Glenwood South has long been a food lover’s delight, dotted with restaurants offering everything from Indian to Spanish to Japanese cuisines. Situated among them is Plates Neighborhood Kitchen, a cozy corner brunch and dinner joint serving your familiar American classics but not without a few unique dishes on the menu inspired from a global cuisine for adventurous taste buds too.
Walking in, you’re greeted with a warm, casual atmosphere. Home-y and eclectic décor like their collection of colorful plates line the walls, while their rustic wooden tables and light fixtures transport you to a country style home. It was certainly welcoming after a long Monday.
One of my friends who joined me for dinner that evening had previously dined here for brunch and loved it. So we had our fingers crossed that dinner would be the same. We started off with a bottle of wine to share – did I mention it was Monday? I let my friends pick, so they opted for a lighter white wine. We went with the server’s recommendation: the R. Stuart ‘Big Fire’ Pinot Gris 2013. A glass will set you back $8 and a bottle, $29. Fresh, floral and fruity, the pinot gris was a good pick for something easy and light to start with, and I’m not even a fan of white wine.
After about 20 minutes of catching up and chatting, our extremely patient server took our orders. I went with Plates’ supposedly most popular item, their braised short ribs, served with Yukon gold potato and celeriac puree, sour roasted carrots and red wine jus. I looked forward to the potato and celeriac puree, since I haven’t had celeriac (otherwise known as celery root) before. The puree had a smooth and velvety consistency and was mild in flavor. The carrots were perfectly roasted and sour, as was the red wine jus, even though the jus was a tad too salty and pungent for me. Otherwise the short rib was wonderful. No knife was needed – the meat just fell apart with my fork. And considering how flavorful it was, the mild puree was a good complement.
My friend ordered the stuffed chicken breast, another popular item on the menu. The dish consisted of ricotta and terragon stuffed chicken breast, wild rice, sumac roasted button mushrooms, all drizzled with rich chicken jus. While I managed to sneak just a bite, it was definitely a looker. The chicken was bone-in and skin-on, so the flavor was all there. Although very fragrant from the herbs, it wasn’t as juicy as I had hoped. The friend also agreed it was kind of dry. But she seemed content with just about everything else.
Finally, instead of ordering another entrée, our third friend picked two sides/appetizers for her dinner. We had been eyeing their diverse list of starters, which ranged from octopus to cheese & charcuterie. However, she went straight for the comfort food: mac and cheese and their soup of the day, which was ham and black eyed peas. The mac and cheese was rich with a nice, smooth consistency. It was also a generous portion. Besides three-cheese sauce, the menu also listed braised short rib so my friend was disappointed to find only small chunks of fat trimmings. It definitely would’ve been a hearty and flavorful addition to the classic. She also noted that the soup was very tasty. Overall, the two turned out to be a little overpriced for what she got.
Full but still not quite satisfied with how our food turned out, we took a gander at the dessert menu. This was probably the highlight of our night. We chose the sticky toffee pudding and it was dee-lish. It was basically the same thing as a classic sticky date pudding but instead of a caramel sauce, Plates drizzled the cake with toffee. I’m glad they did. The cake was moist with just the right amount of sweetness so the rich toffee sauce was the perfect balance. Being the sweet tooth that I am, this was just what I needed to end the night on a good note.
Overall, the food was a little bit underwhelming. But I do appreciate a restaurant that utilizes local produce, especially when their menu boasts such a large variety of cuisine influences. It’ll probably be a while before I return, but their friendly service and unique appetizers will probably reel me back in eventually. I’ve got my eye on their crab and sweet potato beignets!
Joanne Wu is an avid foodie and can often be found coffee shop hopping
around the Triangle. Coming from a rural Taiwanese background, she loves
all things scratch-made in the kitchen and locally sourced. When she’s not
dining her way through the Triangle, politics is her other passion. Joanne
currently works in downtown Raleigh in State government. Follow her on
Twitter or Instagram at @joannewuu.