I went to the new location of the Plantation restaurant last night (it's still on Del Paso Blvd., it's just a few blocks down). The owners have decided to make the place fancier and the new location is beautiful. The building looks quite old, 80+years, I'm sure, and there is nice exposed brick in spots. They now serve beer, wine, and mixed drinks from an attractive wooden bar. There is a white baby grand (I'm guessing) piano and a guy pleasantly tickling the ivories with songs like "my funny valentine" and other standards. We were ushered into the dining room area which features a mural of prominent African-Americans arising from grass and trees, which produces an effect that is kind of Lord of the Rings-esque. There was one family of three in the dining room, and us.
The Plantation has been in this location for a month and half and some things are still a bit rough around the edges. The server was good but still seemed a bit inexperienced. Our food came pretty quickly, but most of the stuff on my plate was cold, which is a problem I've had at the plantation before. I ordered the fried catfish with a side of mac and cheese and a side of black-eyed peas and rice. The fish was warmer than the other stuff and was crispy and tasty. There were two pieces, one of which really had no meat on it at all. The mac and cheese was great, which I knew it would be because I had ordered it before. The black-eyed peas were bland and I had to douse them with Krystal hot sauce but still ended up leaving most of them on the plate. Three other people in my party ordered the country-fried steak and all of them said it was much too salty and that they would expect the quality of the meat to be better for a dish that costs about 14 bucks. My dining companions pronounced the fried chicken "OK", which is how I felt about it when I ordered it at the old location. The yams are great, and the greens are good.
We split a peach cobbler for dessert and it was a disappointment. I remembered the delicious carrot cake from last time so I expected quality from the cobbler. It too had been inadequately warmed and was floating in a pool of oversweet-overcinnamoned syrup.
I think that this place still has potential and they have done wonders with the ambiance, the kitchen just needs to get their shit together a little bit. There is no excuse for the food to be cold on more than one visit. I could see it happening as a freak occurrence when one entree is accidentally prepared too early or something, but it seems to be a recurring problem. Use a little more spice (or use a lot more spice, I'd be cool with that) and maybe throw in a hamhock here and there to liven up the sides. I hope to see improvements because this is a pleasant place to eat and I plan to go back.
Oh yeah, they're still open until midnight every night except friday and saturday, when they're open until 3:00 am. That rules!!