105 Coulter Ave.
Rating: 2 silver spoons out of 5
Overview: The notion behind Plate is reasonably priced, comfort food — something that isn’t really available on the Main Line today. Unfortunately, this idea falls a bit flat due to uninspired food and inconsistent service.
Food: The menu at Plate looks to capitalize on the current comfort food craze, serving up hearty, homestyle fare. Organic chicken, skirt steak, pork tenderloin, and crab cakes all come with some type of potatoes and a sweet or spicy sauce. Although these dishes sound appealing enough, their execution is surprisingly bland and lifeless. Slow-cooked beef brisket had potential, but was far too dried out. Cedar-plank salmon lacked flavor, and the buerre blanc sauce it came with was a poor match for the herb crusted fish. The angus burger was large and eye-catching, but came overcooked, medium-well instead of medium rare. The organic chicken was the best of the three, but was far from exciting.
Ambiance: The big appeal of Plate is the great terrace available during nice weather. In addition, the large picture windows at the front of Plate, by the bar, open as well.
Service: Our first visit to Plate brought little issue with the service — on a busy night the waitress was helpful and prompt. A second visit, however, was a complete disaster. Several people in our party received their entrees a good five minutes before others — an unacceptable oversight by the kitchen. To make matters worse, the waitress failed to keep our table updated on the progress of the missing meals. When they finally arrived, one dish was not even cooked all the way through, basically raw in the middle. The manager did finally offer to take some money off the bill, but not until we went out of our way to complain. When service is this bad, the restaurant should be pre-emptive, not force the customer to make a stink.
(Another pet peeve: We were offered a free dessert as an apology, which really had no appeal after a poorly executed meal. Offering free dessert to make up for bad service and/or food is really worthless to a consumer who just wants to leave as quickly as possible. Want to make customers feel better? Comp something they’ve already ordered, and help them bring a swift and painless end to the evening. Dessert isn’t going to turn things around.)
Value: Most entrees range from $15-19, but too many sneak into the $20s, where price no longer corresponds to quality. Perhaps the biggest turn-on about Plate is the “20 under 30”, 20 bottles of wine priced at $30 or under — a trend that is very comforting indeed. Unfortunately, it is too little to late for Plate.
# of times we’ve eaten there: 3