The space somehow feels smaller. The entrance has shifted to the right. The elevated dining area is now on the same level as the rest of the place. And I’m not sure why anyone would take beautiful warm, red brick and paint them a Day-glo green. Maybe it’s to reflect an Irish heritage in the name Miller. Or maybe the green that’s supposed to be found in a field?
I’m sitting in Miller’s Field, a new sports bar at Dellagio Plaza, on Restaurant Row. Most recently -- and for only a very short time -- this was City Fire, the casual dining concept from restaurateur Manny Garcia that centered its American menu on the brick pizza oven that was left behind when Urban Flats moved out.
The oven is still there, still visible from the main dining are, surrounded by those oddly painted bricks. But the menu now is your basic sports bar fare. You’ve got your nachos, your wings, your sandwiches, your pizzas (why not with that oven?), and you’ve got your burgers. If you want to go fancy, there’s a basil-crusted salmon or a stuffed chicken. But mainly the menu is a big yawn.
I started with a bowl of the green chili, a horribly overpriced $5.50 serving of pulled pork in a thin green chili broth. It had some finely diced potatoes and was topped with melted cheese. Yet it had an overall grey pallor. The spiciness of the chili was the only real flavor -- it had no balance. The menu said the chili would be served with soft flour tortillas, but what was tucked between the bowl and the liner plate was more like a crispy lavosh.
When I ordered my food, the server asked if I wanted the chili to come out before my burger. I said that I did. But I should have specified that I meant I wanted more than 90 seconds to eat the chili before the burger was brought out. When I pointed that out, the server just giggled. (And that’s all you really need to know about the service.)
Although I had requested the burger medium-rare, it was medium-well. The menu said the burgers would be cooked medium-well unless otherwise specified. But the patty -- supposedly fashioned out of Harris Ranch all natural beef, and who am I to dispute that? -- was so thin that the point between medium-rare and medium-well was probably a matter of mere seconds. The bun, also according to the menu, was house-made, but it did not have any qualities that would suggest freshness. The burger was prettily presented with a thick tomato slice and crisp lettuce leaf and was topped with a pickle run through with a wooden spike.
The burger was served with “Miller’s Signature Sweet & Salty Chips.” Add greasy to the description. They were drizzled with some sort of sour cream and chive dressing that did little to dress up the flavor.
Most seating is at high-top tables. Even the row of banquettes along one wall is elevated. This being a sports bar, there are numerous flat-screen televisions positioned everywhere (though I’d be hard pressed to name a restaurant that has opened in the last several years that didn’t have televisions in view. Big difference here is that the sound from a select channel is also broadcast into the dining room.
Miller’s Field, which should not be confused with Miller’s Ale House, is owned by Glenn Miller, a Pizzeria Uno franchiser. The first -- and so far only other -- location is in San Diego.
I’ve got nothing against sports bars. I like them, in fact. I’ve spent time eating, drinking and watching various sporting events in them. But there are plenty of sports bars to choose from, so if you were going to bring another one into the area, wouldn’t you try to make it better than the others? Wouldn’t you try to shake up the menu with something besides the usual suspects -- or at least do the usuals better than anyone else? And wouldn’t you hire a staff based on serving skills and not the quality of the giggle?
I guess I just don’t understand the restaurant business.
Miller’s Field is at 7958 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando. It is open for lunch, dinner and late night daily. Here’s a link to millersfieldorlando.com. The phone number is 407-248-3474.