KnifeSpoon23 dining

In celebration of achieving Michelin stardom for the second year in a row, Knife & Spoon, the upscale steak and seafood restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando, is offering a special four-course menu now through June 17.

Tyler Kineman, chef de cuisine for John Tesar, the Dallas-based celebrity chef, has put together a table d’hote with each course offering two choices. And there isn’t a clunker among them, with such favorites as hamachi crudo, fresh local oysters, whole fish and prime New York strip steak. (See the full menu below.) There is an optional wine pairing, as well.

Cost of the four-course dinner is $180 per person; the wine pairing is $90. My recommendation is for couples to order each alternate choice so you can get a taste of everything, for the win.

Of course the regular menu will be available, too, so you can see why the Michelin inspectors were moved to award Knife & Spoon a star, one of only four Central Florida restaurants so honored.

Knife & Spoon is open for dinner daily. Click here for more information and to make a reservation.

Here’s the full celebratory four-course menu:


Narcoo int

Narcoossee’s, the Grand Floridian restaurant that sits apart – physically and experientially – from the more well known Victoria & Albert’s and Citricos in the “main house,” recently reopened after a renovation and menu refresh.

Like the other restaurants in the nearly 35-year-old hotel, Narcoossee’s has undergone renovations before – it was originally an oyster bar – but this one changed the physical layout and removed a sunken part of the room so that it is now all on one level. It still takes full advantage of its lagoonfront location and proximity to the Magic Kingdom. And while it is still a decidedly casual dining experience, the food is more elevated than I remember from past Narcoossee’ses (Narcoossi?)


Taco Tuesday

Did you know that every time you say the words “Taco Tuesday” you’re violating a trademark?

It’s true. The phrase is owned by the Wyoming based chain Taco John’s, which trademarked it 34 years ago. (It was originally Taco Twosday because they sold their already-cheap tacos two-for-one on Tuesdays.)

Now everyone says it, because the only thing we like better than tacos is alliteration. (Making a note to see who owns Wine Down Wednesday.)

But now Taco Bell has filed a petition with the US Patent and Trademark office to have the trademark rescinded. Bell is not going after John’s for selfish reasons; it is only thinking of you.

Taco Bell’s filing – which was submitted, cheekily, on Tuesday – states that its petition is on behalf of “anyone else who wants to share tacos with the world to the possibility of legal action or angry letters if they say ‘Taco Tuesday’ without express permission from [Taco John’s] — simply for pursuing happiness on a Tuesday.” Also Taco Bell.

It seems frivolous, but I know that these things are taken seriously. Still, I have a feeling that TB might come out victorious on this one.

Let me tell you a story.


Yildiz headshotYusuf Yildiz via Normans.comThis are

This artical has been updated to include quotes from Norman Van Aken and Ritz-Carlton's general manager, Jon McGavin.

Yusuf Yildiz, longtime general manager of Norman’s, the upscale restaurant that was originally at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, is leaving the recently reopened version of the Norman Van Aken restaurant just months after it reopened in its new Restaurant Row location – and days before a grand opening benefit dinner.

In an ironic twist, Yildiz is returning to the Ritz and its Michelin-starred restaurant, Knife & Spoon, which occupies the space that was home to the original Orlando Norman’s. He will serve as assistant general manager.

Anyone who has been to Norman’s, either the original or the new restaurant, would recognize Yildiz as the face of the front-of-the-house operations, an ever-present and hands-on manager overseeing a staff he expertly trained.

The timing of the move is curious because Yildiz remained with the Norman’s group following the closing at the Ritz – which came because the luxury hotel did not renew the lease – and stayed on during the extended process of reopening in a new location.


coq au vin banner

Le Coq au Vin, one of Orlando's oldest and most iconic restaurants, has closed. 

Current owner and chef Reimund Pitz said that the French restaurant served its last dinner Saturday night, and said in a text message my "wife and I are ready for the next chapter of our lives." He said the closing was "bittersweet."

Pitz and his wife, Sandy, bought the restaurant in the A-frame house on South Orange Avenue from longtime owners Louis and Magdelena Perrotte in November of 2008. (The structure was a model for a business selling houses.) In a separate message, Pitz said that he will be selling the property.

This is a developing story.