied walnuts with the tartness of the blood orange. The melmakarona is a type of Greek cookie that involves honey, a cookie and walnuts. Clearly all those flavors were present here, although I think raised a level with the addition of the citrus.
All in all, a top notch meal. The kind of dinner that makes you excited about dinner out. Everything fell into place, and the food was all excellent. I look forward to returning soon.
Plow and Anchor
43 E. 9th Street