- Published on Thursday, 29 March 2012 21:39
- Written by Scott Joseph
FMI Restaurant Group has announced the appointment of Dan Kernan as chef of Nick’s Italian Kitchen. Kernan previously was the chef of the short-lived but very good Black Olive in downtown Orlando and was at Vines before that.
I liked Kernan’s food at Black Olive. He did traditional Italian fare but also added some creative touches. FMI’s Eddie Nickell said that Kernan won’t be making a lot of changes to the menu at Nick’s initially.
No changes are really needed right now, either. I like the food at Nick’s very much. In fact, recently I had to provide dinner for a small group and I ordered a full pan of Nick’s terrific lasagna bolognese. It was a huge hit. Other favorites are the fritto misto appetizer of squid, shrimp, zucchini spears and carrots. And eggplant rolatini. And osso buco. And ricotta cheesecake. OK, pretty much everything. Here’s a link to my review of Nick’s Italian Kitchen.
To celebrate Kernan’s joining the Kitchen, Nick’s is offering an SJO Dining deal of $30 worth of food and drink for $15. Click this link to go to the SJO Dining Deals page.
And here’s an interesting twist. Your certificate may be used as partial payment for the April 18 wine dinner hosted by Nicola Biscardo of Verona, Italy, at Nick’s. Tickets for the wine dinner are $55. Contact Nick’s for more information about the dinner.
Nick’s Italian Kitchen is at 100 S. Eola Drive, Orlando. The phone number is 407-781-0724.
- Published on Thursday, 12 May 2011 17:11
- Written by Scott Joseph
Matteo’s, a family style Italian restaurant out of New York, has opened on International Drive. The Orlando restaurant is the 10th for the small organization and the fourth in Florida (there are also restaurants in Boca Raton, Hallandale and Jupiter). The “family style” designation means that the food is brought to the table on platters to pass around rather than already plated. In terms of the portions, this might be called army style because your could probably feed a platoon with one order.
But it’s more than just ample portions, most of the food I sampled on a recent visit was quite good. My guest and I started with the warm mozzarella, made on the premises to order, hence the still-warm nature. It was milky white and had a perfectly creamy texture. Mozzarella, of course, has very little flavor of its own, so the accompaniments of shredded basil, a little cracked pepper and roasted red pepper were almost as important and added just the right flavor notes.
I also liked the ricotta stuffed rigatoni, the sea bass Luciano and veal chop. The ricotta cheesecake was just about one of the best I've ever had. And by the way, all of the desserts are made on the premises. That alone should tell you that this restaurant is serious about its food. Read my full review here. You can also see some of the comments from others who have been there. Click this link to go directly to the SJO Dining Deals page.
Yes, I know, it's on International Drive. That's always a tough sell for locals. But it's on the north end where the traffic isn't as thick. And if I didn't think Matteo's was as good as it is, I wouldn't bother to tell you to go. But I know you're going to enjoy it as much as I did.
And what a terrific opportunity: Get $40 of food and drink for only $20!
Your certificate will be emailed to you immediately upon the approval of your purchase. Please make certain that scottjosephorlando.com is on your approved-sender list.
And although you will receive you certificate immediately, please note that it is not valid until Saturday, May 14, 2011.
Other things to remember: This offer is non-refundable. It cannot be exchanged for cash, and you can’t get cash back if you don’t use the full amount (that means it must be used in one visit). One certificate per table. It may not be used in conjunction with any other coupon, offer or discount. Not valid for special events, including, but not limited to, Orlando Magical Dining Month. (To avoid confusion, it's always a good idea to present your certificate to the server at the beginning rather than at the end.) Does not include tax or gratuity. And please remember that it is customary to tip on the pre-discounted amount.
- Published on Thursday, 13 January 2011 05:52
- Written by Scott Joseph
New drawing every week.
I’ve got a whole bunch of restaurant gift cards, and I’m giving them away. All you have to do to enter to win is sign up to receive my newsletter. If you’re already signed up, you’re already entered.
“Oh sure,” I can hear some of you saying, “I sign up for your little newsletter and pretty soon my inbox is filled with a lot of crap I don’t want and I’m getting e-mails from some guy in Nigeria who wants to sell me a Rolex with the Viagra logo on it.” First of all, my newsletter list is never sold, rented or shared with anyone. I hate spam as much as you, maybe more.
Second, I can promise you the newsletters will never go beyond what you might describe as occasional. But when you do get one it will be loaded with information you can use and will point you to exclusive deals and news items. What kind of deals? SJO Deals! Special opportunities to buy gift certificates at some of the area’s best restaurants, hand-picked by me. SJO Deals are announced by newsletter before they’re published on the site or announced via Facebook or Twitter. This gives the newsletter readers a head start on the limited number of gift certificates availabe. For example, when we had an SJO Deal for $50 of food and drink at K Restaurant for only $25, the certificates sold out to newsletter recipients before the deal could be announced to the general public.
Like I said, if you’re already signed up to receive the e-newsletter, you’re already registered to win, now and forever. If not, it’s really easy: just enter your address in the box below and click join. It will ask you for your name, which is handy for me when I send you a personal note to tell you you’ve won! (Make sure it’s a valid e-mail address because that’s how I’ll contact you; then I’ll send the gift card through the good ol’ United States Postal Service.)
And if you ever tire of having the chance to win a gift certificate to a really terrific restaurant, I make it really simple to unsubscribe. So come join us!
- Published on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 10:00
- Written by Scott Joseph
As I said when I re-reviewed Spice Modern Steakhouse recently, I was impressed with how much the overall quality of the food and service had improved. Until now, Spice Modern had been a place that I didn’t necessarily steer people away from, but I didn’t send them that way, either. Now I can wholeheartedly recommend it. The Winter Park location is a good alternative for the Avenue; the downtown Orlando location has what may be the best view in town -- and of the town, and Lake Eola.
I figured there were a lot of people like me who had visited Spice Modern in the early days and hadn’t bothered to go back to see the improvements. So I convinced owner Manny Tato to offer Spice Modern for an SJO Deal. Here’s your chance to revisit Spice Modern for a really terrific bargain: $50 of food and drink for $25. That’s like, what, half? Yeah, just about that. What’s not to like about half off?
So I’m happy to offer this SJO Deal for a limited time -- and in limited quantities. The Deal is open now, and will run through midnight Friday, Nov. 19. Then it’s over. Click here to get yourself one of the certificates. And by the way, holidays are coming -- isn’t there someone you might want to gift without having to pay full price?
And now for the fine print: This offer is non-refundable. You cannot exchange it for cash, and you can’t get cash back if you don’t use the full amount (must be used in one visit). It’s for dine-in only, and only one certificate may be used per table. (That means at the same time -- if you come in with a certificate and sit at a table where someone else used one a couple of hours ago, we’re good.) It may not be used in conjunction with any other offers or discounts, including, but not limited to, special events such as Magical Dining Month. Does not include tax or gratuity. (Because, it doesn’t.) And remember that it’s customary to tip on the pre-discounted amount. (Because, it is).
Caveat Couponer: Although state law specifies gift certificates may not have an expiration date, it behooves the holder to use it in a timely manner. Although gift certificates do not expire, businesses sometimes do. If that should occur, the certificate will have no value.
- Published on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 07:00
- Written by Scott Joseph
Reopened for a limited time: 30 more certificate available until sold out or midnight Thursday, whichever comes first.
Welcome to the first SJO Deal! From time to time I will offer exceptional savings especially for readers of SJO. Today I have a certificate for $40 of food and drink at the fun Funky Monkey Wine Company for only $20. Just follow the link to purchase, follow through and you’ll receive instructions to print the certificate on your own printer. You’re thinking this is like Groupon or some of the other programs out there. Well, yes, it has some things in common. For example, this is a limited time offer -- you have only until midnight Friday to grab it. But there’s one big difference: I’ll offer only Deals for restaurants I can recommend. Who wants half off of not very good?
But Funky Monkey is very good. And this Deal comes just a couple of weeks in advance of its new expansion at Pointe Orlando. You’re going to want to visit the new, improved Monkey, believe me -- why not visit at half price?
Just click the image above, or, if you prefer to click text, click here.
And now for the fine print: This offer is non-refundable. You cannot exchange it for cash, and you can’t get cash back if you don’t use the full amount (must be used in one visit). It’s for dine-in only, and only one certificate may be used per table. (That means at the same time -- if you come in with a certificate and sit at a table where someone else used one a couple of hours ago, we’re good.) It may not be used in conjunction with any other offers or discounts. Not valid on Mondays (that’s when Funky Monkey has its special sushi deals and that would be just too much to handle). Does not include tax or gratuity. (Because, it doesn’t.) And remember that it’s customary to tip on the pre-discounted amount. (Because, it is).
Funky Monkey is at 912 N. Mills Ave, Orlando, 407-427-1447 and Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive, 407-418-9463.
What is a Flog?
A flog is a food blog with news and reviews of restaurants. Here you'll find all things edible, lots of things to drink, including expert wine advice, and lots of other stuff.