Going for our seventh trip to Pläj Restaurant (pronounced Play). British Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott considered play to be one of the hallmark human accomplishments. For Winnicott, play involves taking some real item but conceptualizing it in a new way – which both allows for it’s existence in reality, but also involves the creation of something new. This is the root of creativity, according to Winnicott.
Chef Sundell has taken traditional Swedish and Scandinavian foods, but not accepted them in their extant form. Instead he has reimagined them into new, delicious and creative dishes – which both honor, but are not limited by their original form. It is an uncanny coincidence that Sundell named his restaurant Pläj (Play).
Tonight, we will have the traditional Julbord (Swedish Christmas Table). We are excitedly anticipating Chef Sundell’s take on this most classic dinner. Always an exceptional experience! Truly great dining!
333 Fulton St
San Francisco, CA 94102
UPDATE: Two dozen Swedes, Swedish Americans and their families enjoyed a wonderful Julbord served family style. Of course the food was delicious, beautifully presented and bountiful. Pläj serves small plate-style, but by late in the meal there was a LOT of food left over and guests left with food. The service was exceptional, perfectly attentive and non-intrusive. Jessica (our server) worked non-stop in the background, keeping glasses filled, and attending to all of our needs. Co-owner Andrea Sundell also worked incessantly, making sure the evening was exceptional. A third server (whose name I cannot recall – sorry!) provided great service. All three women epitomized professionalism, friendliness and grace. All of the guests repeatedly commented how wonderfully they enjoyed the experience (food, service, ambience).
Also, working with Andrea – repeated emails and phone calls dealing with details, special needs of some of the guests, etc., was always a really positive experience. Andrea was so patient with me as I contacted her repeatedly to bring answers to various questions back to the group. The day of the event, Andrea even produced custom menus with the name of our group and a detailed description of all of the dishes. This is perhaps the hallmark of Pläj, every detail is perfect.
Lastly, Chef Roberth Sundell came out and gave us a heartfelt thanks for coming!
Pläj Restaurant is a seamless and creative integration of old world and new world. As noted above, the food harkens back to traditional Scandinavian foods, but is re-imagined in creative and delicious new presentations which magically appear both new and familiar at the same time. The ambience similarly has a classiness which evokes times past, and yet there is a very contemporary and comfortable vibe which creates an experience which feels very special, classy and yet immediately comfortable. Having grown up going to European style family-owned restaurants, this hard working, gracious and extremely talented couple (Andrea and Roberth Sundell) really epitomize this old world/new world blend: Andrea in the front of the house, the charming, friendly host making sure every detail is perfect and seamless and Chef Roberth creating magic in the background. The restaurant could perhaps have been named Klenod (Swedish for Treasure), but I suppose Pläj works better (another testament that this couple REALLY know what they are doing!!).
Tack för allt!! (Thanks for everything).