Neighborhood Eatery

Hey, downtown, there’s a new eatery in the neighborhood. It’s called Neighborhood Eatery.

OK, so not a real inventive name, but there’s a bit of creativity in the compact menu. That’s because owner Jon Lee, a second generation Korean-American, has fused the cuisines of his heritages into simple but tasty offerings. Think more along the lines of Tako Cheeno.


Second Harvest prep

Update: The date has been changed for the next Chef's Night dinner with Kevin Fonzo. It is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 20. The story has been updated to reflect that change.

Here’s an event I think you should consider going to. It’s Chef’s Night at Second Harvest Food Bank, and there are so many good reasons to attend.

Not the least of those reasons is that the chef for the May 20 dinner is Kevin Fonzo of College Park’s K restaurant. A multiple James Beard Award nominee, Fonzo is considered one of Central Florida’s most talented chefs, and it’s always fun to see what he comes up with for a special dinner like this one.

And it is special because it is held in an event space right there at the Second Harvest Food Bank facility at 411 Mercy Drive in Orlando. If you’re like me, you’ve heard about Second Harvest for decades, maybe even contributed to it or attended other events on its behalf, but have never been there.

I corrected that oversight when I was invited to attend the previous Chef’s Night, in March. On that evening the special guest chef was John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Another thing that makes this dinner extra special is that the guest chef is assisted by students in the food bank’s culinary training program, which, during a 14-week period, teaches participants the skills to help them get a job as a culinary professional. In fact, all of the proceeds from the Chef’s Night events benefit the culinary training program. Click this link to get tickets to the event.

And for that very reasonable fee of $75, you’ll get an impressive dinner with wine. Rivers’ menu included:


Joe BurnettJoseph Cournoyer-Burnett, who has been serving as the Ravenous Pig’s chef de cuisine, is leaving the popular Winter Park restaurant to lead the kitchen at Baldwin Park’s new Osprey Tavern. Saturday, June 16, is Cournoyer-Burnett’s last day at the Pig.

Taking over there will be Nick Sierputowski, who has been with owners James and Julie Petrakis for many years and most recently has been chef de cuisine at their Cask & Larder restaurant.

Cournoyer-Burnett (at left) is also a longtime employee of the Petrakises, and Julie told me that she has known Cournoyer-Burnett’s wife since they were in culinary school. She says Cournoyer-Burnett’s leaving is an amicable departure, and everyone is supportive of his move. She acknowledged that he will have more freedom to develop the menu at Osprey Tavern and make it more of his own, something that he couldn’t do as chef de cuisine at the Pig. Previously, he had served as chef de cuisine at Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton.

Sierputowski has shown himself to be a talented chef and the transition should be seamless.


Two Chefs Poboy

It’s an odd location, I’ll grant you that.

Two Chefs Seafood & Oyster Bar, the very good new restaurant, occupies a space in a small office building in Orlando’s North Quarter district. Actually, it occupies several spaces. There is the main dining area next to the open kitchen; a bar, located across the way from the main room; and an upstairs dining room for private dining and spillover that overlooks the bar area, accessible through the waiting room of a doctor’s practice.

It’s an odd setup, but the food is excellent, as you would expect it to be from the two chefs of the title. That would be Bernard Carmouche, formerly corporate chef for Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants, and Larry Sinibaldi, who left his job as executive chef at Palm Restaurant to start this new venture.

The menu, which reflects Carmouche’s ties to New Orleans, is simple and straightforward, but has several items worth trying.


RWBlue burger

R.W. Blue bills itself as an “American Grill & Bar.” In fact, I’m guessing by the color scheme of the logo that the R and W stand for Red and White. And you’ll find such flag-waving favorites as pot roast, Philly cheesesteak and something called the Southernmost that features Key West shrimp.

But you’ll also find such things as fish & chips, gyro and a sandwich called the French Onion. So, we are the world.

When I asked my server what the restaurant wants to be known for — it’s too new to be known for much yet — she said the wings and burgers were their signature items.