Plouf is permanently closed

photo credit: Krescent Carasso

Plouf review image



40 Belden Pl, San Francisco
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Eating in an alley? The first thing that comes to mind is probably bad pizza consumed on a paper tray at that time in the night when you need food immediately. Plouf might be in a Financial District alley, but is basically the total opposite. They’re putting out some really solid, quality French food, including some of the best mussels around. Not a paper tray in sight.

There’s a definite Parisian bistro vibe going on, really kicked into overdrive by the servers’ striped long-sleeved shirts (berets seems to be optional). On weekends, the crowd is touristy, maybe due to the location, but on weekdays it skews suits. But even so, Plouf remains chill, welcoming, and generally enjoyable.

Plouf review image

photo credit: Krescent Carasso

The fact that the food is almost all excellent also doesn’t hurt. While the mussels are the main draw, the rest of the menu holds its own as well. It’s all pretty heavily French, and the chefs have a deep fondness for butter and cream. It makes everything taste pretty damn good, as long as you’re prepared for a very rich meal.

We’ve hit Plouf with our parents, for a leisurely weekday lunch on a nice day, and for their awesome happy hour. If you work in the area, this needs to be added to your rotation immediately. And if you don’t, it’s worth the trip into Financial for some of those mussels (we like them, can you tell?) and a casual atmosphere with nice waiters, nicer food, and a laid-back feel that transports you out of FiDi and into a better place. Not quite France, but close enough.

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Food Rundown

Plouf review image

Curry Mussels

Spicy curry sauce, great dipping bread, and well cooked mussels. Get the mini version for everyone to share.

Plouf Mussels

Rich and saucy and classic. If you want to go traditional, these are the way to do it. You will definitely be asking for extra bread.

Plouf review image

Grilled Asparagus Salad

Yay vegetables. Really fresh asparagus plus awesome romesco sauce. The egg on top is fried and breaded. It’s weird but it works.

Plouf review image

Crab Cakes

Yes please. A little spicy and all crab with very little filler. Order ’em.

Pastis Flamed Shrimp

The polenta is rich and the big tail on shrimp are great. There is a lot of butter involved. Not complaining.

Seared Duck Breast

More richness. This is excellent, and the hash and cabbage alongside is stellar too. We don’t eat duck very often, and we’re happy Plouf has it on the menu.

Hawaiian Butterfish

Sort of like a lighter swordfish, this one is a little disappointing. The mushroom risotto is gummy and the fish is somewhat bland. Pass.

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

Too dense. It’s hard to eat more than a bite or two, which is saying a lot for us.

Plouf review image

Creme Brûlée

It’s light and creamy and delicious. Best dessert on the menu.

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