Well, week one is in the books at 50 Plates. Our kitchen staff is already working like a veteran staff. Both Randall and Patrick, our chefs have everything dialed in and our dinner rushes are going smoothly. Tom and Andrew, our gm and agm are both hard working, dedicated and passionate people and its been nothing but a pleasure to work with them. Ginger, Joe, and Greg, our owners have been both incredibly generous and kind to everyone, while clearly delineating a vision of what they want to achieve with 50 Plates.
As for the bar, well, I don't think it could go better. I already have a rhythm with Suzanne Allard that usually takes years to develop, she is such a talented bartender that sometimes I'm in awe. JP and I have worked together before, and its great to be working with him again, and Jamie, our day bartender is showing real potential and I think that I'm really going to enjoy working with her.
Our cocktail list seems to be doing ok. Its not the easiest list to make and we made a lot of juleps this past weekend, which take time to craft properly. That said, we also have a Dark and Stormy with my ginger beer recipe and our .38 Special, which features mesquite smoked Jack Daniels and Mexican coke which are pretty quick to knock out. I'm not a huge Jack Daniels fan by itself, but it lends itself perfectly for smoking, which adds another flavor dimension and an interesting complexity when used in the cocktail. We are also doing a wonderful drink from the Slanted Door in SF, their Indian Summer, which is a perfect summer drink. Our North Beach Bramble, Bombay Sapphire, Aperol, Lemon juice and simple syrup, may be my current favorite on the menu. Its a gorgeous drink and the flavors combine perfectly to create something far more than the sum of its parts.
The focus of the bar is very bourbon centric, and I'm trying to carry through with the foods theme of American regional, I'm trying to carry mostly American products if I can. For instance, I'm carrying both Prichards Rums (wonderful rum made in Tennessee) as our high end rums in addition to Bacardi Select (well), Lemon Hart 151 (Spanish Coffees) and Gosling's Black Seal (Dark and Stormy's). We aren't going to be a huge rum bar, and we aren't going to do tiki drinks as they are usually too sweet or too sour to match well with food.
There have also been some very pleasant surprises. I'm carrying Leblon cachaca behind the bar (look for an upcoming review of Leblon and a return to my series on traditional Brazilian cachaca drinks soon), because its a great product and with the popularity of caipirinhas these days, it doesn't make sense to not have a top quality cachaca on the back bar. I received a very nice little care package from them along with a note wishing me success with 50 Plates. I have to say, I was really touched by the gesture.
Overall, I don't think we could have had a better opening week.
I'll leave you with the 50 Plates recipe for my current fave on the cocktail menu, the North Beach Bramble
1 oz Bombay Sapphire gin (no substitutions please, this cocktail was designed specifically for Bombay Sapphire)
1 oz Aperol
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
Build dry in a pint glass, add ice, stir vigorously for 60 seconds, strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.