Last night, we finally took the opportunity to visit the Penman Square Market and Cafe, which is Chef Craig Dion’s new project in Jacksonville Beach. And even though Craig was babysitting last night, Matt and Dale took good care of us.
Matt was one of the waiters over at the old 6 Burner location. He always took really good care of us there. Dennis was the other waiter we saw often at 6 Burner … but he unfortunately passed away not too long ago. We’d seen him at Sequinos one night, and the next time we went in, about 6 months later, they said he’d passed.
In any event, much of the food at Penman Square is pre-made and in the cases … though there was a dinner special up on the board which I cold never resist over at the old restaurant. A Pittsburgh style prime rib with Maytag Bleu Cheese. It’s seared in a cast iron skillet and then covered in this outstanding bleu cheese that is just dripping over the sides of the steak … to die for. And it was served with a twice baked potato and a roasted corn and green bean dish that complimented it perfectly.
Dale worked for Craig as a sous chef at 6 Burner, and stepped in as chef when Craig was not around … which was rarely. Last night, he was fully in charge of our dinner, as Craig, as I said, was babysitting.
So three of the four of us (David Gano and Tom Wilson joined us) had the prime rib. David had the turkey meatloaf, all of us had the beans and roasted corn. David passed on the potato. Everybody had a warm spinach salad, which was a good as it had been over in Atlantic Beach. Everything was very well done, but we’d expect nothing less. Dessert was a nice slice of 3 layer chocolate cake.
The space its self is small. A former cleaner where nothing was done on the premises, there’s a drive-through window for the coffee business, and there was plenty of room for the uber-stove which I greatly covet.
It has a grill, 6 burners, a griddle, and a salamander broiler all in the same unit. It’s too big for one picture. The cases are full of items like apple stuffed pork roast, seared ahi tuna, turkey meatloaf, and smoked salmon. The other case has the veggies and salads, pastas and potatoes. All for dining in, or you can take it home and warm it up yourself.
There are only about 6 tables in the place. 4 four tops, and a couple of twos.
Meanwhile, there’s no beer or wine license, but you can bring your own. And conveniently, there’s a liquor store at the end of the strip mall. Matt had to go borrow some wine glasses from a place down the way, and had to go to the same restaurant to open the bottle for us. But since we were the only ones sitting down to eat, it was not really a big deal.
This is not a traditional style restaurant. They turn the “Open” sign off at 8:00. But we’re really glad Craig is back in the game. The best news was when the bill came, it was about half what we used to pay at 6 Burner. And I paid less for the bottle down the way than two glasses would cost pretty much anywhere. So really good, and fun, and intimate, and inexpensive.
The rest of the evening’s pictures are up on Flickr. Though my battery gave out about the time the food came.
Oh yes, we’ll be back. Besides, I’ve been in there twice now, and Craig hasn’t been there yet. That alone is worth the price of admission …