Not-So-High Society

It's round two for Rapoport on Clematis.

I took the plunge and shared everything, a table full of eight or nine small plates, and the only dish that really stood out was the beer-battered grouper slider. None of it was bad, and it was edible enough, colorful and crunchy, if a bit repetitive in the elements. The chicken chunks in the Asian chicken salad ($13, lots of veggies, crispy rice noodles, plus soy vinaigrette) are the same ones you'll find topping the Social flatbread ($11, with onion, bacon, sour cream, mushrooms). A California roll ($11) is better than you'd get from Publix but with none of the finesse you'd expect from a real sushi bar. Chicken spring rolls ($9, and there's that chicken again) were bland but made palatable with sweet-and-spicy ginger and red chili dipping sauces. Sliders, served on a soft roll, were a mixed bag — high marks for the fish and Black Angus and groans for the chicken and pork, both far too dry to do any sliding.

What can I say? It tastes like restaurant food, a little mass-produced but not unpleasant, the kind of stuff you've eaten at a hundred other grilles, bistros, and cellars all over Broward and Palm Beach counties, because the same small band of restaurateurs keeps plugging away at this insufferable business. Anyway, it's cheap and filling. Everybody's happy — right down to the staff, seen grinning and horsing around in the semi-open kitchen. And the managers, who are frankly thrilled to have so many asses in seats, so many revelers who think cheesecake lollipop trees with dipping sauce, "mile high" fudge cake, and chocolate fondues ($13 to $14) are the ultimate in cool desserts. In this economy, who'd want to rain on their parade? The place will fly, or it won't. And knowing Rapoport, he's already halfway out the door, on to his next big thing.

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