Plancha - Garden City, NY

Ever since we first visited Plancha's sister restaurant, Salumi Tapas & Wine, the subject of my first-ever blog post, and learned that they would soon be opening a place in Garden City, I've been eagerly awaiting Plancha's opening. For the past few months, every time I drove down Franklin Avenue in Garden City, I would take a peek at the space, which was formerly Upper Crust Cafe, to see how close they looked to opening. Finally, about a month ago, Plancha made its debut. From our first visit, we knew that this would become a regular spot for us. We love it so much we've been there three times in the past month!

The view from the bar out to Franklin Avenue
Like Salumi, Plancha is a casual, rustic tapas and wine bar. Plancha's distinguishing feature is its namesake grill, a "Plancha," a flat-top grill, which sits right behind the bar so you can watch the chefs prepare most of the cooked menu items. In fact, nearly all of the food preparation takes place behind the bar, which makes dining there a bit like dinner and theater rolled into one. Dining at the bar at Plancha is a very interactive experience and that is one of the reasons we have such a great time there. The bartenders and chefs talk to you about what they are preparing, suggest great wines to go with the food and let you taste food and wine along the way!

A must order: cured meat and cheese board

Every trip to Plancha must begin with a great glass or bottle of wine, and one of their Cured Meat and Cheese platters. Each one is served on a wooden board, with the most delicious bread (crusty on the outside, soft on the inside and drizzled with fruity olive oil) you've ever tried, champagne grapes, olives, caperberries and either fig jam or quince paste, depending on the board you've ordered. The menu has some signature boards, such as the Spanish Board or the Italian Board, or you can order a board with 3 or 5 and mix and match different cheeses and meats. We have tried almost all of the offerings, and my favorite meat is the Lomo, which is a cured pork from Spain. One of my favorite cheeses is the Pecorino Moliterno Al Tartufo, from Sardinia, a sheep's milk cheese laced with truffles. We also enjoy the Sapore Del Piave, from Veneto, an aged, creamy cow's milk cheese. 

Mettler Zinfandel from Lodi
Four Vines Petite Syrah,
also from Lodi!
The wine list at Plancha is quite extensive for the size of the restaurant, has excellent bottles and is very reasonably priced. The owners and staff of Plancha are extremely passionate about wine and the wine list definitely showcases that passion. The bottles and glasses are constantly changing and they are more than willing to let you try different wines before deciding what to order. 

Here are some of the menu items we have tried at Plancha:

Croquettas: "Amaze-balls"
Croquettas: Serrano ham in cheesy bechamel sauce, breaded and deep-fried. Tiny balls of joy is what I have dubbed this sinfully delicious appetizer. Creamy, smoky, cheesy and crunchy. 

Patatas Bravas: Roasted fingerling potatoes served with cumin aioli and brava sauce. These potatoes are crispy, salty and delicious, and the dipping sauces are excellent. The only problem is that they come out super hot and it is so hard to wait for them to cool down before digging in! 

Patatas Bravas

The Plancha, where the magic happens

Rabbit Sausage: I was a little skeptical at first because I don't normally order rabbit but this was a fantastic dish. The chefs make the sausage in-house, which is German-style and slightly spicy, and serve it with an excellent house-made sauerkraut and hot french mustard. We loved talking to the chefs about the extensive sauerkraut-making process. I had no idea how much cabbage and veggies it takes to shrink down into a tiny bit of sauerkraut! The result is crunchy, fresh and delicious. Definitely a far cry from the stuff you buy in a bag or a can at the grocery store! 

Prawns - to die for

Prawns: This is my favorite dish at Plancha. Two giant, head-on shrimp grilled on the Plancha and served over a thick and creamy Marcona almond sauce. A little salty but oh-so yummy. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the almond sauce was a nice thick sauce to dip the shrimp into. 

Cabra Bake

Cabra Bake: Baked Spanish goat cheese over roasted mushrooms, endives and charred grapes. I enjoyed this hot, cheesy appetizer, but the cabra was a bit too sharp, even for a goat-cheese lover like me. But I really liked the roasted mushrooms, endives and grapes at the bottom of this bubbling dish.

Bistec: Strip steak grilled on the Plancha and served with roasted red pepper sauce and topped with grated Manchego cheese. This has to be one of Plancha's most popular items because every time we are there we watch the chefs grill steak after steak. We finally tried it and it was really nice. The steak is good quality and cooked perfectly, and the smoky red pepper sauce is a great addition. I also love the sharp Manchego cheese sprinkled over the top. 


We've never actually ordered dessert, but on one of our first visits to Plancha the chefs were nice enough to let us try one of their desserts, Pan Con Chocolate. They take that fabulous bread and griddle it on the plancha and then serve it with rich, melted dark chocolate studded with sea salt. OMG this was awesome. 
Bread and chocolate. Need I say more?

Pan Con Chocolate

I really cannot say enough good things about Plancha. Our only complaint is that we wish there were more menu items to choose from. But the place is very small so it would be impossible to expand the menu much more. However, the chefs will be changing the menu up soon so there will always be new dishes to try. 

Chef Guiseppe on the left, and Chef Andrew, right,
the Chief of Charcuterie 

Chef Angelo manning the plancha



Popular posts from this blog

Kyma - Roslyn, NY

Nagahama - Long Beach, New York

La Nonna Bella - Garden City, NY