In a recent letter to the editor (of another newspaper ...), the owner of WASHINGTON PLATFORM (Court & Elm, Downtown) expressed his wish for a safer neighborhood. Since his establishment is just two blocks from CityBeat's world headquarters, it's a place where our staff often eats lunch, so a few of us wandered over on a recent Friday — and found the place to be bustling. While we weren't panhandled on our way, nor was our safety threatened, we endorse the owner's appeal to make downtown a better place.
In fact, we think it's places like Washington Platform that create a downtown that people enjoy — even if they don't work nearby. The antique corner tavern offerstables with space in between, covered with white tablecloths (nicer than the places we often frequent), blond woodwork, hardwood floors and crisscrossed beams. Service was a tad slow, but we preferred a reasonable wait to a place with empty tables.
Lunchtime fare is the kind that keeps people coming back, prepared by a kitchen that makes everything seem homemade. I had the special — batter-fried perch filets with macaroni and cheese ($7.75). It was a great meal: The crunchy batter was flavorful, and the mac & cheese had a stick-to-your-ribs quality that distinguishes it from fast-food choices. (Sadly, the cole slaw was too soupy to be enjoyed, but the fresh pineapple slice on the plate was a nice touch.)
One colleague had a bowl of seafood gumbo ($3.50) and deemed it flavorful and hearty, full of tasty seafood chunks. Another had a Pecan Chicken Salad ($7.75), nut-dusted slices of chicken over a bed of Romaine lettuce with cucumber and tomato slices. The vinaigrette dressing had a nice kick, and the accompanying slices of fresh pineapple and a dinner role made for a fine meal.
If you're seeking a pleasant stop for food you'll remember a day to two later, try lunch Monday-Friday at Washington Platform.