Urban Plates: "Farm to Plate & Won't Break the Bank"





Do you already know about Urban Plates? With Orange County locations in Brea, Irvine, the Tustin Marketplace and coming this summer to Aliso Viejo, Urban Plates is a great place to eat a healthy meal that looks and tastes like it was made at home.  It may even taste better than homemade if you are a bad cook (wink-wink). Their tag line is a great description of what they do: "farm to plate & won't break the bank". 

Urban Plates has a mission to bring ingredients with a purpose, sustainably sourced proteins and made from scratch cooking, to a restaurant environment. They change their menu seasonally to keep in touch with what nature provides and  you can dine on the same healthy choices you would cook at home without all the clean up. 

Urban Plates (UP) selects proteins that come from sustainable sources: grass fed beef, Jidori chicken and wild-farmed fish and salmon. Some of their main entrees go beyond a simply cooked protein, but still keep to “cooked like home” creations, like with the Turkey Meatloaf, Red Curry Chicken Braise and the Roasted Root Vegetable Braise.

Vegetarians will smile here since UP offers an abundance of satisfying vegetable dishes, many which are organic.  You can load your plate with a variety of delicious sides like their harissa cauliflower and zucchini, roasted Brussels sprouts, miso mushroom sweet potato sauté or roasted rosemary potatoes from their hot sides. Or choose from cold sides that include beet and goat cheese salad, sweet potato-kale quinoa, and kelp noodles with tamari and ginger.  Hot main dishes include vegetarian curry, roasted portobello mushroom and roasted root vegetable braise.  They also offer vegetarian soups.  

UP offers a “Family Meals for 4” where you get a main course, two large sides and grilled rustic bread wrapped up and ready for take out (or delivery when available). If you plan right, you can trick your family and pretend you made dinner.

The “plates” part of their menu is the best choice for a meal that feels like home.  You choose your protein, two sides and the option of a chargrilled slice of rustic bread. They have a dozen salads, several sandwiches and a few comfort food items to choose from as well.  If you are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free or dairy free, the menu is labeled for easy selection.  Paleo eaters will be happy here, too.

The options at this casual dining place provide something for everyone, kids included. And the options aren’t boring, in fact, they may be more flavorful that what you would cook at home: like a kimchee aioli that can top your chicken or grass fed beef with a house-made chimichurri.  

The menu will change seasonally based on what the head chef finds when visiting their purveyors. They pass the test when it comes to oils, using only olive oil, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil… right down to their salad dressings, which they make themselves.

One of the wonderful surprises about Urban Plates is their efforts to actively support the communities where they do business.  They support local schools, children’s hospitals, youth outreach programs and food and agriculture based programs through an application on their site.

Have you already eaten at Urban Plates? Plan to go soon? Either way, we want to hear what you like best from Urban Plates… it will give us an idea for what to try on our next visit.