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Red Eye Bar & Grill

red eye interiorRob Nelson has decided to stay in one place. Nelson, the former owner of Red Eye BBQ food truck, and his wife, Angie, have traded in the truck to open Red Eye Bar and Grill, a small family-friendly restaurant on Maguire Road in Ocoee. Nelson has taken the barbecue that made his food truck a favorite to follow and expanded it with steaks, seafood and all the other things you’d expect from a full-service restaurant. There wasn’t a thing that I tried that I didn’t like.

I started with the crab & corn chowder, a thick and creamy soup with rich bits of crabmeat and lots of fresh corn kernels. This chowder could easily be served in the toniest restaurants in town.

The Jim Beam brisket chili was equally as impressive. Chockfull of meat and some beans here and there, the chili was just tinged with bourbon but loaded with spicy flavor.

red eye sirloinFor my entree I had the Red Eye’s “signature sirloin,” grilled just right over an oak fire (the grill is just behind the beer taps in the serving area). The seasonings were subtle, allowing the natural flavor of the meat to come through. It was served with a drizzle of cherry balsamic reduction sauce that didn’t really add anything to it. I chose the sweet potato fries as my accompaniment choice -- excellent choice, I must say -- and the plate also came with a tasty little corn muffin. 

My companion got the pulled pork platter, also an excellent choice. The meat had a wonderful smoky quality and was impossibly moist and juicy. The side bowl of beans was a perfect complement to the pork. We had fun trying the various sauces on the table and found it hard to decide on a favorite. (Here’s a challenge for you entrepreneurs out there: invent a squeeze bottle for sauces that can be written on without the name of the sauce getting smeared with use or washings -- several of the labels were unreadable, so I have no idea what I was tasting.)

For dessert there was an immense bananas Foster-like creation, with layers of caramelized banana slices, pecans, vanilla ice cream scoops, flaky pastry and a gooey sauce. Very hard to resist more than a couple of bites.

Our server was delightful, and the long, narrow dining room was buzzing with happy eaters. Seating is mostly at booths, some elevated. And even though it is a small place and was pretty well attended the night I was there, I didn't feel like we were cramped or that we couldn't have a private conversation.

I heartily recommend that you take the drive to Ocoee to visit Red Eye Bar & Grill, because it ain’t coming to you.

Red Eye Bar & Grill is at 2594 Maguire Road, Ocoee. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Here is a link to redeyebarandgrill.com. The phone number is 407-877-0003.

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Comments   

 
0 #5 donnabee 2013-02-05 09:43
We had dinner at Redeye last weekend and enjoyed it very much. The BBQ pulled pork was moist and tasty, the brisket was delicious and I liked the sauce choices, having tried each one. The staff was friendly and pleasant and it was so refreshing to have BBQ in a nice, kind of up-scale environment instead of the usual "shack-like" atmosphere.
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0 #4 LocalYokel 2013-02-04 17:41
Quoting jacob:
OK, someone has to say it. Thinking "bbq is all about the sauce" is like thinking a hamburger is all about the ketchup. Quality BBQ needs no sauce.

Jacob, if that's the case, then the pulled pork at Red Eye would have, basically, no flavor at all. Either way, not good q.
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0 #3 jacob 2013-02-04 16:33
OK, someone has to say it. Thinking "bbq is all about the sauce" is like thinking a hamburger is all about the ketchup. Quality BBQ needs no sauce.
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-2 #2 LocalYokel 2013-02-02 19:52
Follow up to previous comment. We tried Red Eye tonight. Sorry to report we were disappointed. The biggest problem for us is that bbq is all about the sauce. Without good sauce you don't have good q. They offer 6 different sauces here (obviously not all, if any, made in house) and we didn't care for a single one. Most were way too sweet, the others too bland or just plain unpleasant. Second, we looked forward to trying the brisket chili, as recommended, but found it strange. First, it was so incredibly thick that a spoon would literally stand up in it. Second, there was no "chili" flavor whatsoever. While it was big on ground sirloin or brisket, it lacked beans and there was really no sauce. Way too thick and fairly tasteless. The owner is eager to please and his staff very friendly, so we really, really wanted to like it but, sorry, based on the bbq sauce and the chili, we cannot recommend Red Eye.
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0 #1 LocalYokel 2013-02-01 17:33
Thanks for the great review. We will definitely try this and soon. (Would not have tried the truck; standing and eating bbq is not something a sane person would ever attempt.)
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Friday, 22nd August 2014

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