Formerly Himmarshee Bar & Grille, PL8 Opens Tonight
Whitestone says the changeover from Himmarshee Bar & Grille to PL8 has been in the works since before he was hired to run the kitchen.
"When I bought the place seven years ago, I saw the opportunity to improve the food and service," said Nicholas. It's been the past year that he's put the plan into action, primarily because he saw that with the economy's downturn, people were sharing more plates and spending less. "Sharing small plates is how people prefer to dine right now," he said. "Especially in the entertainment district."
At eight inches across, even the pizzas are small. Despite that they're a mainstay of the menu, "there's no pizza for sure tonight," he said. The brick oven-which often takes days to hold heat upwards of 600 degrees-is missing a part and won't be running until perhaps the weekend.
Whitestone confirms the restaurant will feature Neapolitan style pizzas- in adherance to DOC rules. Eventually, they'll add wood to the oven made by Forno Bravo to impart flavor.
Though Whitestone may be sourcing ingredients from fancy San Fran artisans, at times he'll diverge from convention when it comes to toppings. Take the Reuben Pie: house-made corned beef, swiss, caramelized onions, and cole slaw ($10). Another of his favorites is the Sunny Side Up, with bacon, Gouda, quail egg, truffle oil, maple syrup, and bacon ($10). Whitestone says he learned to make pizza as a chef in Bedford, New Hampshire, before he moved to South Florida to cook for Allen Susser at his namesake restaurant, which is now closed.
What will you find on tonight's menu? Skewers ($8-$12), for one: chicken from Murray's, beef from Creekstone Farms, and wild rock shrimp from Cape Canaveral. I'm intrigued by the roasted Pacific oysters, apples, and bacon combo, as I can't recall ever having had oysters on a stick.
Sliders ($8-12) round out a third section of the menu, which include a homemade bratwurst and potato salad on a pretzel roll (yes the potato salad is on the roll). A scallop slider is dolled up with house-made kimchi and spicy mayo. For vegetarians, there's a shitake, spinach, mozzarella and balsamic aioli version. And of course, there's always the beef or pork standby.
PL8 will serve food after hours, though they're hammering out just how late that will be. Nicholas will also roll out a craft cocktail menu which also debuts this evening.
And as for the interior, we'll have to see for ourselves, says Whitestone. "You won't even recognize the place."
"I thought it would be strange to change the interior and the whole menu and keep the same name," said Nicholas. With the restaurant having spurred the rise-and the name-of the entertainment district, is Nicholas getting any pushback?
"Not yet," he said.
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