PL8 Kitchen

Himmarshee Bar & Grille was a downtown institution for 14 years, a sophisticated, pre-theater alternative to pub grub on Second Street. But after the economy crashed, many diners began grazing on appetizers and skipping pricey entrees — spending less, sharing more. So on Sept. 1, owner Dave Nicholas jumped onto the small-plates bandwagon with both feet, transforming Himmarshee into the hipper, more casual PL8 (pronounced “plate”) Kitchen featuring skewers, sliders, snacks and brick-oven pizza along with items like cod tacos and mac and cheese du jour that you can pair with wine (there are 55 by the glass, $7-$20), craft beer and spirits. The atmosphere is casual, with a young, friendly staff and there are many hits on the eclectic new menu by Nicholas and chef Brandon Whitestone (Chef Allen’s).

Ambience: Nicholas  revamped the decor, with industrial grays replacing the warm orange tones. One of the more interesting design features resembles a tree trunk with branches stretching to the second-floor loft, an ingenious sculpture by Miami artist Gerry Stecca made of more than 6,000 wooden clothespins. On these balmy nights, patrons are grabbing sidewalk tables for prime people-watching. Sit back and chill. Dishes come out when they’re ready, so expect a parade of plates, none more expensive than $12.

What Worked

  • A baked egg – cracked egg mixed with roasted cherry tomatoes and Vermont Cheddar, popped in the brick oven and served warm in a small bowl with buttery toast for swirling and dipping
  • Nicely grilled wahoo plated with a wonderfully savory sweet potato-almond hash that summons the flavors of fall
  • Mac and cheese is so popular at PL8 that the preparation changes daily
  • Crisp, nicely browned mixed short ziti with shiitake and maitake mushrooms, spiked with white wine, smoked gouda and caramelized onions
  • Sliders – three plump mini sandwiches
  • Grilled, locally-made bratwurst well-seasoned, slathered with aromatic violet mustard, topped with creamy potato salad and stuffed in crusty pretzel rolls
  • Succulent sea scallops seared to a golden brown and served with kimchi-style purple cabbage and spicy aioli in puffy potato rolls
  • Eight-inch, brick-oven pizzas with smoky, thin-crisp crusts and toppings like pancetta and brussels sprouts, lump crab and Florida corn, sunny-side up eggs and fingerling potatoes
  • Prosciutto and basil pie enlivened by roasted tomatoes, onion jam and melted mozzarella
  • Small dessert pleasures like scoops of gelato, mini cupcakes & mini cheesecakes made in-house
  • Puckery Key lime
  • Moist red velvet


What Didn’t Work

  • Overly buttery butternut squash purses
  • Too-dry banana muffins


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