Blueplate – Mullica Hill, NJ
Culinary greatness it not the first thing that comes to mind When I think of Mullica Hill, New Jersey. I relate this town more with farmland, old houses, antique shops, and Route 322. Well Blueplate Restaurant (BR) is looking to change all of that. Chef James Malaby opened the place in 2005 and has gained an occult following, with many people singing their praises for delicious breakfasts and dinners. So of course I decided to go to BR for lunch.
The buzz at BR should also be about lunch. I started out with a french onion soup that made my knees buckle with robust flavor. I have had a lot of french onion all over the Philadelphia area, and I do not know if I just caught BR on their greatest made soup day, but they served me one of the best french onion soup I have ever had. It hit everything you look for in a good version of this soup and then some. I almost wanted to break my way into the kitchen, steal the entire crock and make a run for it. It was that good!
Up next was an order of Chicken Tenders. I could tell that the tenders were fresh and breaded in-house. They were juicy, pulled apart nicely, and had a nice flavor to them. My only complaint is that they did not come with any sauce to dip them in and when I asked for a side of BBQ sauce, what came out was obviously the jarred variety of bbq sauce. With Chef James’s eye for detail and fresh ingredients shown with the soup and tenders, that surprised me a little bit. Making a few homemade sauces to accompany the tenders, this could be a knockout appetizer.
I could have left happy after my first two dishes, but being extra hungry I pushed the envelop with the Blueplate Steak Sandwich which is Andouille Sausage, Steak, Sweet Peppers and Provolone with a side of fries. All I have to say is “Wow”. I can not believe the precision and perfection BR has with this sandwich. The bread was the right texture holding everything in and not being too starchy, the peppers sliced so very tiny and thinly to hide in every bite, the Andouille Sausage giving it just that little bit of spice to made it stand out, and the steak was such a nice cut that not one bite of my entire sandwich was chewy at all. The only gripe, is that even though the fries were good, I would have went bonkers if they were fresh cut french fries.
People may be talking about breakfast and dinner at BR, but I am hear to sing their praises for lunch. I can not recall a more enjoyable and surprising lunch experience than I had at BR in a long time. It started out rough with just a few lags in service that came with the waitstaff switching from breakfast to lunch. Being given the dinner menu instead of the lunch menu causing me to change my order all together, and disappointed over the jarred bbq sauce, but BR’s kitchen staff made anything that seemed wrong at the moment all right again with dishes exuding fantastic flavors and once the waitstaff regrouped service went beautifully. With BR now on my radar, I will have to see what all the talk is about the other two meals of the day, but in the meantime you should try them for lunch.
Four out of Five Stars