Food in the City: The Clean Plate

How often do you lick your plate clean? I know, it’s kind of rude, and we usually tell our kids to cut it out when they do. But we’ve found this little restaurant in downtown San Antonio, The Clean Plate (1022 N. Main Ave), and as you can see from the picture, it’s true–you pretty much can’t leave without a clean plate, because their food is just that good. And it’s such a cute, eclectic little restaurant with a very comfortable feel. They have created this bright gardeny, outdoor eating area right in the middle of two streets it seems, but it doesn’t feel that way when you walk through. The staff is very friendly, and very good with my rambunctious little boy, and last time the owner came over to make sure everything was just right. I love that.

Landis always gets a bowl of homemade mac-n-cheese, and Luke and I go back and forth on what our favorite dish is–the fish tacos, or the Gua Bau, which is the most unusual yet amazing thing I’ve ever had. I’m not quite sure how to categorize their food–it’s local and intentional, and broad in its scope of flavors.The fish tacos are made with mahi-mahi and served with poblano-lime dressing and cilantro lime basmati rice, which eaten all together is the perfect bite. The Gua Bao (I think you say it like “gow bow”) is braised Asian pork belly in a steamed bun–this bun is pure white and not bread at all, it’s almost like a cloud that sort of melts in your mouth. I so want to figure out how to make that.

Luke and I have met there for lunch twice, and last time we ordered both of those dishes, each ate half of our plate and then switched plates and finished it off. They just started serving dinner, and their menu is different for dinner, which is a fun touch. I like that the chef changes the menu seasonally, but they seem to keep the tried and true favorites. They also serve a Spaghetti Bolognese which appears to be really popular (the first time we went there they were really backed up because the whole restaurant ordered it) but we haven’t tried it yet. They have gluten free and vegetarian options available, not that I know from personal experience since my husband would order gluten in a box if he could. But I know that’s important to some of my friends…

Next time I go I’m thinking about changing it up and ordering either their fire roasted veggie sandwich, or their spicy stuffed poblano pepper. And I guess we might just need some of that Bolognese to see what it’s all about.

We love our city food, and have found so many great local haunts that are as far away from a chain as you can get. Sometimes we run into people who don’t think San Antonio has good places to eat, and they couldn’t be more wrong!

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