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Pork Loin at Plum in Oakland Good, Overpriced

Pork Loin at Plum in Oakland, originally uploaded by zennie62.

Last night, I paid a visit to the new Plum Restaurant on Franklin near Broadway. It's a new addition to the Uptown Oakland food scene, joining Luka's, Osumo, Pican, Vo's, and Bakesale Beattie's, as well as Farley's Cafe and forming a nexus of food places at Broadway and Grand.

Now, I'm not a restaurant reviewer. In fact, I was spurred to try Plum because of Michael Bauer's review at SFGate.com. Plus, living in Oakland, I think its important to support Oakland business whenever I can.

Now, I've got to put this in perspective. The Pan-Roasted Half Chicken at The Wood Tavern is the best in the SF Bay Area. It's a 23 dollar meal that will more than fill you up; you'll have to take some of it home.

I asked what the most filling dish at Plum would be and the patron next to me recommended the Pork. So I ordered it. I inhaled it. It's $18 and yet is the size of a small salad. For the money, not far from the Wood Tavern's Chicken, it was too small a dish.

Good, yes. Awesome. But too small a dish, and that impacts its overall value. Sorry to say.

But here's the weird thing: the meals that have the best price / quantify relationship at Plum are in its late night menu. The Plum version of a Reuben Sandwich is one example, and at $12 is reasonably priced and will fill you up.

Plum's a lovely place, but it seems like the menu's upside down. Hopefully, they'll correct that, soon.

Oh, That Service Charge Thing

Also, Plum has a 16.5 percent service charge that the waiter said "is shared with the kitchen staff," which is fine. I have no problem with that, but it would seem to discourage tipping. I also wondered why they imposed it. Were they afraid that certain Oaklanders wouldn't tip? I commonly leave double the tax as the tip. It was interesting that the waiter pointed directly to the service charge, even though I didn't ask about it.

I gave him an additional $5 because the service charge was less than what the tip would have been. My entire meal, for just me, was $50 with the service charge, which I spent the night before for two people at Miss Saigon Restaurant on Grand next to The Alley.

Plum needs to work that out, and the price / quantity thing, before I can say it's really perfect.
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