Plate, Ardmore

July 26th, 2004

105 Coulter Ave.
Suburban Square
Ardmore, PA

Rating: 2 silver spoons out of 5

Overview: The notion behind Plate is reasonably priced, comfort food — something that isn’t really available on the Main Line today. Unfortunately, this idea falls a bit flat due to uninspired food and inconsistent service.

Food: The menu at Plate looks to capitalize on the current comfort food craze, serving up hearty, homestyle fare. Organic chicken, skirt steak, pork tenderloin, and crab cakes all come with some type of potatoes and a sweet or spicy sauce. Although these dishes sound appealing enough, their execution is surprisingly bland and lifeless. Slow-cooked beef brisket had potential, but was far too dried out. Cedar-plank salmon lacked flavor, and the buerre blanc sauce it came with was a poor match for the herb crusted fish. The angus burger was large and eye-catching, but came overcooked, medium-well instead of medium rare. The organic chicken was the best of the three, but was far from exciting.
Ambiance: The big appeal of Plate is the great terrace available during nice weather. In addition, the large picture windows at the front of Plate, by the bar, open as well.

Service: Our first visit to Plate brought little issue with the service — on a busy night the waitress was helpful and prompt. A second visit, however, was a complete disaster. Several people in our party received their entrees a good five minutes before others — an unacceptable oversight by the kitchen. To make matters worse, the waitress failed to keep our table updated on the progress of the missing meals. When they finally arrived, one dish was not even cooked all the way through, basically raw in the middle. The manager did finally offer to take some money off the bill, but not until we went out of our way to complain. When service is this bad, the restaurant should be pre-emptive, not force the customer to make a stink.

(Another pet peeve: We were offered a free dessert as an apology, which really had no appeal after a poorly executed meal. Offering free dessert to make up for bad service and/or food is really worthless to a consumer who just wants to leave as quickly as possible. Want to make customers feel better? Comp something they’ve already ordered, and help them bring a swift and painless end to the evening. Dessert isn’t going to turn things around.)

Value: Most entrees range from $15-19, but too many sneak into the $20s, where price no longer corresponds to quality. Perhaps the biggest turn-on about Plate is the “20 under 30”, 20 bottles of wine priced at $30 or under — a trend that is very comforting indeed. Unfortunately, it is too little to late for Plate.

Details
# of times we’ve eaten there: 3
Reservations: Yes
Bar: Full
Cards: Yes
Website: www.platerestaurant.com

28 Responses to “Plate, Ardmore”

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  1. mainline doc says:

    I live on the mainline and go to a LOT of restaurants in the area and in Philly. Third try at Plate again last night – 3 stikes and they are OUT. Our Waitress (who never even had a HINT of a smile on her face) could not have cared LESS about simple courtesy, service, or promptness. We almost walked out because from the time our dinner plates were cleared (VERY Ho Hum food, WAY overpriced…) it was OVER 40 MINUTES until dessert arrived!!! Fine – we are DONE. We will NOT be back and I intend to spread the word to all of my clients and colleagues about how totally disappointing plate is…

  2. C Martin says:

    This was by far the worst treatment I have ever received at a restaurant. When my dining partner & I said that our dessert was dry & hard & not very tasty, we were told by the host that he, the chef, & the pastry chef tasted it and that it was excellent and it was one of their best desserts. He continued to be sarcastic and made additional remarks. This is unfortunate because I always considered Plate to be a local restaurant with good service and adequate food. Our dinner was good and waitress was excellent. However as a business professional, I have never had such unprofessional treatment and will recommend that my friends not patronize Plate.

  3. Shin Il says:

    Our first trip to Plate – likely our last. The best part was the mussels, but it’s easy to make mussels in garlic sauce. The pork chop and trout entrees were fair at best, and the pork was especially salty. The sides were not prepared well and didn’t compliment the main dishes.

    Service started out very good, but as the place filled up our server found herself with too many tables. While she was quite good, service fell to almost zero after a while. Just getting and paying the check took over 20 minutes.

    For the money ($73 for one appetizer, 2 entrees, one glass of wine) you can do much better at a number of area restaurants. Sola comes to mind.

  4. victoria says:

    I have been going to Surburan Square for a number of years, always walking right by Plate without thinking twice about it. When i decided to go I was VERY impressed just from walking in, I had no idea how big it was inside, the outside was decieving. I have been there three times, everytime ordering their asian chicken salad, it is one of the best salads I have had out. The only “bad” thing I have to say is that their service does not match up with their food quality. I felt the wait staff was very unorganized, and they didn’t pay much attention to their tables. Overall, if you are looking for great food and atmosphere I recommend, not so much for quality service. Their martini’s are great!

  5. John says:

    Even though I work in Suburban Square and I’ve walked by this restaurant countless times, I’m proud to say that I’ve never set foot inside this place. I live in the area, and I love dining out and trying out different restaurants, but for whatever reason, PLATE just never appealed to me. I guess it reminds me too much of a chain restaurant that neither delivers good food nor value, its clients made up of local Mainliners with deep pockets. The postings on this board seem to confirm my long-held suspicions.

  6. Sam says:

    What is wrong with Main Liners these days? I find Plate to be great. Where else can you find such good food and serivce at these prices? Try anything on the menu — I’ve had it all, and the food is as good as any I’ve had on Walnut Street or on the Main Line. Plus, great bar life when I’m out with the group from work, and great for the family. My kids love the place, especially the mac and cheese and burgers. These other reviews are just in bad taste. It’s a shame bloggers can just rip a place with no threat of recourse. But apparently these jokers are ignored, because every time I visit Plate, the place is jammin!

  7. Jeff says:

    We have eaten at Plate at least every three months for several years. We often go there since the location is convenient, hoping for a better experience. I have never had a great meal there in 5 years. Food is very average in quality and some meals have been completely mediocre. Service is inconsistent and often unprofessional. The restaurant is loud, overpriced for the most part, and other than convenience, we can find no reason that this restaurant survives in the face of much better local offerings.

  8. Paris says:

    Today, Saturday late afternoon I along with four adults and one two year old, dinned at PLATE. I was the only person who orderd a meal as the others in my party had dinned previously. However, they did order fries, garlic potatos and mac and cheese. As we were commentting on the presentation of the fries, (pencil holders that are sold at Target) at the bottom of one of the “holders” were writing utensil markings; read, green and black. CLEARLY used for the intended purpose. The manager MADDY was not fazed in the lease. She did not even offer us a free desert or to comp us a soda. That is the first vist at this location and the last. Management needs to be more of a manager. There was a couple dinning next to us who had a very unpleasent experience as well. This was not their first visit but most surely will be there last. They sent back two out of three of their dishes. I imagined if my entire party ordered full course meals we would have be treated differently…….which should not have be the case, yet i believe it was. UNFORGETTABLE! We will NEVER dine here again.

  9. Matt says:

    I agree that Plate is not the best restaurant out there, and certainly not the BEST food, but it is far from the worst. My wife and I go there probably once every 3 months; personally I think the bruger (albeit overpriced) is one of the better burgers I’ve had. The bar is fantastic in the spring and summer, and that is really what this place should be used for. One complaint I do have is that you can sit at the bar with friends for 2 hours and rack up quite a bill, yet the bartenders will never give a free drink or two, every drink is on the bill. Plus there’s not a whole lot of personality from the bar staff.

  10. john says:

    Bob, given the overwhelmingly negative comments about plate on this board, I wonder why you would choose to defend them. It is possibly the worst restaurant on the mainline. I’ve eaten there twice, and the only word that comes to mind is…CRAP. I had a pasta dish with sausage and broc rabe that was so greasy I literally poured over half a cup of oil onto my bread plate… and there was still too much oil on the pasta. There is absolutely no doubt that if this was a stand alone restaurant and not located in an upscale shopping area, it would’ve closed within a year of opening. Oh, by the way, I am neither angry nor is my opinion unfounded.

  11. Bob says:

    Michael do live on the moon? Typical angry unfounded complaint found on this site. Plate is 5 years old and stronger than ever. By the way where do you dine?

  12. Bob says:

    Michael do live on the moon? Typical angry unfounded complaint found on this site. Plate is 5 years old and stronger than ever. By the way where do you dine?

  13. Michael says:

    Is this place still open? Go for the bar, eat anywhere else.

  14. lisa says:

    I was so surprised to read these terrible reviews, since I have been eating at Plate regularly each time I visit my daughter at college for the last few years. Whenever I visit, Plate is always our choice. We love the roast chicken, the tomato soup with the tiny grilled cheese sandwich that comes with it, the fish has always been cooked perfectly, and we have had great luck with competent and friendly service. Maybe it’s because we tend to go there on the early side, so I can drive back home after dinner and the place is not usually crowded when we go. But we’ve never been upset or disappointed – so I’m perplexed at all the awful experiences of other diners. It’s our favorite place!

  15. Stephen says:

    I took my girlfriend to Plate for Valentine’s Day and paid a lot of money for very good food, and some of the worst service I have ever experienced. Our waitress, Aimee, was terribly rude. She never read the specials, she butted into our conversation, she was entirely unfriendly and unapologetic. To give an example, I ordered a bottle of wine and she questioned whether my girlfriend was of age, which was FINE, except that after looking at her ID for several minutes she concluded that although she was born in 1986, she wasnt 21. A mathematical error that was compounded by the fact that after my girlfriend remarked to me “did that just really happen?”, Aimee turned around and said “Yeah, that just happened!” We were shocked but determined not to let it ruin the evening. Later on we heard Aimee talking to another waitress just loud enough so that we could hear her, about how annoying we were as patrons. The poor service continued until after dinner, when we saw a mouse scurry across the floor. When we quietly told Aimee, she doubted us and then walked away when we asked for a manager. After a few minutes, a man came over and said that he was sorry but, “We’re in Suburban Square, that is to be expected.” After that we left, and the poor service continued after the visit. My girlfriend was so upset that she called the next day to talk to another manager. He was nice and said he would get back to her in the next week. After two weeks, we called back and he said that he was sorry but he was on vacation. 5 days later, we recieved an email saying, he was sorry and for us to call next time we wanted to eat there and he would make sure we had a better server. Thanks guys! NEVER EAT AT PLATE!!!!

  16. Marie says:

    I love the bar. The atmosphere is pretty chic. The chocolate martini’s are the best around. Yummy. I used to love the food when they had crispy shrimp wontons and the baked clams. My husband and I would go there every week just for these items. Well they took them off the menu! I keep requesting that they bring them back. I definetly wouln’t eat dinner there(or sit in the main dining room.) Way to overpriced for the quality. The burger was HORRIBLE. The crab cakes blah. The french onion soup is really good. The tuna burrito was delicious. Cool place for drinks and light fare. That’s about it. The bartenders are very friendly and attentive.

  17. Katherine says:

    Can I just say that I thought I was just having bad luck at this place? I’ve been there three times and found the food to be sub-par every time. I tried their Asian chicken salad which came with a peanut dressing that tasted more like mayonnaise. The next time I went there, I can’t recall exactly what I tried, but I left there saying that I would never return. Unfortunately, I found myself to be hungry after a bit of shopping last night, so I stopped in for dinner. It was the first time I’d tried their dinner menu and I thought that maybe the real cooking got started @ dinner. I ordered the sauteed crab cake and found it to be the worst crab cake I’ve ever had in my life. For some reason they chose to serve it on a bed of sweet potatoes with a side of arugula – not even a complete novice chef would send such an awful combination of flavors out to dinner! This time when I say I’m never going there again, I mean it!

  18. Joanne Y says:

    My husband and I went to Plate for lunch one day to try out the food since we were booking our wedding rehearsal dinner there. The food was bland, the service was awful and our waiter was chewing gum the whole time. When we left, we cancel our reservations for the rehearsal dinner and told her this restaurant isn’t worth it– of course the hostess was not phased by this because she probably knew I was right. I hope this restaurant closes so a better is in its place.

  19. Richard T says:

    We have dined at Plate many times, lunch as well as dinnner. I am quite surprised to read these reviews, as we have never experienced any of these horrors as described. While this place may not pass the criteria one would use to judge a “chaine d’ rotissuer” (spelling?) establishment, it has always been a good neighborhood place. Yes, the service can be inconsistant, but it has never been “awful” for us. The food has always been good enough for a return visit…while we would not choose plate for a “big night out” it is fine for a weeknight dinner break. Actually, some of the entrees are quite good, so I suppose that it depends on what you order..

  20. Andie says:

    I guess I am another individual who had a terrible experience at Plate. We were having a sort of Tapas dinner with a bunch of appetizers and a salad we planned to split. The salad was brought out with an extra plate. We had inquired why they didn’t split the salad, they said if the kitchen did that it would be an extra charge! The salad had no dressing! When we asked to put the dressing in, they brought us these two miniscule cups of dressing. We asked if they could mix it in the salad, they took them back and then someone brought them right back with the cups still there! We asked for the manager, he was full of stupid excuses for both the charging for splitting the salad to the non dressing. He did nothing initially to even “make nice”… Oh it just put a damper on the rest of whatever we ate…. Never again!

  21. Lissa says:

    Plate is one of the worst restaurants I’ve ever been to. Went there with a friend in the early evening for a drink and dinner.After being ignored by the server for 15 minutes, dinner was definately out at this place. Had there been a crowd, a wait would have been understandable, however that was not the case. When the server finally took our drink orders, it was another long wait. Can’t comment on the food. With service this bad, we didn’t take a chance.
    This restaurant has a great location and potential. Unfortunately no one seems to care about the basics here.

  22. Percy says:

    on the whole, Plate is a terrible choice for a dining experience. The one upside to this dump is the service, or at least in my experience. Our sweetheart waitress was extremely attentive and actually cared about our experience in the restaurant. Other than that…the place was a joke. Not only did our burgers come out completely overcooked, the manager argued with us claiming that they were correctly cooked. IM A FOOD CRITIC FOR GOD’S SAKE! Aside from being pompous and rude, the manager thought that throwing a dessert at us would be a good way to mollify us. Overall, the overpriced food and unprofessional nature of the management are two factors that will prevent me from ever going in there again unless of course it was to drag a loved one out before they made the mistake of eating there. Oh yea, one more thing. SERIOUS MOUSE PROBLEM.

    Spend your hard earned money somewhere else until the place is under different management.

  23. Jenn says:

    I have eaten at Plate on 3 separate occasions. Twice for lunch and once for dinner over about an 8 month period. I have to say, I have had nothing but pleasant experiences each time. 2 of the 3 visits we had the same server, who actually remembered us from several months prior. I would not tell you to go to this restaurant and expect LeBec Fin or Fountain room experiences, but should you have lunch while shopping in Suburban Square, Plate is a pleasurable experience. It offers a wide variety of dishes to please every palatte; from grilled cheese and soup to pad thai, each offering was tasty and moderately priced for the area in which the restaurant is located. For dinner, the free range chicken was extremely tasty and well plated. In fact, I would visit again based on the creativity and taste this dish alone offered! In no way is this restaurant a disaster!!! Plate is not a destination, but a pleasant experience nonetheless.

  24. JC says:

    THE WORST…and NO ONE even cares…surley SOMEONE would have gotten the hint by reading these awful reviews!. This area DESPERTLY needs good dining places..PLATE IS NOT one of them!…Overpriced,poor service,terrible food,employees who JUST DON”T GIVE A DAMN…a complimentary dessert…KEEP IT! PLEASE VACATE SO SOMEONE GOOD CAN MOVE IN!!!!!!! Plate is a disaster! DO NOT SET FOOT IN THERE!

  25. KG says:

    I think I am done with giving Plate a chance. Each time I go there the food is overpriced, uninspired, and sometimes just plain bad. The only good thing about it is the open windows in the nice weather, but that’s about it.

  26. Lisa says:

    I agree with JoAnn. Our party of four for lunch had to wait over an hour for mediocre food, a tab over $100 and non-existant service. The restaurant was 3/4′s empty. I will never step foot into that place again.

  27. JoAnn Erfer says:

    This restaurant is awful. Once, when I went for lunch, I ordered a burger which was grossly undercooked – like raw in the middle – and when I finally got the waiter’s attention he stuck my fork into it and carried it through the restaurant and then brought it back the same way. At that moment I had a ephiphany – NEVER – eat at Plate.

  28. Jen says:

    It’s okay, but not a destination spot. Better for whetting your whistle during or after shopping, or as a meeting place for lunch. Good tomato soup and grilled cheese, though.

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