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A Land Remembered

 

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Chef Dan Nestor of A Land Remembered

Limited Time Offer: SJO Dining Deal at A Land Remembered: $50 of Food & Drink for $25. Click for details.

I was an auction item for the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s annual gala again this year, and once again I was purchased by John and Rita Lowndes. And once again, we went for dinner at A Land Remembered, the steakhouse at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek resort.

 

A Land Remembered, which gets its unusual name from a book about Florida with that title by Patrick D. Smith, opened with the resort in 2007, and it was a good restaurant then. Now, more than four years later, it has turned into an excellent restaurant. It, along with Everglades, another fine restaurant in a Rosen property, qualifies as a hidden gem -- at least one that is hidden to locals. We tend to overlook the many very good restaurants that happen to be in area hotels. When we consider going out for a good dinner, some of the best restaurants the area has to offer don’t even come to mind. (A Land Forgotten?)

Everything about my recent meal there was first-rate, from the professional service (prompt, fluid, and friendly without being intrusive) to the atmosphere (upscale clubhouse but with a convivial feel) and of course the food, which is under the direction of chef Dan Nestor and pastry chef David Ramirez.

We started with an array of appetizers that included the classically prepared steak tartare and Cajun spiced frog legs. (When you have a restaurant in a resort named after a creek, it makes sense to have some creekfood on the menu!) The steak tartare was executed just right -- not too much mustard in the mix, allowing the meat to shine -- and it was the perfect palate preparation for the steak to follow.

I had the bone-in ribeye, a massive cut that was grilled so that the outside had a pleasant char but the inside was still red and juicy, just the sort of medium-rare that I prefer.

One of my guests had the prime rib, and I was reminded of how few places in the area do prime rib so well. Or at least take the time to do is right. It takes an investment of slow cooking over a steady heat, and the results are like the one here, butter-tender meat that fills the mouth with richness with each bite.

Although it is primarily a steakhouse, A Land Remembered also offers an array of seafood items (in addition to the creekfood). The selection is dictated by market availability and can be prepared in a variety of ways, including blackened, pan-seared, broiled or on a cedar plank. I prefer the simple pan-seared, served with a brown butter with lemon and capers. Perfect.

To go with our entrees, we ordered some side dishes. We especially liked the lobster macaroni and cheese, which could have been an entree its own self, and the collard greens, braised in the hotel’s proprietary beer with the unfortunate name of Gator Drool. Actually quite good. Only the creamed spinach disappointed -- too much cream, not enough spinach.

Favorite desserts were the Warm Pioneer Bread Pudding (I wonder how they keep the pioneer warm) and the Key lime pie, both nicely done.

A Land Remembered is in the resort’s golf clubhouse, but it’s just steps from the hotel’s front door. You could even avail of the valet parking there if you wish.

I’ve visited this restaurant a number of times now and it just keeps getting better. The next time you’re looking for a good steakhouse -- or just a good restaurant, period -- try to remember this one.

A Land Remembered is at Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando. It is open for dinner daily (but call first; schedule can change). Here’s a link to the website. The phone number is 407-996-3663.

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Wednesday, 3rd September 2014

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