One of the best things about birthdays is being taken out to dinner. My friends, Rod and Jason, took me out to Plan B, one of their favorite restaurants. It was another case of a place being on my rather long to-do list that I had yet to go to. Here was my chance and for free! (Thank you, guys!)
This is actually Plan B - take two. The original restaurant was in the south area and then a couple of years ago they moved to Watt and Fair Oaks. It is tucked in the back of the complex so it took me a while to figure out where it was. Upon entering I saw some other friends already there for dinner and I had a quick chat before the boys arrived. (I noted that they each had the mussels and pomme frites for dinner, an inexpensive yet satisfying meal.) The place is painted in black with a couple of walls laid with white rock bricks. Just the right amount of darkness and contrast to give it a classy atmosphere.
Plan B is known to have the best mussels in town. It turned out to be well deserved. They have six different preparations for them such as a Thai version and one with just white wine, garlic, and parsley. We chose to share the Epice - which is their spiciest version with tomato, garlic, pastis, and piments oiseaux. Piments oiseaux is a small, hot pepper that added quite a kick. The sauce was so hearty and flavorful. It looked like 20 ingredients carefully cooked down to this glorious blend of spicy goodness. There was no way to leave any sauce in the bowl after the mussels were gone. Luckily the staff just kept bringing us more and more sliced baguette to sop it up with.
Jason ordered the rack of lamb with mint oil. Rod is from New Zealand, the land of lamb. According to the boys, they have never had a better lamb in the U.S. than this one from Plan B. It was cooked on the rare side and very tender, which keeps the best flavor from cooking out. Jason was happy as can be with a big grin.
Rod's ribeye steak was huge. It looked like it had a nice layer of spices, but I didn't try it.
I ordered the duck breast with the balsamic honey sauce. It was served with a parsnip mash and pencil thin asparagus. The sauce was both sweet and tangy with enough for me to coat each bite. There were a few slices of cooked apple on top for that fruity accent that always works so well with duck. Thoroughly enjoyable.
The others weren't in the mood for dessert, but I ordered their version of lava cake and was told it would take 15 minutes. We had time. I didn't take a picture, but it was cooked just enough to create the cooked cake sides and yet leave a large oozy center of chocolate bliss. It was served with a flavored ice cream (I forget what, but it wasn't vanilla).
All in all, a beautiful meal treated by good friends. I can see why they love the place and I look forward to going back. The six styles of mussels is enough to entice me back to try each.