We were graciously invited to dinner last night by Helen, who we know from work. Turns out Helen is a foodie! I will have to go out with her more now. So Helen invited us to Plancha, which is a pop-up restaurant by Chef Robert McGee. Plancha is located at Morning Glass Coffee & Cafe in Manoa, only has dinner service and only on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the last dinner service is scheduled for November 16, 2011. Andre and I were so happy we were able to catch it during its run!
There is only one sitting for dinner service and the menu is prix fixe with four to five courses. Since it operates out of a cafe, it was BYOB. I like BYOBs because it is more economical and there is less pressure to try the limited selections offered, which usually I am not familiar with. On our way to Plancha, we stopped by the Wine Stop on South King Street and picked up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon by Cartlidge & Brown. The menu was beef so it was the perfect pairing.
The menu changes from week to week, depending on what types of ingredients Chef Robert can get his hands on. This makes it exciting and refreshing. As I mentioned, this week’s menu consisted of beef…Kulana beef from the Big Island, to be exact. Chef Robert is all about supporting local producers and farmers. This is something that really interests me as well.
Last week’s menu consisted of whole pasture raised lamb from Kauai. There was some left over so to our surprise, he treated us to a lamb quesadilla! It was yummy.
The skirt steak was flavorful and was very good with the duck egg gribiche, which you can scoop up onto the bread. Skirt steak for me is usually tougher than I would like, but this was an enjoyable dish.
The mushrooms were very good and it was a nice break from the meat. It was a bit tangy with the braised greens but the dish had great flavor. The main dish was the beef belly! Oh my, I’ve eaten pork belly, but this was beef belly! I LOVE trying new things and Chef Robert is very creative with ingredients not normally served in restaurants, which I absolutely loved. The beef was tender with some tendon and fat, but I ate it all up! It had a great flavor and went splendidly with our red wines. The beef belly sat on a bed of mashed potatoes, but Chef Robert put a twist to the potatoes. He added mullet, which is a fish! It had a very subtle fish flavor but it was not overpowering and was very good.
And last but not least, the dessert was a Merveilleux. It is a meringue that has been baked and chilled and served with chocolate sauce. It was delicious and not too sweet. Andre and I both devoured it!
Since Plancha is operated out of Morning Glass Coffee & Cafe, which serves Stumptown coffee, I scored a 12 ounce bag of Hair Bender Stumptown coffee. Whole bean, of course.
Unfortunately, Plancha was only a culinary experiment, will be closing soon, and all remaining nights are sold out. However, we spoke to Chef Robert after dinner and he mentioned he will be opening a place soon in Kaka’ako! If it will be anything like what we tasted at Plancha, there is no doubt that it will be a success. I can’t wait to try his new restaurant!