[‘plas] Food and Drink debuted in spring 2021 in a stately brick building on Fifth, not far from the High Street. Jamie George of Z Cucina fame commands the kitchen as executive chef, and his niche is fine dining. Officially, the tagline is “Modern Rustic Kitchen” and “rustic” is a term that can conjure up all sorts of connotations, primarily “rural” and “simple.” The nickname seems like a good potential fit. With beautiful seating, wood floors and mission-style lighting, [‘plas] is a place that mixes tasteful sensibilities in a relatively comfortable setting. Absent is a sense of shy pretentiousness that can sometimes accompany fine dining. [‘plas] is best described as “hot”.
But the menu itself? His lure seems a bit more complex than “simple”.
It’s tempting to stock up on homemade bread offerings, and that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but Chef’s fresh mozzarella ($13) is a menu option that highlights its homemade cheese, something that defines [‘plas]. Surprisingly creamy and smooth, mozzarella gives pause to every bite. The cheese element is cleverly paired with a combination of tomato (roasted for flavor intensity), pesto, fig black garlic molasses and roasted sea salt to accentuate each element’s contributions.
To see? Delicious: Yes. But easy? Not really.
“Surprisingly creamy and smooth, mozzarella gives pause to every bite.“
Everyday Sauce aka Grandma’s Sunday Sauce ($27) looks more like something that could be simple. The menu’s moniker may not be familiar to those not into Italian-American traditions, as “sauce” usually suggests one thing (Midwestern brown or breakfast) and “sauce” suggests something else entirely. Whether the classic dish is a sauce or sauce has always been hotly contested in polls and on social media. [‘plas] wisely makes everyone happy by calling it both sauce and sauce.
Sauce au jus is a tomato-based mix, with meat, and on this particular issue there seems to be great ideological agreement. It’s historically a Sunday item, because it’s special (not because it’s leftovers, which that would mean in personal experience outside of tradition). The grandmother at [‘plas] is clearly a good grandma: the base of her pasta sauce is a meaty mix of sausage, dense meatballs, herbs and a little kick. The end result isn’t a simple dish, but you’d have to be a fool to complain because the heavy and heady combo delivers loads of fun, textures and flavors.
There are plenty of other pasta dishes to explore, including truffled porcini ravioli and a classic gnocchi. But those with more basic appetites will find happiness in the Pork tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto ($36). The prosciutto offers a whisper of its salty flavor to the tender, aching tenderloin. Topped off with swirls of red wine honey, it’s served with an aptly named cauliflower cream and a savory heap of its Brussels fennel sausage.
Homemade desserts and craft cocktails can complete the menu. In the case of the first, Pots of hot chocolate cream S’more ($10) delivers on all of its namesakes, with a rich, creamy chocolate mouse paired with an artisan s’more bearing the charred (and essential) torch scars and extra chocolate on the side.
As for the aforementioned cocktails, they contain homemade squeezed juices, so something along the lines of Parisian price ($14) will incorporate gin, black garlic molasses (which is made with garlic and nothing like molasses), and homemade pressed granny smith apples.
[‘plas] is open and serves evenings Monday through Saturday at 21 E. Fifth Ave.
For more information, visit plasfoodanddrink.com.
All photos by Susan Post
Prime! [‘plas] Food & Drink was voted best new restaurant of 2021 by CU readers!