Last night, we asked you, our readers, to become food critics during the first Clean Plate Charlie Night. Held at PL8 Kitchen (formerly Himmarshee Bar & Grille), dozens of you voted on the dishes of the new small-plates-style menu.
The results in a nutshell: You liked almost everything. Of the 33 dishes ranked by
diners to PL8 last night, 30 of them scored a four or
higher out of five. That's high praise considering our five ranking was
defined as "best thing I've ever eaten."
Three dishes did poorly.
The Florida shrimp plate scored a three (defined as "OK but needs some
work"). Two skewers -- the oyster and rock shrimp -- scored twos ("not
up to fine-dining standards").
PL8 owner Dave Nicholas said he'll
use the results as "sort of a focus group" to make changes to the menu.
One of the dishes that scored poorly, the roasted Pacific oyster
skewers, weren't on last night's menu, so Nicholas figures perhaps those
voters had been before. Nicholas took them off the menu last weekend
after negative feedback about the dish.
PL8 diners turned in 37
ballots, some filled out by multiple people who voted together on the
rankings. Other tables filled out a ballot per person. The votes show a
few patterns -- many people gave dishes identical ranks.
many people ordered the same dishes. The mac and cheese was ordered the
most, at 19 times, followed by the nut-crusted goat cheese croquettes,
at 14 times.
Comments at the bottom of the ballots generally
raved about the new menu, with lines like "Love the menu. It's a girlie
thing. Don't change anything." And: "Butternut squash purses were yummy!
Many offered suggestions on how to improve the dishes,
including "Mac and cheese -- flavor is amazing. Dislike the noodle.
Texture issue. Wish for actual macaroni. Sweet potato wedges tasted burnt
at times." A couple of commenters wanted a house salad, one thought it was
too hot in the restaurant, and another hoped for a more detailed
One vegetarian offered high praise: "As a
vegetarian I appreciate that there are items I can eat while enjoying
the company of meat eaters."
Nicholas said the feedback comes in handy. "We're always changing, and this helps me finalize the menu, what's
going to be on there and what won't," he said. "Even before the
results came in, we were talking about taking off the rock shrimp, and
this helps us come to that decision."
Here's the full rundown of the votes:
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- Crispy calamari -- 4
- Rock shrimp bruschetta -- 5
- Grilled rare wahoo -- 5
- Wild Florida shrimp -- 3
- Caprese salad -- 4
- Nut-crusted goat cheese croquettes -- 4
- Cast-iron-baked mac and cheese -- 5
- Baked Brie -- 4
- Butternut squash purses -- 5
- Free-range chicken thigh skewers -- 4
- Tamarind-glazed pork tenderloin skewers -- 4
- Grilled beef tenderloin skewers -- 4
- Garlicky sweet-and-sour rock shrimp skewers - 2
- Roasted Pacific oyster skewers -- 2
- Fried chicken breast with watermelon sliders -- 4
- Shiitake mushroom sliders -- 5
- Creekstone farms beef sliders -- 4
- Grilled mini bratwurst sliders -- 4
- Seared scallop sliders -- 5
- Sea bass tacos -- 4
- Mini meatballs -- 4
- Grilled Korean short ribs -- 4
- Chicken "chimichangas" -- 5
- Brick-oven garlic bread -- 4
- Parmesan potato wedges -- 5
- Chili-dusted sweet potato wedges -- 4
- Spicy sausage pizza -- 5
- Meatball pizza -- 5
- Fresh goat cheese and olive oil pizza -- 5
- Sunny-side-up pizza -- 4
- Rock shrimp and chorizo pizza -- 4
- Seasonal mushroom pizza -- 4
- Butternut squash and ricotta pizza -- 4
Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.