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Truffles Grill 2012

truffles bean cakeTruffles' bean cake is definitely not vegetarian.I had occasion to return recently to Truffles Grill, and I found that things have improved there, enough so that I can now recommend it.

You may recall that when I first reviewed TG, back when it opened in late 2011, I had a few issues with the food and a couple of more with the service, though an unfortunate situation with an item I hadn’t cared for was ultimately handled properly.

Let’s assume the staff was just getting used to the new concept, which is owned by the Ruby Tuesday folks. 

The menu is rather oddly designed -- one looks for starters to, well, start the menu, but that’s where the specialties are. When you locate them, consider having the black bean cake because the best part of it isn’t the black beans but the spicy tasso ham laced therein. I wonder how many vegetarians who don’t read the full list of ingredients are surprised when they taste the tasso. And I wonder how many of them become meat converts.

truffles crab cakeThe crab cake is made with lots of fresh crabmeat.The crab cake that disappointed me the first time was a winner on this recent visit. It had loads of lump crabmeat, as it did the first time, but the meat was tender and rich, and there wasn’t the odd filler this time.

The best entree I had was the meatloaf, which was a dense slice that was grilled to give it a bit of a char, slathered with a bit of honey barbecue glaze and topped with Vidalia onions and roasted red pepper chutney. It was accompanied by pleasantly lumpy mashed potatoes and snappy fresh green beans.

I’m still not a fan of the restaurant's chicken pot pie, although this time it was executed truffles meat loafMeat loafproperly. I think my main issue with it is that it tries to be fancy, and it is. It is served as a huge, Superdome-like dish with a puffed pastry that drapes over a large bowl. Inside are the pieces of chicken, hunks of carrots and broccoli and mushrooms that you’d expect, but they’re in a white wine cream sauce that’s just too perfect. Call it the Swanson’s effect. Anyone who grew up, as I did, in a middle class family with several kids whose mother alternated evenings of made-from-scratch meals with conveniently thawed ones has a specific idea of what a pot pie should be. If that’s not you, you may enjoy this one.

I even enjoyed the desserts. The blondie, a white brownie (if that’s possible) filled with butterscotch and chocolate chips and topped with vanilla bean ice cream, was wonderful. So was the ice cream pie made with Oreo cookies.

I’m impressed with the wine list, which has a number of selections by the glass, and only a few that rise above the $10 mark.

The dining room is stylishly decorated with soft but colorful hues. Seating is at bare-topped booths or tableclothed tables. There is outdoor seating as well.

Truffles Grill is in Winter Park Village, 430 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park.  It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Most entrees are priced in the low to mid teens. Here’s a link to trufflesgrill.com. The phone number is 407-261-0163. 

Truffles dining room

truffles pot piePuffed up chicken pot pie.

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